Thank you, Mayor Henry, for your words. And thank you Bishop D’Arcy for your words and your prayer.
I’d like to extend my gratitude to one other person, the founder of this organization, Archbishop John Noll.
As Father Noll, at the turn of the 20th century, he was a young, newly ordained priest – born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind. – with a passion to communicate the faith and to respond to its critics.
He was also a gifted entrepreneur who built an enterprise capable of sustaining his efforts for a century and counting.
He wrote hundreds of pamphlets and articles, and launched several periodicals, but Our Sunday Visitor really began with the publication of the weekly newspaper, the first issue of which was dated 100 years ago today: May 5, 1912.
That paper, which launched this entire enterprise, had three goals:
First, to inform Catholics about the major issues of the day, and to help see the events of their time through the eyes of faith;
Second, to form Catholics, helping them to know their faith more deeply and put it into practice;
And third, to defend the Church from attacks by those who were anti-Catholic, or who denied that Catholics could be good American citizens.
As an entrepreneur as well as a communicator, Father Noll used technology to his advantage. He also borrowed ideas from others: Offering envelopes were first used in Protestant churches, for example. He introduced that form of giving to Catholics, and set up a second business in the process that is now the largest of its kind in the world.
Archbishop Noll was not just a local or regional presence, but a national and international leader of the Church. He used the tremendous resources at his disposal to help sustain missionary efforts, build churches, and launch national Catholic organizations.
He died in 1956, before this building was constructed, but his goals and his spirit suffuse these offices and hallways.
In the spirit of Archbishop Noll, we still inform Catholics about the issues of the day and form Catholics in their faith through our hundreds of books, our periodicals, our stewardship materials, our parish resources, our curricula, our envelopes and our offertory services.
We also continue to defend the faith when it comes under attack, whether from those who misunderstand or misrepresent its teachings, or those who do not want the Church’s voice to be heard on the major issues of our time.
In the spirit of Archbishop Noll, we financially support Catholic organizations and enterprises throughout the nation through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
And in the spirit of Archbishop Noll, we use all the technology at our disposal – not just print, but video and audio, the web and social media, e-books and apps – to accomplish these goals, keeping in mind the entrepreneurial vision and courage of our founder.
Today we celebrate not just 100 years of service to the Church. We celebrate the vision and the accomplishments of the man who founded this organization and gave it its animating vision.
Thank you for joining us in our celebration, and in sharing our pride in all that this organization continues to accomplish to this day.
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