On Sept. 28, 2012, Our Sunday Visitor will have marked its first century with a symposium, Mass and banquet in Fort Wayne, Ind., in the presence of the local Catholic community and with friends and colleagues from around the country and overseas. 

It will be the culmination of a yearlong period of thanksgiving and rededication. We give thanks for the many blessings we have received in the past 100 years, particularly the opportunity to serve you, our readers. We give thanks also for the many good men and women who preceded us, who built this company into one of the largest Catholic publishers and offering envelope manufacturers in the world and who produced so many fine periodicals, books and other products.  

We rededicate ourselves to the vision of service to all Catholics by informing them of their Church’s teachings and by calling them to be part of the Church in every way.

At the same time, we rededicate ourselves to the vision of our founder, Archbishop John Noll: a vision of service to all Catholics by informing them of their Church’s teachings and by calling them to be part of the Church in every way. A vision of fidelity to the teachings of the Faith and at the same time an ecumenical spirit of engagement with the society in which we reside. Finally, a vision that the company he founded would help to form and inform Catholics while at the same time defending the Faith from unjust attack.  

While 1912 may seem far removed from our present age, there are, in fact, similarities that remind us that Archbishop Noll’s vision remains relevant.  

centennial issue

Although we are a Church of many immigrants today, as we were in 1912, we are also now a far wealthier and more powerful sector of American society. Yet there are still many deficiencies in the formation of our Catholic people — especially our adults — as was the case in 1912. We have access today to far more information about the world than we did in 1912, yet Catholics still struggle to see the world through the eyes of faith. The Catholic understanding of events, the Catholic list of priorities, the Catholic sense of morality and social justice is not always appreciated or known even by many Catholics. The role of Catholic media is in some ways even more critically needed now because the Church’s voice struggles to be heard over the cacophony of competing ideologies and agendas. 

Finally, as in 1912, the Catholic Church must be defended when it is unjustly attacked. It is an institution composed of fallible human beings, and when its members err, it must respond with a genuine willingness to humbly admit its mistakes and to look for ways better to follow the example of the Good Shepherd. At the same time, when the Church is singled out for unfair criticism, when it is targeted by unjust legislation, when it is condemned by those who wish to see it powerless and voiceless because it speaks for the powerless and voiceless, then we must defend its right to be heard and to act on its own beliefs. 

Our Sunday Visitor, thanks to the grace of God, has contributed much to the life of the Church in this country for 100 years. Our prayer is that we can continue to serve the Church for 100 more. But at the end of the day, what matters most are not anniversaries and tributes. What matters most is that we strive always in thought, word and deed to be good and faithful servants of Our Lord.

Editorial Board: Greg Erlandson, publisher; Msgr. Owen F. Campion, associate publisher; Beth McNamara, editorial director; John Norton, editor; Sarah Hayes, presentation editor 

Also read: Celebrating Father Noll's legacy and rededicating ourselves to the mission