With this copy of OSV Newsweekly — Volume 100, Issue 1 — we begin our celebration of 100 years of publishing.
What began with a vision of a small-town pastor in Indiana has become the world’s largest English-language Catholic publishing house, with a presence in nearly every parish, whether through periodicals like OSV Newsweekly (or The Priest, or The Catholic Answer, or My Daily Visitor), or through pamphlets in church vestibules, or catechetical materials in religious education programs and Catholic schools, or books on their shelves, or through the offering envelopes Catholics drop in the basket each week.
According to our official history: “The first 35,000 copies of Our Sunday Visitor rolled off the press with an issue dated May 5, 1912. Within a year the paper’s circulation had skyrocketed to 160,000; by 1914 it had reached 400,000 and shortly after World War I it was being read by more than 500,000 Catholics a week. Copies were sold at church doors for one cent apiece; pastors could get discounts by ordering 100 copies for 60 cents.
“Father John Francis Noll was a small-town pastor in the first decade of the 20th century who had grown weary of the anti-Catholic literature flooding his people. To combat a widely circulated anti-Catholic newspaper called The Menace, Father Noll began to write a parish bulletin. From his work as a defender of the faith grew the most successful Catholic newspaper the United States has ever seen.”
Today, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing and Offertory Solutions divisions are housed in a 250,000-square-foot building on 14 acres in northeast Indiana. We have a printing facility in Ohio. Our Curriculum division is based in Orlando, Fla.
That diversity is helping us weather these tough economic times and the revolution that is upending many in the publishing world.
Our centenary is an opportunity to recommit to the “simple, clear editorial policy established by Father Noll: combat anti-Catholicism, work to educate Catholics in their faith, help them to preserve their Catholic identity in a sometimes hostile environment, and combat social and political trends contrary to the faith.”
It is also an opportunity to express gratitude to our readers, and I’ll be announcing initiatives in coming months.
What’s your favorite memory of OSV Newsweekly? Leave your comments below or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.