Seeking stories about Great Depression, Recession

A few years ago I asked readers who had Depression-era stories to write me with them, and was really touched and amazed at how many testimonials we received. It was fairly early in my tenure here as editor, and it gave me a glimpse into the lives, experience and history of an important chunk of our readership. 

Now I am asking that of you again, for an upcoming annual special section we do on charitable giving. 

I’m also asking those who are personally affected by the current financial downturn, or know someone who is. 

In other words, we want to print your stories from the past and the present. 

The goal of the special section is to see the parallels and the differences between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, at least in terms of Catholics and how they experienced the events, and how charitable giving played a part in getting people through. 

Part of it will be strictly historical record-keeping. These stories are important to acknowledge. Part of it will be humanizing and inspirational, both for those now who are experiencing difficulties and for those who can thank God they still have steady income and a way to support their families and others. And part of it will be a learning exercise: What lessons can we draw from the comparison between then and now? Or how about simply from the past couple of years? 

I’d like to emphasize that the focus here is on the role of charity, not on the politics of yesterday or the politics of today (although, naturally, you’re welcome to offer your political insights if you think that’s crucial to your story). 

You don’t have to be any accomplished writer to submit. What matters more is the content. I won’t be strict in maintaining a word limit, but try to shoot for no more than 350 words or so. 

You can submit your entries to my email address at or at the mailing address on the masthead below. If you use postal service mail, address it to me, with “charitable giving” in parentheses.  

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, experience and thoughts with the rest of OSV Newsweekly readers, the largest group of subscribers to independent Catholic journalism in the United States! 

One last item of housekeeping this week: As you know, English-speaking Catholics in North America will be adopting a new translation of the Mass prayers and responses starting the first Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 27. 

The OSV Newsweekly team has launched a new blog and website at www.romanmissal In addition to links to a vast array of resources for preparation, many of which come from OSV Newsweekly and other Our Sunday Visitor periodicals, you’ll find daily (or as warranted) updates on news stories related to the switch. If you want to be informed, this is the place to be. 

Thank you!