So, what is the purpose of the Openers column anyway?

A very good friend from southern California recently came through and spent the weekend with us. He’s an active Catholic, heavily involved in his community and in the business world. And as I found out, he’s a regular OSV Newsweekly reader — and also a critic of this “Openers” column. 

After talking it through with him, I realized he misunderstood the purpose of this space. It is not our editorial; that’s always on the inside back page and is not signed by any one person. It is not a table of contents of the issue in narrative form like you sometimes see in the front of weekly news magazines, nor is it an opinion column in the usual sense. 

The purpose of this space is to put a face to OSV Newsweekly so our readers know to whom to come with complaints, criticism, suggestions for improvement and story ideas. 

If we’ve done our job well, the rest of the paper will be hard-hitting and balanced news analyses, spirited and thought-provoking opinion pieces, informative and/or inspirational aids to growing your faith, and a challenging and educational editorial. 

There are three general ways I come up with topics for Openers: 

Occasionally I’ll highlight an important story in the current issue and add background, context or personal observations to help flesh it out (like the story of the Arizona nun who approved an abortion). 

Other times I’ll focus on a story or debate I run across that doesn’t warrant coverage elsewhere in the paper but seems to me worthy of some attention and reflection (like an Internet poll on whether Catholics preferred confession face-to-face or behind a grille). 

Last, I sometimes write about a personal experience that seems to illustrate a theme that we cover in the paper regularly (like watching the movie “Into Great Silence” with my oldest daughter on Good Friday this year). 

And sometimes — like today — I write to address a specific reader question that might be shared by more than one person. 

If you don’t already have my email address in your contact book, here it is again: I look forward to hearing from you. 

* * * 

A month or two ago I announced plans for a new feature on good, local Catholic news. You responded tremendously; I have a folder stuffed with story ideas that we are gradually assigning to our writers. 

The feature runs in the issue that appears the last week of every month. 

If you sent a story, thank you! Please know we consider each one carefully. 

Do keep the story ideas coming. The goal is to profile local Catholic people or organizations that are doing good work in your communities. And that’s to provide a little edification to help counteract the deluge of bad news to which we’re subjected.