This Christmas, celebrate our Catholics of the Year

This week marks our final OSV Newsweekly issue of 2013 — and what a year it’s been!

As our Editorial Board says (Page 19), at this time last year, who would have imagined that not only would one pope have retired and another would have been elected, but that the new pope would be riding a wave of popularity that led all the way to the prestigious status of Time magazine’s Person of the Year?

To highlight the incredible work that has been done in the Church both in the United States and abroad, OSV Newsweekly is honoring nine “Catholics of the Year,” whose work in the vineyard of the Lord furthered the Church’s mission in a special way in 2013.

For the second year in a row, we put the call out for nominations of Catholics who have inspired, invigorated and touched your hearts. Out of those responses, and with input from Our Sunday Visitor staff, we selected the group of men and women featured in this week’s In Focus (Pages 9-12).

Editor's preview of this week's issue

Leading the way are our two beloved pontiffs: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. When we began this process of selecting Catholics of the Year last year, the goal was to stay away from the Vicar of Christ, as his rightful place as a Catholic of the Year goes without saying. But the editorial team decided that this year was different. We simply couldn’t pass up honoring both men who created such a place in history together in one calendar year.

Other prominent Catholics selected include Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and past-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Benedictine Mother Dolores Hart, fresh off of her coast-to-coast book tour; Curtis Martin, founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students; Monica Fitzgibbons, co-founder of De Montfort Music, which produced two record-breaking albums by religious sisters this year; Dr. Jennifer Morse, founder of the pro-marriage Ruth Institute in San Marcos, Calif.; Bernadette Smyth, a pro-life activist in Ireland; and Father Tom Rosica, CEO of Salt & Light TV and communications assistant during the papal transition in February and March.

We think it’s a great group of people, and I hope you are as encouraged and inspired by their witness as we were.

Lastly, as we continue the holiday season, many of us will cherish spending time with our families — but some of us may find the continuous proximity a little too close for comfort.

The Dec. 29 feast of the Holy Family reminds us that Mary, Joseph and Jesus are the models to whom we should look should tempers flare or frustrations arise. As Karl Schultz said in this week’s Faith piece (Pages 14-15), “The Church invites us to cultivate family life as a domestic Church marked by prayer, liturgical worship, dialogue, recreation, and mutual service and forgiveness.”

Good food for thought this Christmas. Thoughts?