Be patriotic, support your Catholic newspaper

By now, many of you may have already received your federal "economic stimulus" check.

Before you rush out to buy a big flat-screen television, I'd like to make a bold proposal: Please consider using a chunk of it to buy gift subscriptions to Our Sunday Visitor.

Not only will you be bolstering the U.S. economy, you'll be building up the Church and supporting your Catholic press, which now more than ever needs you.

This month we celebrate the 96th anniversary of Our Sunday Visitor newsweekly, still the most widely read national Catholic weekly in the United States.

Nevertheless, like many other periodicals, both Catholic and not, we've suffered some attrition in recent years and have taken a hit with the recent hikes in postal rates. It's sometimes hard to believe that four decades ago we had a weekly circulation of a million copies. We're now hovering at around 60,000.

But you can help. Dedicate a small portion of the stimulus check to purchasing one or more gift subscriptions ($38.95 for 52 issues) to help introduce more people -- family, friends, neighbors, teachers, students, pastors, etc. -- to this newsweekly.

As you've probably read in this space before, we think a strong Catholic press is a critical piece of the new evangelization called for by Pope John Paul II. We'll keep you informed, inspired, educated and maybe even occasionally entertained. And it will never be a waste of your time to read this paper, cover to cover, each week.

Purchasing the gift subscriptions is easy:

The fastest way is probably to navigate to osv.com, click on the OSV newsweekly cover, and then on the link that says, "Subscribe/renew."

Or you can call 1-800-348-2440.

Or fill out the little card that is sometimes stuck in the middle of this newspaper.

It's not too much of a stretch to think that we could double our circulation in just a few short months. And we're confident that the quality of our content will keep all those new subscribers hooked.

And I'll keep you updated in this column on how many new subscriptions your generosity supports.

We thank you for your help!

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I'd like to draw your attention especially this week to Archbishop Sambi's interview with us reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI's remarkable visit to the United States. He adds further clarification to Pope Benedict's comments on bishops' responsibility for the clerical abuse scandal.

Another especially interesting piece is the article on Cardinal John Henry Newman on Page 14. Cardinal Newman recently took a step closer to sainthood with the Vatican's approval of a miracle attributed to his intercession.