July 22, 2024

Last October, we sent out a short readership survey to try to establish a pulse on who the audience for The Bishop’s Bulletin is and why they read it. I sincerely thank those who took the time to submit feedback and criticism. The results of this survey have proved to be invaluable in shaping the vision for the magazine over the next year and beyond.

The need for cohesion

The monthly themes surrounding editions of The Bishop’s Bulletin (Bulletin) are not based on the preferences of the editors. Rather, a cohesive, personal and relatable narrative for Catholics in our diocese should form the basis for content. Before we delve into some of the survey results and subsequent changes to the Bulletin, I’d like to briefly explain the narrative that will bind the issues together over the next year.

The whole of creation unceasingly points to God. When we contemplate the truth, goodness and beauty of what’s around us, we find an intricate web of purpose and meaning, the source and summit of which is God himself. Even the natural processes that constantly occur around us are an opportunity to delve into the great mystery of God.

Catholicism has long pointed to each day as being a microcosm of an entire life. When we rise from sleep in the morning, we enter the world and prepare for what awaits. As evening approaches, we often reflect, to varying degrees, on our day and try to make sense of it. In the same way, the later years of our lives present an opportunity to reflect on the many years behind us. The twilight sets in and sleep comes upon us just as death will someday.

Over the next year, the themes of the Bulletin will follow this process: from January, where we enter into the world and discuss the meaning of worldliness, to December, where we focus on eternal peace.

The need for local content

Overwhelmingly, the results of our survey pointed to the desire among our readers for local diocesan news and content. One of the challenges we’ve faced with highlighting local news and content in the Bulletin magazine is deadlines. Our layout team needs all the content for the edition nearly two months ahead of time. With some exceptions, this means that pictures and stories from an event might not appear until two or three months after the event. To address this disconnect in relevancy, our weekly diocesan email newsletter, Against the Current, highlights many events, gatherings and experiences around the diocese in a timely manner.

Events and gatherings aside, our diocese is filled with many untold stories of men and women who live out their Catholic faith as faithful disciples of Christ. Many of these stories deserve to be told and would fit nicely into the “Missionary Discipleship” section of the Bulletin. When we think of missionary discipleship stories, it’s important to note that these are stories of men and women who live out their faith as a witness to those around them.

Consider the following examples: A lay person who consistently takes the initiative to lead a Rosary before Mass. The family who can consistently be seen praying together in public. These are seemingly ordinary stories that have become extraordinary in the apostolic age we are living in.

The same is true in our marriage section. Telling the story of a married couple in the diocese who has lived or is living a healthy and holy marriage can have a profound and meaningful impact while retaining the need for local content.

However, if we (at the Bishop’s Bulletin) never hear about these stories, these initiatives will fall apart. I humbly ask you to send us your stories. While we might not be able to include them all, I encourage you to avoid thinking that a story might be “too small or insignificant” to send.

The need for Catholic teaching

One final need the survey highlighted was the inclusion of distilled, authentic, orthodox Catholic teaching in the Bulletin. Church teaching is not an arbitrary set of man-made rules but a beautiful tapestry that finds its solid foundation in Divine Revelation and the natural law (the order and purpose God has established in creation). Contrary to the thoughts of dullness it seems to stir in people, exploring Church teaching is an exciting exploration of reality itself.

Our writers are passionate about the faith and the teachings of the Church. The men and women they interview for stories are authoritative on the subjects. To highlight this, we’ll be including a callout for each writer in the story they author. We’ll also be expanding our pool of expert interviewees from around the diocese on the variety of topics we write on in the Bulletin.

An invitation

Print media, with its often scrutinous processes and unforgiving permanence, remains relevant in the face of more transient, mutable digital content. I invite you to explore The Bishop’s Bulletin over the next year. Pay attention to sections you may have glossed over in the past. Let us help you on the difficult but sweet journey that is the Christian life.