(SNR) - Every February is Catholic Press Month, an opportunity to highlight the importance of Catholic newspapers, magazines, newsletters, books and electronic publications in helping to build the faith and understanding of all the faithful laity, religious and clergy.
Greg Erlandson, president of the Catholic Press Association, noted that the Catholic press is a "great blessing" these days, when recent government regulations pose significant threats to religious liberty.
"It is critical that Catholics not only have access to sound news coverage and commentary, but that they hear directly from their leaders on the issues of the day and have the resources to see their world through the eyes of faith," he said.
Outside of the Sunday homily, Mr. Erlander contended, "newspapers, magazines, newsletters, books and blogs of its members are the most effective adult education tools to reach Catholics."
Catholics in the Diocese of Lincoln have many resources available to them online and in print, including the Southern Nebraska Register.
Since this diocesan newspaper was founded by Bishop Louis B. Kucera in 1932, countless topics have been covered through various articles and columns, providing insight, encouragement, and more to its readers.
National news sources like the Catholic News Service (the official news source of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Vatican Information Service and Catholic News Agency/EWTN News provide national and international events, while "Around the Diocese" keeps people informed about what’s happening at the local level.
Columns written by people within the diocese are always a perennial favorite, and the Southern Nebraska Register is fortunate to have a little something for everyone.
The bishop’s column has been an opportunity for the bishops of Lincoln to reach out across the diocese on a weekly basis.
Bishop Emeritus Fabian W. Bruskewitz covered a great deal of ground in the 20 years he wrote, "An Ordinary Viewpoint." He wrote about Church history, theology, canon law, catechesis, current events, saints, and more. A number of his columns were collected and reformatted for his 1997 book, "A Shepherd Speaks," and again in 2006 with "The Catholic Church: Jesus Christ Present in the World Today."
Bishop James D. Conley, who had previously written columns and articles as the Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, took over the column immediately upon his installation in Lincoln last November. While he works on fulfilling his plan to visit every parish in the diocese—which could take some time, given the geographic size of the diocese—his essays about matters of faith and morality give every reader in the diocese the opportunity to experience his pastoral insight each week. The bishop also shares his articles outside the borders of the Diocese of Lincoln through Facebook, Twitter and the diocesan web site.
Father Christopher Kubat, director of Catholic Social Service, pens the column, "Seedlings." He shares information about the agency’s multiple outreach programs and the people who are served throughout the entire diocese, plus the inspiration to get involved via prayer, contributions or volunteering.
Greg Shleppenbach, state director for the Bishops Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, provides the latest developments and statistics about abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and more in the column, "Life Insight," found on page 5.
"My column has provided me with a megaphone to inform Catholics about the lies and injustices of the culture of death as well as how to rebuild a culture of life," he said.
He sees faith in God and the pro-life cause to be profoundly united.
"Only if we truly know God can we appreciate and understand the sacred dignity and meaning of human life," Mr. Shleppenbach said.
Dr. Terrence Nollen, librarian at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, provides book recommendations for families in his column, "The Children’s Literature Bookshelf." His book reviews, categorized by readers’ age range, introduce parents, teachers, librarians and others to a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction books for children of any age.
Father Matthew Eickhoff and other members of the Diocesan Evangelization Committee prepare the column, "Opening Minds and Hearts," which runs in every other issue. Readers can get insight about Church teaching, learn practical ways of sharing their faith in Christ, and more.
Another biweekly column, "Capital Correspondent" is written by James Cunningham, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference. Mr. Cunningham keeps readers abreast of all the latest legislative efforts that protect the dignity of human life, religious freedom, education, and so on.
Lincoln author Mary Costello writes, "Over the Coffee Cup," a friendly, down-to-earth column that explores the Catholic faith through the eyes of a layperson. Mrs. Costello weaves personal history, funny stories and tales about saints together in a charming column that is uplifting and memorable.
These and so many other features in the Southern Nebraska Register are provided to encourage faithfulness throughout the diocese.
During Catholic Press Month, households can pay for their Register subscriptions directly to their parishes through special collections at Mass. Gift subscriptions are available by mailing payment to the Register address printed on page 3.
The cost for registered parishioners in the Diocese of Lincoln is only $15 a year, or less than 35 cents an issue, which is a considerable bargain compared to other news vehicles. Because each parish must make up the difference for individuals who do not pay for their subscriptions, all are encouraged to do their part to help support the diocese’s newspaper.