Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

May 6, 2007

One in Four Read Diocesan Newspapers

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
– Sir Richard Steele

“I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”
- Woody Allen

An item in this month’s issue of St. Anthony Messenger reports that, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research (CARA), only a quarter of American Catholics have read their diocesan newspaper at least once in the past six months! And almost a quarter reported that they had read one or more national Catholic publications during that time.

The survey was commissioned by the United States Catholic Bishops’ Department of Communications. Conducted in the fall of 2005, the survey contacted 1,260 self-identified Catholics, ages 18 or older. Not surprisingly, older Catholics and those who attended Mass more frequently were more likely to read their diocesan paper or other Catholic publications.

As catechists, we can do our part to increase readership of Catholic publications. Perhaps you might try one of these with your students:

  • Have students report on an article of interest about something happening in their home diocese. You can find a great list of diocesan newspapers online via the Catholic Press Association website.
  • Assign a short research project on some current ethical issue. Have your students consult articles that appear in popular Catholic periodicals like: St. Anthony Messenger, U.S.Catholic, Liguorian Magazine, America, Crisis, et. al.
  • Have them report on a biography of a Catholic profiled in one of these publications.
Happy reading!

Comments

1 Anonymous

May 22, 2007
One of my biggest concerns related to this problem is the loss of appreciation for the word/WORD. Our spiritual foundation is built on a love affair, deep respect, fascination, and awesome reverence for the WORD. We can see this central emphasis on the sacred Words-Books in our Jewish and Muslim relatives as well. Can our faith carry on without people who are in daily contact with and nourished by words? I am not only concerned about the lack of reading, but also with the problems many of my students have writing persuasively, speaking passionately and publicly, and listening to the words of others. Christ is the Word of God. Paul preached and wrote. The Apostles preached and wrote. There were powerful preachers who converted entire cities and more. Are the cell phone, email, blogs, and texts acceptable expressions or alternatives? Are these evolutions of the importance and use of the word? Are we making sure that young Christians see the connection and take advantage of these powerful expressions of the word/WORD?

2 Anonymous

May 22, 2007
One of my biggest concerns related to this problem is the loss of appreciation for the word/WORD. Our spiritual foundation is built on a love affair, deep respect, fascination, and awesome reverence for the WORD. We can see this central emphasis on the sacred Words-Books in our Jewish and Muslim relatives as well. Can our faith carry on without people who are in daily contact with and nourished by words? I am not only concerned about the lack of reading, but also with the problems many of my students have writing persuasively, speaking passionately and publicly, and listening to the words of others. Christ is the Word of God. Paul preached and wrote. The Apostles preached and wrote. There were powerful preachers who converted entire cities and more. Are the cell phone, email, blogs, and texts acceptable expressions or alternatives? Are these evolutions of the importance and use of the word? Are we making sure that young Christians see the connection and take advantage of these powerful expressions of the word/WORD?

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