Editor in Chief, Archbishop Vincent Nichols explains a new beginning and new direction for Faith Today.
Lent is a season of new beginnings and new directions. It is a God given time for a spiritual spring clean and self examination.
In embracing the ancient, but ever new practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we have an opportunity to grow and deepen our relationship with God.
It seems fitting therefore in this Lenten season to inform you of a new beginning and a new direction for Faith Today.
Faith Today was launched in May 2010 in collaboration between the Catholic publishers, Alive Publishing and the Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales. Faith Today was launched in the month of the General Election (May 6) and a few months before the papal visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain (September 16-19).
Since September 2010 Faith Today has gone from strength to strength and with a monthly print run of 30,000
Faith Today was very well received by readers of Bible Alive, the Catholic monthly scripture magazine, Walk with Me, the seasonal prayer and scripture devotional and Catholic Today, the diocesan newspaper for the Archdiocese of Birmingham and of course by many parishes throughout the length and breadth of England and Wales.
The launch print run was 50,000 and every person who received a free sample copy of the launch edition also received a free copy of Choosing the Common Good, a document from the Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales on the theme of the church’s social teaching.
I am very grateful to Alive Publishing for working with us so generously to ensure a wide distribution of Choosing the Common Good, serving as it did to inform us on issues to consider when deciding how to vote in the General Election. Furthermore, impressively, Faith Today had secured contributions from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, David Cameron Leader of the Conservative Party and Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The Pope’s visit was also an exciting time for Faith Today. Joanna Moorhead, one of its journalists, travelled with the Pope as part of his press entourage and remained with him during his visit. This special access granted to Faith Today resulted in the Faith Today Papal Souvenir Special which offered a great insight into the Visit and contained all the Pope’s speeches and statements. Rightly so it was very well received.
Since September 2010 Faith Today has gone from strength to strength and has a monthly print run of 30,000. It has established a unique reach into the Catholic community in England and Wales.
I have also been very pleased by the rich and eclectic mix of features and articles which Faith Today have carried over the past eighteen months. From Hollywood movie stars and celebrities such as Martin Sheen, Charlie Cox, Mandy Smith, Clarissa Dickson to heroes of faith such as Denise Carter whose son Louis was killed on the front line in Afghanistan.
I am hopeful that through this campaign many of our parishes and schools will join in signing the petition and partaking in Prayer Vigil’s for Linda
Just as a week is a long time in politics so eighteen months is a long time in Catholic publishing. After only a few months it became clear that Faith Today was attracting many subscribers and readers from outside of England and Wales. Subscribers from Scotland, Ireland and from other countries from around the world were signing up to receive Faith Today each month. This trend has continued month by month.
In the light of this we have decided that it is in the best interests of the growth of Faith Today not to not limit itself to England and Wales but offer this growing readership a wider mix of articles. They will be relevant and of interest to other countries, Ireland and Scotland certainly, but also much further afield. Faith Today is to be a truly Catholic, international magazine.
As President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales I have been very pleased to see many statements from this Conference published in Benchmark, the 16 page supplement in Faith Today.
Benchmark was, of course, a clear sign of Faith Today’s original vision of supporting the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales by carrying this supplement which was in effect a document service.
However, from the next edition Faith Today will no longer carry the Benchmark supplement. For those of you who have appreciated reading these statements and documents we have launched a new website. On this website statements can be viewed on line, downloaded or printed off. (see box at the end of this article).
Faith Today will continue to receive contributions from myself and other bishops through the course of the year. But the time is now right to let Faith Today expand beyond the confines of England and Wales.
Faith Today will continue with its editorial policy of seeking out articles, profiles, interviews and offer comment on issues which are relevant and personal to us all. Most of all it is committed to being a magazine which encourages, supports, inspires, informs and educates us all in living out our faith today in a challenging and complex world.
Perhaps no better sign of its internationality is the campaign being launched in this edition drawing attention to the plight of Linda Carty.
Linda is a Catholic British Grandmother on Death Row in Texas. She has been sentenced to die by lethal injection and the date of her execution is imminent. She has always maintained her innocence and many believe she did not receive a fair trial.
Linda finds great solace and comfort from the prayers of the Catholic community around the world. She sings Amazing Grace in her cell to keep her spirits up and to give her hope
The British government has made great efforts to save Linda Carty’s life. It has filed a ‘friend of the court’ briefing to the US Supreme Court contending that she deserved a retrial because of the failings of her court-appointed lawyer.
Faith Today and Reprieve, a Human Rights organization, are going to work together to campaign for Linda’s life to be saved and to see her granted clemency.
Linda finds great solace and comfort from the prayers of the Catholic community around the world. She sings Amazing Grace in her prison cell to keep her spirits up and to give her hope.
She can, of course, be assured of our prayers and of the support of Faith Today. We will do all we can to raise awareness of her case in the hope that justice and clemency will prevail.
I am hopeful that through this campaign many of our parishes and schools will join in signing the petition and partaking in Prayer Vigils for Linda. More about this on page 21.
This is my last letter for Faith Today as Editor in Chief. Mike Conway, who has served me as the Managing Editor over the last eighteen months, takes over the editorship of the next edition.
Mike, as some of you may know, is the Editor of Bible Alive and the Managing Editor of Alive Publishing. He has over 25 years experience of editing and in running a publishing company. I am glad now to hand over this responsibility to him.
When we launched Faith Today in May 2010 I wrote: ‘The launch of Faith Today is an important moment in the life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. I warmly commend it to you and ask you to promote this magazine among your friends and neighbours. I trust that it will grow to have an important place in the lives of all of us.’
Now we are re-launching Faith Today as a magazine which is to serve not just the Catholic community of England and Wales but the worldwide Catholic community.
Once again I warmly commend Faith Today to you. I am grateful to all those who work on the magazine, its contributors, its editors, the staff at Alive Publishing. I am confident that Faith Today will grow, expand and develop worldwide in the years ahead and continue to have an important place in the lives of us all.
To visit the new home of Benchmark online visit: www.catholicnews.org.uk/benchmark