As President of Catholic Exchange, it has been my privilege and pleasure to come to you in this space over the past 6 years and to tell you how your generous support of CE has been touching lives and accomplishing the vital work of what JPII called "the new evangelization." This time, I am going to do something new and ask our Senior Editor, Mary Kochan, to fill you in on some exciting new initiatives in the works. Afterwards, I'll come back and let you know how you can partner with us in the coming weeks and months to make these new initiatives a vibrant reality.
Mary, take it away!
Gathering No Moss!
Thank you, Tom.
Folks, these are some very exciting times at Catholic Exchange! Tom has led the way for us in making use of the new media opportunities afforded by the internet with our podcasts, video capability and award-winning, full-length Champions of Faith film, which is touching so many hearts. But, as proud as we all are of the high praise Champions of Faith is receiving from everyone who views it, we are not resting on our laurels around here. We know that in this fast-moving online world there can be no standing still!
Recent changes to our website, making it more interactive for you, our readers, have given us more insight into what you want and need from Catholic Exchange and we have heard you loud and clear.
Supporting catechesis for all age levels continues to be a top concern, especially of parents. We know that you want reliable and timely information about developments in biotechnology with its minefield of challenges to the Catholic understanding of the human person. You've let us know that becoming more skilled in defending the faith is something you are willing to invest time and energy into, but that delving more deeply into Scripture for your own edification is equally important to you — provided the cost is not too high. We know you want a one-stop shop for the latest headlines. And we know that many of you treasure being able to engage with other readers of CE and with our authors about everything from the issues of the day's news to perennial questions in the pursuit of holiness.
To improve our delivery on all your expectations, we have some exciting new programs to be unveiled this Advent season. As a non-profit organization counting on you to partner with us, we have made affordability and wide distribution a priority — second only to quality — with all our new features.
Free Advent Study on the Way!
Realizing that our Christmas joy is in direct proportion to our Advent preparation, we are very excited about sharing with you a free Advent study, consisting of both written materials (downloadable and printable for your convenience) and videos. This series of articles and videos is entitled "The Mystery of Advent."
The "Mystery of Advent" is being produced by a team of Dominican Friars from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. and St. Vincent Church and Priory in New York City. Several of their brothers have become regular contributors to Catholic Exchange, sharing with us the treasures of their in-depth Scripture study and prayerful meditation.
Each week, starting on Thursday, November 29, there will be an article by a Dominican Friar presenting some of the riches of the lectionary readings or the liturgical celebration of the upcoming Sunday of Advent. And for each week of Advent there will be Dominican preaching in video! We look forward with you to being led by them in fruitful contemplation of the Advent mysteries.
Expanded Homeschooling Channel!
Our homeschooling channel has recently welcomed a new editor, Maureen Wittmann. Well-versed in the ins and outs of Catholic homeschooling, she is bringing that channel to new life with a fresh team of contributors and CE will soon be complementing her efforts with a new homeschooling forum platform that will enable CE readers who are homeschoolers to offer one another practical tips, curriculum information, and prayerful mutual support.
Low-Cost Downloadable Studies from Popular CE Contributors!
Coming at the beginning of 2008, a new interactive study program written by a crack team of popular CE contributors, will offer downloadable catechesis for all ages. Usable at home or in parish and school settings, this new study feature will follow the Church's weekly readings, but permit families, schools and parishes to customize various modules according to their needs. This program will be available for a free trial run for a few weeks and then continue on an extremely low-price subscription basis.
10-Week Study of "The Women of the Bible!"
2008 is the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, John Paul II's encyclical on the Dignity of Women. As announced here on CE in August, the Vatican is encouraging women, as individuals and in groups, both informally with friends and formally in parishes, to revisit this groundbreaking instruction from our dear, late holy father.
To kick off this anniversary year focusing on women, CE is pleased to announce a ten-week subscription study of the women of the Bible, Monday, January 7th to Monday, March 10th. A great way to start the new year! Encouraged by the positive feedback users have given us on Mark Shea's podcast, we have designed this new study to include both written, podcast, and interactive discussion components. It will be written and led by CE columnist Cheryl Dickow. More details coming soon!
Revamped Presentation of Headline News!
Since staying up-to-date with world and national events matters so much to you, within the next few weeks we will be unveiling a completely revamped presentation of the headline news at CE. There will be more news and it will be more easily navigable.
Our already popular forum and comment features will be getting a facelift and becoming more user-friendly. Everything that readers of CE have told us they like will still be here — with improvements based on your feedback. With your continued support of CE, we will be able in turn to support our large and growing audience, as parents, as disciples, as Catholic citizens — making the new springtime of evangelization a reality on the internet!
Only the Beginning
Thank you, Mary for bringing our readers up-to-date on some of CE's exciting new initiatives. These are only the beginning of what we are planning to add to our already rich content offering for Catholic readers online. We are committed to making these evangelism tools widely available at a cost your family can afford!
What we have done during our short six-year life-span has only been accomplished by the grace of God and with your support. We can only go forward the same way. Please show us your support now. We don't ask you very often and we have always been extremely reliable stewards of your Faith-related donation dollars.
It is easy to give to Catholic Exchange:
- You can make a secure contribution on the website by clicking here right now;
- You can call our friendly phone man, Tom Kyd, at 1-888-477-1982; or
- You can mail a check to Catholic Exchange at P.O. Box 231820, Encinitas, CA 92023.
All contributions are tax-deductible, as always.
Here's the bottom line: Catholic Exchange is doing vital and uniquely effective work to bring people to the Catholic faith and to strengthen and encourage faithful Catholics around the world. We need your help to continue our mission. Therefore I'm asking you to be as generous as you possibly can in response to our appeal and to please pray that our work will be effective for the Kingdom of God. I thank you in advance for your continued support and generosity.
Yours in Christ,
Editor & President, Catholic Exchange
P.S. It is already November and time to make Christmas gift purchases in earnest for friends and family. Please keep in mind that our Champions of Faith DVD would make an OUTSTANDING Christmas gift for those someones you know who are lukewarm in the Faith or absent from the pews entirely — especially dads, uncles, granddads and young boys. I sincerely wish that I had seen a film like Champions of Faith before I left for college, as it would have seriously impacted the lifestyle choices I made over the course of the next decade.
Champions of Faith is entertaining people across the country, reuniting families, strengthening people in the Faith and bringing souls back to the sacraments! Click <<HERE>> to purchase a $99 "Evangelization 6-Pack" for your sons, siblings, spouses, nephews, friends or neighbors. This gift will mean more to them than anything else they will receive this Christmas. Here's what Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, had to say about our film:
"Champions of Faith is a splendid documentary. It is deeply moving to see these baseball players, including future Hall of Famers, All-Stars, players and managers, demonstrate how their professional success has been accompanied by a deep love of their Catholic faith, a faith that they strive to live out everyday. This film is a powerful instrument of evangelization, and it is my hope that it will reach many people with its inspiring message!"