A Special Note from the Editor of Catholic Exchange

As some readers may know, 2023 has been a transformative year for me in more ways than one. I got married several months ago, and my first book was released just before Thanksgiving. In reflecting on these blessings—and the many challenges of this year — I gained a new perspective on the unique role of Catholics in the modern landscape.

We visited Rome on our honeymoon, and I was awed by the majesty of the Catholic sites. For the first time, I was surrounded by millennia of unapologetic Catholic tradition and beauty.

On the other hand, I couldn’t ignore the distress that accompanies the current crisis of faith in the Church and in the world. I was also shocked by the ignorance of many tourists, who flocked to timeless Catholic sites for their external beauty, blissfully unaware of their deeper sacred significance.

It then occurred to me: that is the role of Catholic media in the 21st century. To convert tourists into pilgrims.

Catholic writers are a beacon of light, animating the artifacts and monuments and art with the living truth of the Gospel. I hope that the sight of us praying at the tombs of the saints inspired a few people to see this life as it really is — not as a frenetic bucket list, moving from pleasure to pleasure and pain to pain, but as a totalizing pilgrimage toward our destination, Heaven.

The world may view Catholicism as an antiquated cultural artifact. Worse, it may actively persecute us for speaking the truth. Each word written in defense and promotion of Catholic truths proves that our faith is alive, and we are the witnesses of this century.

The courageous Catholics who I interviewed for my book survived unspeakable persecution for their faith under communist regimes, yet remained hopeful and cheerful. Their witness inspired me to be more public and bold about my faith, come what may. I kept them in mind when I genuflected in the Duomo of Milan, and prayed at the Pantheon amidst a throng of flashing cameras — trying to embody an identity of pilgrim rather than tourist.

As we step forward into a more uncertain world, I hope that this mindset of daily witness continues to bolster Catholic communities and convert hearts.

You—the readers and contributors to Catholic Exchange—play a vital role in reminding the world that we are still here, we are still Catholic, and it’s all still true. As true today as it was on Calvary.

Your support will help us to continue this work, enabling us to pursue these projects in 2024:

  • Expansion of our roster of writers to continue to bring fresh perspectives to timeless topics
  • A complete website redesign to make the user interface more attractive and user-friendly
  • A new YouTube program and podcast to expand our reach.

We can trust that our efforts, however small, will bear fruit in the eyes of God. As Don Dolindo Ruotolo, a favorite intercessor of Catholic Exchange readers, always prayed: “Jesus, You take over!”

As I remember the intentions of our readers in the coming year, I trust that His will shall prevail, and that our strong Catholic apostolate will continue to reach souls.

So I am again turning to you and asking if you will visit our donation form and please support, sustain, and grow Catholic Exchange by making a tax-deductible gift of $25, $30, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, or more today.

We can become an even stronger and more influential voice for faithful Catholicism in 2024, but we need your help.

The most important way you can give: If you are able to become a monthly contributor to Catholic Exchange you will be giving us the clearest path to the stability and predictability we so desperately need.

Please help us broaden and elevate one of the most beloved voices spreading the Catholic Faith online. Please consider supporting Catholic Exchange with the most generous gift you can afford this Christmas season.

And of course, remember us in your prayers and sacrifices. Beg the intercession of the saints, particularly Don Dolindo. Pray that the optimal words, themes, and voices be given to us so that we can continue enlightening people’s understanding of reality, making the mysteries of the gospel known to the four corners of the earth.

Photo by Tamal Mukhopadhyay on Unsplash

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Kristen Van Uden is the editor of Catholic Exchange and author spokesperson at Sophia Institute Press. She has degrees in History and Russian from Saint Anselm College and the College of William & Mary, and studies the persecution of Catholics under communist regimes. Her first book, When the Sickle Swings: Stories of Catholics Who Survived Communist Oppression, was published by Sophia Institute Press in November 2023. She has been featured on a wide range of media platforms including Coast to Coast AMFirst Things, and Sensus Fidelium. Book information, original articles, and links to interviews can be found at her Substack, On the Wheel.

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