By Barb Arland-Fye
Although the annual subscription drive for The Catholic Messenger officially kicks off the last weekend in January, some parishes’ efforts are well under way.
Parish subscriptions are vital to The Catholic Messenger, but have decreased somewhat due to subscribers passing away or moving out of the diocese. Our diocesan newspaper still enjoys a larger subscriber base than many diocesan newspapers in the Midwest, which speaks to the quality of the publication. In fact, The Catholic Messenger received an honorable mention last year for best front page in a contest among its peers in The Catholic Press Association.
To sustain your high-quality diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Messenger Board of Directors approved a $1 subscription rate increase late this past fall. What parishes individually choose to charge their parishioners is up to each parish. We recommend a dollar amount based on what it costs to produce the newspaper. As a result, we have established a rate of $26 per year for in-diocese subscriptions and $28 annually for those living outside the diocese.
We announced the rate increase to parishes in a letter dated Dec. 1, 2009. Because the parishes collect subscription payments from their parishioners, The Catholic Messenger bills them for those payments.
Some parishes informed us recently that the notice of an increase should have been provided sooner. They order envelopes for their parishioners’ weekly offering well in advance and had already distributed envelopes printed with last year’s subscription rate. Some parishioners made their payment for The Messenger based on the lower rate.
We apologize for not keeping in mind the advance notice parishes need concerning rate increases. We promise to do better for next year’s subscription drive. In the meantime, we ask our readers and subscribers to continue to support The Catholic Messenger. And we ask parish leaders to explain to parishioners — via the pulpit or parish bulletin — that the new rate was announced after the offering envelopes had gone to press.
On a regular basis, beginning this month, I will share brief bulletin announcements that parishes may use to promote the value of The Catholic Messenger and provide subscription rate information.
I’ve also been invited to speak this weekend to parishioners of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City about The Catholic Messenger subscription drive and to answer questions parishioners might have. It’s a visit I’m looking forward to.
Each week, The Catholic Messenger provides coverage of diocesan, state, national and international news about the Catholic Church. While The Messenger reflects the life of the church throughout the world, its emphasis is on diocesan news, parishes, parishioners and their opinions. The cost of $26 for a year’s subscription — 50 issues — is a real value for what The Catholic Messenger brings to you. Subscribe now through your parish.