This month, we are marking a milestone in our diocesan story.  Our newspaper, The Monitor, is shutting down its print edition and introducing, in its place, a monthly magazine. 

As bishop and ex officio publisher of The Monitor, the historical significance of this change is very present to me. For the first time in 65 years, the Diocese of Trenton will not have a newspaper. While I fully support and encourage this new chapter for The Monitor, I am among those who will miss having the newspaper sent to the home every other week or available for pick-up in their churches. For people of a certain age, there is something very comfortable, convenient and, dare I say it, efficient, to be able to page through a print newspaper and spend time reading the stories of interest.

This newspaper has been valuable for all of the content it brings – including news from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Church around the world. But for me, The Monitor newspaper has been most helpful as a quick and accessible way to catch up on what is happening in our parishes and schools. Fifteen minutes paging through the LOCAL section gave me a great snapshot of news and developments here in the Diocese of Trenton.

I have also always valued the quality of the reporting and photos, and the way that people have responded to the newspaper these many years. I cannot count the number of times that I was approached, during a parish visit, and told by parishioners that they had read my latest column or message in The Monitor, or saw news of places I had gone and events I took part in. There is no question that our diocesan newspaper has helped to build greater diocesan unity and awareness, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

I have also heard from a number of my brother bishops who praised The Monitor and appreciated receiving it in their own dioceses. The newspaper has indeed earned high marks among people who see a lot of Catholic media.

Still, it cannot be disputed that many more people are getting their news online, and not just younger adults. Even at my age (I am almost as old as The Monitor’s 65 years), I keep myself informed by visiting a number of news websites, including The Monitor’s website, which I check in with just about every day. 

I have the highest regard for Catholic media – I believe that it provides our people with the truth that they can find in few other places. And just like Bishop George W. Ahr, who established The Monitor back in 1954, I take very seriously the responsibility of keeping our people informed of all that they need to know about their Church and the issues of the day.

But just like Bishop Ahr, I am reading the signs of the times and supporting the effort to deliver news and information to people where they are – in ways that will be both cost-effective and impactful.  I believe The Monitor’s transformation is very much in the spirit of the founding publisher decades ago.

I am very proud of the work of our Monitor team, and the fine newspaper that they have produced these many years. At the same time, I look forward to the monthly magazine.  I know that this new endeavor will reflect the same sense of mission and journalistic professionalism we have seen in the newspaper, but will be distinguished by even better stories that feed our people in their daily faith lives, and by beautiful design and images that the magazine format will only enhance.  

I thank our tried and true Monitor subscribers who continue to enjoy the newspaper, and I ask them to give the monthly magazine a chance. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised! But just as important, I ask every parishioner to support this new format in diocesan publishing by subscribing to the magazine and the news website. We need to stand together as we take this important next step as a diocesan family.