A line from the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic has stuck with me over the years: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” It has allowed me to understand change and how change is really the beginning of something fresh and new.
Well, there have been big changes at the Western New York Catholic newspaper. A new beginning is coming from some other beginning’s end.
The September issue of the WNYCatholic is the last issue that will be printed in its current form. The stories and the images of life in the eight-county diocese will still be told, but they will reside on the newspaper’s website, wnycatholic.org. While I’m sure you’re sad to see the physical paper go, as I am, it is for the best.
Over its 150-year lifetime the paper has changed several times. It has been published under different names and in several languages — including Polish and German — serving the immigrant populations that built Buffalo. In 1872, the Catholic Union and Times began publication under Buffalo’s second bishop, Stephen Ryan, CM. It became the Magnificat in 1964. The paper’s current name, Western New York Catholic was started in 1981.
Fresh out of college, I came on board as the staff photographer in 1995. Back then, I shot my pictures on film and developed them by hand in the office darkroom, a process that could take an hour. In 2001, there was a change. The paper purchased a digital camera. My images took five minutes to process and could be sent across the globe in mere seconds. I became managing editor of the paper in 2016 and worked with the staff to update the look and content of the paper. The changes made by us were rewarded by the Western New York Catholic being named Newspaper of the Year by the Catholic Press Association in 2018.
During my time here and through many changes, I have enjoyed bringing the stories and news of the Catholic faithful, just as my predecessors had done since 1872.
Each month when the newspaper was published, I would comb through the issue, seeing the stories of the faithful filling the pages. Now, I will click through the WNYCatholic news on my iPhone. This is a big change for me.
Yes, it’s not the same. No ink on the fingers, but the Gospel tells us to go out and spread the good news to the people where they are. As people change, we must change with them in order to reach them. So where are people getting their news? They are getting it online.
Over the summer, the staff of the Office of Communications has been developing a refreshing new look for the WNYCatholic.org. Our content will be updated daily instead of monthly. We will be including both national and international stories alongside our award-winning coverage of the eight-county diocese. I invite you to continue to submit your stories and photographs so we may share them in our new digital platform.
I am excited to see this transformation of the WNYCatholic. Our job is still to serve you, our readers, and the ministry of the Diocese of Buffalo. We still will be doing this, just in a different form.
While it may be the end of our physical edition, I hope you will join us in our new beginning.