After almost 28 years, the Catholic East Texas will publish its last edition as a newspaper in June.
The official publication of the Diocese of Tyler will take a two-month hiatus and return in September as a full-color magazine, published roughly every two months and designed to implement Bishop Joseph E. Strickland’s vision of sharing Catholic faith and culture as lived in East Texas.
Yet while the publication’s format will change, its primary mission will not. Catholic East Texas was established in 1987 by Bishop Charles E. Herzig and founding editor Robert Plocheck with the purpose of informing, educating and evangelizing the people of the diocese, as well as unifying Catholics who came from three separate dioceses into one, with a unique and distinct identity.
That mission remains. As a magazine, Catholic East Texas will continue to do what it has done from the beginning: tell the story of the Diocese of Tyler, of the people who make up the diocese and who live out their faith day to day.
That story over the years has taken many forms. In the beginning, when the diocese was still new and folks in Texarkana, Lufkin and Trinity were still strangers to each other, the newspaper embarked on a series of “parish profiles,” presenting the history and present-day faith life of every parish in the diocese.
The paper also focused on people, on those countless individuals who over the years consistently protested that “I don’t do much, I’m no different than anyone else,” and then shared stories of living out their faith in ways great and small. From a young girl in Frankston who donated the proceeds from her lemonade stand to St. Gregory Cathedral School in Tyler to adults who make rosaries for soldiers and quilts for babies, from catechists and missionaries to priests, deacons and religious, the pages of Catholic East Texas have been filled with the stories of those people who have made the Diocese of Tyler into “the little diocese that could.”
That will not change.
The staff of CET will continue to tell those stories. We will still be calling you and asking you to be the profile, though that feature may well have a different name. We will still be covering your groundbreakings and dedications, the ordinations of your deacons and priests, the musings of your bishop.
But we’re going to need your help, just as we always have.
Our psychic abilities have never been what they should be, so we still need you to let us know what’s happening in your parish. Email us with news and profile suggestions. Send us your bulletins and your photos. Is your youth group, ladies guild or St. Vincent de Paul Society doing something noteworthy? Is your parish planning a major fund-raising event? Are you building something?
Let us know. We’re here to tell your stories, just as we always have been.
Do keep in mind, though, that deadlines will be changing.
In the past 28 years, we’ve gone from publishing every two weeks to twice a month and then to once a month. Now we will be publishing roughly every two months. So calling us Tuesday about something happening Thursday really isn’t enough lead time. If possible, give us a couple of weeks notice. Or for those of you really good at planning, a month or so.
As you might have noticed, we’re already implementing the foundation for these changes. In the last few issues, the CET has transitioned to 100% local content. As much as possible, the magazine will feature material written within the diocese, by the people of the diocese. Several of our diocesan priests are contributors now, and we hope to recruit more as we move forward.
We’re planning a wide variety of home-grown content for the CET, in English and Spanish, drawing from the pool of talent we have in the diocese. Although we’re a tiny minority in East Texas, we are still a large group of people. We have all manner of talents, knowledge, education, experience, perspectives and ideas to share. Unified by our Catholic Faith, we’re still about as diverse as a group of people can be.
The goal is a publication that conveys the eternal truths that we are living. It must be a tool that helps Catholics enter more deeply into the Faith, and calls everyone to that Christian unity that Christ Himself prayed for. We want the Catholic East Texas to be something that, when you and your family members are done reading, you feel proud to hand on to someone else, maybe someone who is not Catholic, saying, “Hey, take a look at page 22. You were asking me why Catholics did that.”
As excited as we are about the changes happening with the Catholic East Texas, the diocese is also moving forward in electronic communications. Many general news items, calendar events and parish announcements will now begin appearing on our diocesan web site at www.dioceseoftyler.org/news. By using the web site, we can keep the news from becoming stale before you have a chance to read it, and report on a wide variety of stories of interest to the people of East Texas.
You might have noticed that we are also integrating our electronic and print efforts with links to extra content in the CET. Interviews, photo galleries, short films and other items will be offered on the web, with convenient web addresses included at the end of many stories. This month, we offer bonus online content for three of our print articles. Please take a look.
In the past six months, the diocese has also successfully implemented a suite of social media tools that compliment the web site and the Catholic East Texas by providing greater access for everyone to participate in the life of the Church in East Texas. Our social media effort is growing and now you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and our photo galleries are on Flickr.com.
All of these changes take time, but we’re excited to show you the results. Please assist us in two ways:
1. Please pray for us.
2. Please help to remind everyone that there will be no CET issues in July and August.
As part of the “little diocese that could”, we are the “little communications office that could”. We thank you for your continued support and prayers, and look forward to serving the people of the Diocese of Tyler.