Those who receive the print edition of America magazine will soon read about the upcoming 5,000 issue of the publication (the current issue is number 4,999), the occasion for some new changes at the magazine. Among the changes is the lineup of columnists, which the editor-in-chief, Fr. Matt Malone, SJ, explains in the latest issue’s Of Many Things column. It’s provided here below. In reading his introduction to the new staff columnists, you might recognize a name, those of you who get the print edition will see that in the masthead as well…
Even casual readers will notice the changes to our masthead. The really astute reader, however, will notice something even more significant. I’ll give you a hint: Look to the top of the Contents page, just below the second uppercase T. See it? That’s right: You are holding the 4999th issue of America. That means that our next issue will be a collector’s item: so get out the cellophane sleeves and chill the champagne!
The 4000th issue was dated Oct. 1, 1988. My predecessor, George W. Hunt, S.J., wrote at the time that “we calculate that America’s 5000th issue will appear sometime in the year 2010.” Father Hunt was a typical Jesuit: a 790 on the verbal and a 510 on the math. He was right about one thing, though: He had the good sense to endorse a statement that John LaFarge, S.J., had made in the 2000th issue of the magazine. Addressing America’s readers in 1947, Father LaFarge wrote, “We know that you can help us with your thoughts, your ideas, your prayers, your suggestions. We depend on you.”
Indeed we do. America is never finished. We’re always learning, growing, seeking new ways to bring you a smart Catholic take on faith and culture. So as we head into our 5000th issue, we’re making some changes. For starters, new columnists will appear throughout the first half of 2013, beginning with our own James Martin, S.J., recently named America’s editor at large. We also welcome Michael Rossmann, S.J., a blogger for The Huffington Post and the 2007 valedictorian at Notre Dame. Margot Patterson, former senior writer for The National Catholic Reporter will also join us, along with James T. Keane, a former associate editor of America, now at Orbis Books. Colleen Carroll Campbell will join us in June; Ms. Campbell was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and is now the host of “Faith and Culture” on EWTN.
It might seem strange that America would have one columnist who used to write for The National Catholic Reporter and another who wrote for George W. Bush. It doesn’t seem strange to us, though. America’s century-old motto is Veritatem facientes in caritate, “Doing the truth in love.” There is no faithful Catholic voice that is not welcome in these pages; there is no quarter of the church in which America is not at home.
We will also add a new column in the Books & Culture section. Bill McGarvey, former editor of the Web journal Busted Halo, will lead off the commentary. He will be joined by Angela Alaimo-O’Donnell, professor and poet at Fordham University, and Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M., a young friar who just published Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith. Also, longtime readers will welcome the return of the Philosopher’s Notebook, a running commentary on faith and culture in the United States. John J. Conley, a Jesuit, philosopher and playwright at Loyola University Maryland, will pen the monthly column.
One last thing: You’ll want to check out the revitalized Catholic Book Club. Each month Kevin Spinale, S.J., a teacher of English at Boston College High School, will introduce a book of special interest to Catholics. You can join that discussion at www.americamagazine.org/cbc.
Of course, change can be bittersweet. With this issue, we also bid an affectionate farewell to columnists Margaret Silf, Maryann Cusimano Love, Kyle Kramer, John DiIulio and Thomas Massaro, S.J. We are grateful for their work, which has enriched us all. We hope to see them again soon.
Whew, that is a lot of change. This much, however, will never change: our commitment to bringing you the very best of who we are, each and every week. For your loyalty and trust, we thank you. For the greater glory of God, now it’s on to 6,000!
Needless to say, I’m honored to have been invited to be a columnist at America and I’m very excited about working as part of the excellent team that makes up the editorial board, staff, and fellow columnists of this 100+ year-old publication! To view the America author page, go to: http://americamagazine.org/users/daniel-p-horan Stay tuned for more information!