John Allen Jr., over at NCR Café, makes the point that, while local newspapers cover things as routine as city council meetings and high school sports events, they seldom report the powerful faith stories that take place in our churches every week. Using the Lexis-Nexis database, which indexes virtually all major print and broadcast media outlets in the English language, he ran a search under the keywords “cathedral” and “Catholic” for the week of January 3-10, 2007.
Recall that Jan. 3-10, the period of time under examination here, fell during one of the most crucial liturgical and spiritual points of the year: just after Christmas and New Year’s, with the Feast of the Epiphany smack dab in the middle. Yet not one of these stories (or the 20 or so other pieces that I didn’t list) made any reference to that activity. There was nothing about how a local homilist had framed the meaning of Epiphany; nothing about the spiritual significance of the Incarnation for contemporary Christians; nothing about the prayer intentions local Catholics brought to the liturgy for the New Year; nothing about how Catholic schools or CCD programs had prepared young people for the spiritual dimension of the holidays. Nothing, in short, about the routine pastoral and spiritual life of the church as it’s reflected in our cathedrals and other local faith communities.
This is not, he assures us, because Catholics have nothing to say that would interest the secular media. He writes:
Every RCIA director in this country has stories to tell of that remarkable convert whose life is the stuff of a Hollywood screenplay.
Incredible drama unfolds in cathedrals [and churches] every day; indeed, it would be stunning if this were not the case. Religion is where people bring their deepest fears, their highest hopes, their most intense passions—it’s the Coliseum of the conscience, the arena in which the universal human struggle between sin and redemption, between disgrace and new grace, plays itself out.
I’d even suggest that these stories are not being told well enough in our own diocesan newspapers.
So what stories do you have? And how are you telling them? E-mail them to me at nick[at]teamrcia[dot]com, and I’ll post some here. And e-mail them to your diocesan and town newspapers.
Click here to read Allen’s entire post. (You have to scroll down a bit.)