For more than 120 years, the family of God here in Los Angeles has been served by a fine Catholic newspaper, The Tidings.
With this edition, a fine newspaper becomes an even more excellent news magazine. The Tidings becomes Angelus, a weekly print publication integrated with online digital and social media platforms at AngelusNews.com.
“Tidings,” as we know, is an old word that means “news of events.”
In the first English Bible translations, the word is found in the Annunciation story, where the Angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary: “I am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings.”
Catholics remember this event in the traditional “Angelus” prayer. So our new name seems like a natural point of growth, especially when we recall that the first mission in Los Angeles was named for the Angel of the Annunciation, San Gabriel.
Our mission remains bringing the “good tidings” of Jesus Christ to Los Angeles and the Americas — to communicate through words and images what Jesus reveals about God’s mercy and salvation and what that means for our lives and our society.
The Angelus scene points us to something fundamental. We believe in a God who “communicates.” A God who desires to speak to us in our own language. A God who calls us to dialogue, encounter and friendship. A God who invites us to walk with him and serve him and to live together with him in a communion of love.
Through Jesus and his Church, God is still speaking to his people. This is where Church communication begins — in the Church’s mission to spread the “good tidings” of Jesus Christ and his promise of God’s love.
To serve this mission, the Church has always created its own networks and communication platforms — publishing, books, newspapers and magazines; broadcasting over radio, television, cable and satellite; and now using the channels of digital and social media.
Today, more than ever, we need a vital and independent Catholic media presence.
We find ourselves in a highly secularized society, organized more and more deliberately as if God does not matter and as if people are beyond the need for religion. Sadly, most Catholics today get most of their news and information about their faith from secular sources that are hostile to the Church and deeply skeptical about “truth claims” of Christianity.
With Angelus we are hoping to announce a renewal of the Catholic press and the Catholic media in our time.
My hope is that this new magazine will become a platform for writers, photographers and artists who are serious about: truth and beauty, prayer and spirituality, justice and the things that should matter most to us in our common life.
Our aim is to communicate a truly “Catholic” vision of the world by providing news and investigative reporting, and offering opinions and analysis on cultural trends and world events. We want to tell the stories of our Catholic people in all their rich diversity of cultures, languages and nationalities. We want to show our people’s struggles and joys as they seek to live their faith and to make this world more like the way God created it to be.
At the heart of the Catholic vision is Jesus Christ’s “good tidings” about the human person — who is made in God’s image with a sanctity and dignity that can never be denied and a transcendent destiny and purpose given by God.
To be truly Catholic, our journalism must always serve and defend the human person, especially the poorest and most vulnerable — the child in the womb; the sick and the dying; the homeless, the refugee and the immigrant; the prisoner and all those who are enslaved, trafficked and persecuted.
We are launching Angelus on July 1 because this will mark the first celebration of the feast day of America’s newest saint, St. Junípero Serra, who was also one of the founders of Los Angeles and California.
St. Junípero was a great missionary and was one of this continent’s first “journalists.” He left us with rich and detailed reporting of his experiences among America’s first peoples, along with beautiful descriptions of plants, wildlife and the natural environment. He wrote with moral fervor and compassion, defending women and children and speaking out for the rights of native peoples. He was probably the first person in the Americas to seek an end to the death penalty.
We invoke St. Junípero as our patron for Angelus and for the future of Catholic journalism and media.
Please pray for us as we embark on this new effort — and share the good news with others about what we are doing with Angelus.
I entrust all of us to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who brought the good tidings of Jesus to these lands at the dawn of the New World. May she inspire and guide us as we seek to bring these good tidings to a new generation in the Americas.