Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
Here in the office of Orange County Catholic, we’ve been marveling that a year has passed since we first set up shop as a weekly publication. Until the first issue appeared in parishes and on doorsteps throughout the Diocese of Orange on Nov. 6, 2013, Orange County Catholic had been a monthly paper, with the attendant restrictions on immediacy and breath of coverage. In publication since 2000, it had served its purpose well, but as the diocese continued to grow and mature, a more nimble and responsive newspaper was needed, a publication that could take on more intensive subjects while keeping readers even more current on events that unfolded over the course of a week rather than a month. Bishop Kevin Vann also wanted to make sure that the paper got into the hands of as many of the Orange County faithful as possible.
What emerged was a new paper and a unique partnership. Orange County Catholic decreased slightly in physical size but weighed in at 24 pages a week, with cleaner new graphics and a crisp new design. Standing features such as the Scripture readings for the week and the highly popular back-page priest profiles were instituted. The new design also allowed for two longer main features and a Catholic Family Living feature (all three presented in both Spanish and English), as well as school and diocesan news, and Catholic News Service updates from the nation and the world. The paper expanded further beginning with the August 27 issue when a four-page sports section was added that specializes in coverage of athletics at all Catholic secondary schools in the diocese, including athlete profiles, in-depth features, a sports column, big-game coverage and a comprehensive listing of upcoming sporting events.
To produce, print and distribute the paper, as well as coordinate advertising sales, the diocese partnered with Churm Custom Publishing (a division of the Orange County Register). Through this alliance, the diocese was able to offer readers an attractive option: Register subscribers could elect to receive Orange County Catholic via home delivery every Wednesday along with their copy of the Register. The plan proved to be so popular that circulation of Orange County Catholic currently stands at 56,000, making it one of the most widely read Catholic publications in the country.
With Executive Editor Ryan Lilyengren and myself planning and producing the editorial content on the diocese side and a highly experienced and talented team of editors, writers and designers (including Editor Kimberly Porrazzo and Managing Editor Caitlin Adams) at Churm Custom Publishing, Orange County Catholic continues to find and refine its voice. We already have received a national award for best news writing from the Catholic Press Association, and we believe that is only the first of many to come.
Speaking for all of us, may I offer you, our most valued readers, our grateful thanks. You are the reason we keep doing the work we love.
We hope you’ll enjoy this brief look back at a few examples of the previous year’s more intriguing covers as well as brief descriptions of some of our favorite stories from the past 12 months.
Some of our favorite stories of the year:
“HOW CAN THEY KEEP FROM SINGING?” (Oct. 1)
Gregorian chant with the Norbertines of St. Michael’s Abbey
“A FIRST LOOK AT A MAJESTIC NEW HOME” (Sept. 24)
Artists’ renderings of plans for the renovation of Christ Cathedral
“SURPRISED BY JACK” (Sept. 10)
A thorough look at C.S. Lewis, his books and his influence
“FIGHT ON FOR THE GIPPER” (August 27)
Legendary rivalry between two heavily Catholic colleges: USC and Notre Dame
“INSIDE THE SANCTUARY”
Graphic layout and description of all the liturgical elements in the sanctuary and on the altar
“ALMOST HEAVEN” (July 16)
A joyous visit with campers and their buddies at Camp Re-Creation
“DEARLY BEFUDDLED” (June 11)
Priests’ memories of off-the-wall weddings
“PONTIUS PILATE, NICE GUY?”
Did the man who condemned Jesus to death get a bad rap?
“THE DAY THE MUSIC DIDN’T DIE” (Jan. 15)
Restoration of Christ Cathedral’s massive Hazel Wright Memorial Organ
“GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD” (Dec. 25, 2013)
Christmas Eve comfort and joy from the moon, 45 years ago