A Season of Renewal
We stand together on the threshold of the beautiful season of Lent: a time of simplicity, purification, sacrifice and renewal. How necessary these forty days are, as they take us out of our everyday lives – out of our “ordinary time” – and encourage us to look more closely at who we are and how we live our faith. These days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving give nourishment and renewal to the soul, bringing us to resurrection with the Body of Christ.
Ministries also need time for reflection and renewal. Over the past months, I have been meeting with our Communications Staff, Clergy, and Laity from around the Diocese to reflect on the mission of the Southern Cross and the role it plays assisting me as Bishop of Savannah. Through these conversations, it has become became clear that shifting from a primarily ‘news-driven’ publication to a ‘features-driven’ publication would better meet our mission of building up the Body of Christ in the Diocese of Savannah and beyond.
I am excited to announce that this March, the Southern Cross will change from a bi-monthly newspaper to a monthly magazine. It will focus on local stories and original features, with content designed to engage, inform, inspire and – most importantly – spread the beauty and truth of our Catholic faith. This decision will also be more efficient from a budgeting perspective. I am confident that the renewed version and format of the Southern Cross will be pleasing and inviting from a content and aesthetic perspective. Thank you for your patience during this time of transition. Please know that I am grateful for your continued prayers and be assured that I remember you, your loved ones and your intentions in my daily conversations with God.
Stay tuned as we embark upon this journey to build upon the legacy of this publication and begin a new chapter for Communications in the Diocese of Savannah. May this Lent be a beautiful season of renewal not only for us personally and communally, but for the Southern Cross as well!
Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes, D.D.
Bishop of Savannah
From the Editor
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.
The February 25, 2021 issue will be the final iteration of the Southern Cross in newspaper format; the 32-page Southern Cross magazine will arrive in your mailboxes at the end of March. We hope you are as excited as we are about this next phase in the life of the Southern Cross, and ask for your prayers as we continue to deliver inspiring and evangelical Catholic content into 25,000 homes, building up the community of the faithful in the Diocese of Savannah.
Until then, please visit our website and Facebook for a preview of things to come!
Michael L. Johnson
1-Is this the first time the diocesan publication has changed formats?
No – the Diocesan publication has changed formats and its mission several times since its inception. “The Bulletin of the Catholic Laymen’s Association, the earliest iteration of the current Diocese of Savannah newspaper, The Southern Cross, began its publication in 1920. Its purpose was threefold: to combat anti-Catholic sentiments in the Southeast; to educate both Catholics and non-Catholic’s on current events in the Church; and to report on the work of the Catholic Laymen’s Association, founded three years earlier with the same purpose as their publication. The periodical began as a monthly publication, which increased and then decreased in issue numbers as time passed. It was known by the following names as the size and shape of the Diocese changed: The Bulletin of the Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia, (1/1/1920–11/23/1956); The Bulletin of the Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia, Official Newspaper for the Diocese of Savannah & Atlanta (11/24/1956–12/31/1958); The Savannah Bulletin (1/4/1958–3/8/1958); The Bulletin, Diocese of Savannah Edition (3/22/1958–12/31/1962); and the most current publication The Southern Cross (1/1/1963–present). At one point in Diocesan history, the newspaper had national circulation.
For more, listen to The “It’s Catholic Y’All podcast at podbean.com/ew/pb-h86ve-b1715e
2-Will you still have columnists?
Yes, The magazine will continue to carry our regular columnists – Fr. Douglas Clark, Fr. Pablo Migone, and Msgr. Fred Nijem – along with occasional guest columnists. We will also continue to publish compelling stories of people and events from around the Diocese by staff reporter Donnell Suggs and others.
3-What kind of feature stories can we expect?
We don’t want to totally spoil the surprise, but some of the recurring features we have planned are: Around the Diocese; Art and Architecture; Ask a Priest; Catholic Crossword and Other Puzzles; Why Do We Do That? and Catholic Culture and Traditions.
4-Will there be any content in Spanish?
Yes! We are planning to include a feature story in Spanish in each issue