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Inside NCR.

More than a thousand admirers of DePaul University-based (and long-time NCR board member) Msgr. John Egan showed up May 16 in Chicago to celebrate his first half-century as an ordained priest. The gathering was organized by stalwart friend Peggy Roach. First it was Mass at the cathedral, then a grand reception at Chicago's Plumber's Hall, where longtime Catholic activists, organizers, intellectuals and other assorted friends and supporters stood in line to greet the ever-encouraging, legendary priest. "We are in the hallway of history, one door closed and the other not quite open yet," Egan was heard to remark. "Keep it up. Keep it up. Don't get discouraged." Typical Egan.

The 1993 Catholic Press Directory indicates the circulation of national Catholic newspapers and magazines is dropping, in some publications dramatically, seemingly the result of a long recession and Catholic reading trends. A sampling of 1993 figures supplied to the Catholic Press Association compared with figures supplied five years ago (1988) reveals the following trends in national Catholic magazines: U.S. Catholic has dropped from 77,025 to 45,488; St. Anthony Messenger from 408,173 to 350,617; Liguorian from 474,710 to 382,400; Commonweal from 18,960 to 18,000; Maryknoll from 850,000 to 740,00. Only America has grown during the period, from 33,781 to 36,444.

National Catholic newspapers reveal the following trends: Catholic Twin Circle from 47,000 to 22,500; National Catholic Register from 54,000 to 26,000; Our Sunday Visitor from 252,447 to 125,000; The Wanderer from 37,500 to 35,000; and the National Catholic Reporter from 53,170 to 48,197.

These less-than-rosy figures wilt further when one considers other serious Catholic press pressures, including escalating mail costs -- some proposals as high as 70 percent next year -- and ever-escalating medical insurance costs for small companies. Then there is the continual effort to maintain a free press (see editorial, back page). Yes, it is a struggle. But a worth-while one. Hope you feel so, too.

So I end with this caution and appeal. Don't take the Catholic press for granted. Support it. Subscribe to Catholic publications. Encourage your friends to do the same. You need us. And we very much need you.
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Title Annotation:Monsignor John Egan celebration; declining circulation of American Catholic periodicals
Author:Fox, Tom
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 28, 1993
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