From the fall of 2005 through the early spring of 2006, I was in the process of putting my pagan ways behind me as I prepared to come into full communion with the Church. Once a week, my fellow candidates and I would gather in the community center at St. John the Baptist Parish in New Haven, where Father Paul McCarthy and the director of religious education would school us on the teachings of the Church.
Much of it was new to me, but some of it was familiar. But I was completely stumped when we were told that we each needed to pick a confirmation saint. I didn’t know Aquinas from Augustine. I was a sportswriter and editor. The only saints I knew played on Sundays and wore the fleur-de-lis on their helmets. While Father McCarthy certainly imparted to us why careful – and prayerful – discernment was needed, I didn’t take the process seriously. I procrastinated until the day we had to declare which saint we had chosen. Minutes after Googling “who is the patron saint of writers?” I jotted down St. Francis de Sales without giving it another thought.
I might have been clueless, but God, as He always does, has a plan.
It took a decade for me to truly get to know St. Francis, but the more I learned about him, and the more I read his incredible writing, I knew I had found not only a lifelong friend but a mentor and guide in my profession. Recently, I’ve been reading a compilation of his writing, and the following passage struck me. He wrote: “Take it as a certain sign that your charity is not genuine if your words, no matter how true, are not charitable.”
Those words stung as I read them. They forced me to ask myself: How often do I think I’m being charitable by professing the truth about something when, in reality, I’m using it as a hammer to bash someone over the head? This truly is one of my faults – one of my most grievous faults. And judging by the harshness with which our entire society speaks to one another – including our fellow Catholics – I’m not alone.
The quote from St. Francis de Sales reminded me of something Pope Francis wrote earlier this year in his message for World Communications Day – something I’ve thought about often since joining the team at Today’s Catholic. The Holy Father wrote: “We have a pressing need in the Church for communication that kindles hearts, that is balm on wounds, and that shines light on the journey of our brothers and sisters. … A form of communication founded on humility … which never separates truth from charity.”
Veritatem in Caritate, Latin for “truth in charity,” is the episcopal motto of Bishop Rhoades. It is also a guiding light for the mission of Today’s Catholic, which seeks to unite the faithful through honest, uplifting journalism that is always written with the mind of the Church.
In a recent interview, Bishop Rhoades explained the importance of Today’s Catholic and its mission, saying: “Today’s Catholic is an instrument for not only evangelization and catechesis, but also building communion, because it’s informing the readership of the life of the Church in our diocese and building communion among parishes, schools, apostolates, and more. In this way, readers of Today’s Catholic realize that the Church is bigger than their own parish. … There is also a formation aspect that readers can find in Today’s Catholic, which will help them in their prayer life, their understanding of Church teaching, but also their involvement in the mission of our diocese and the universal Church. Today’s Catholic certainly will help to inform and educate people in their faith and inspire their calling to be missionary disciples.”
This mission is at the heart of each person who works to bring you Today’s Catholic every week. We hope you enjoy this special Thanksgiving issue, which has been sent to the homes of all registered parishioners in the diocese. Please consider joining us in this mission to form and inform readers by sharing Today’s Catholic with friends and loved ones. A one-year subscription is just $25. To subscribe, or to give the gift of a subscription, visit TodaysCatholic.org/subscribe.
Together, let us continue to form our Catholic community by speaking – as St. Francis de Sales preached, and as Bishop Rhoades urges – with words that are both true and charitable.
Scott Warden is Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Catholic.
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.