This year has been quite a journey for America, an unprecedented period of growth and change. I am very proud of the editors and staff who continue to bring you this smart Catholic take on faith and culture, not just each week in print, but every day online and every hour through social media. The datelines tell part of the tale: In just 12 months, America’s contributors have filed reports from Rome, London, Honduras, Seoul, Istanbul, Johannesburg, the Central African Republic, the Syrian-Turkish border and, with Kevin Clarke’s report in this issue, we now add Vienna to the list of more than two dozen cities.
In 2014 America also hired a new engagement and community editor, a full-time Vatican correspondent and a U.S. Church correspondent. We launched “America This Week,” a new weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio, and we co-produced a new series of lectures and events with the American Bible Society and Saint Joseph’s Seminary in New York. Last month we launched a new literary prize named for George W. Hunt, S.J., which has been generously funded by Fay Vincent, the former commissioner of Major League Baseball. We also joined with NBC News and other media outlets to co-produce coverage of the church in the United States and throughout the world. And last spring, America had its best year ever at the Catholic Press Association Awards.
We couldn’t have done it, however, without the support of people like you. Nor would we want to. America is more than a journal of opinion. We are a community, a resource for spiritual renewal and social analysis, guided by the Jesuit ideal of finding God in all things. Everywhere I travel, I am reminded that America has the most loyal readers and supporters in publishing. Many of you have supported us for decades, through fair and foul, changing editors, changing times and a changing church. Christmas is the time for thanks, so on behalf of all of us at America: Thank you. You are warmly remembered in our Masses and prayers each and every week.
In past years, America’s readers have been particularly generous contributors to our annual Christmas appeal. Without the support we receive each holiday season, we would not be able to sustain our commitment to excellence. A contribution to our Christmas appeal will go directly toward our most immediate and pressing financial needs and will enable us to continue and broaden our efforts to lead the conversation about faith and culture in the United States. A strong financial base is also essential in order for America to be able to fulfill its vision for the future.
By now you should have received the direct appeal that was sent to our singularly generous group of associates and to our active and involved readership. Regardless of the size of your contribution, we greatly appreciate whatever level of participation you can manage. Please respond by sending your check to America’s offices at 106 West 56th St., New York, NY 10019, or use our donation page online at www.americamagazine.org. If you have already sent a donation, we thank you for your lovely Christmas present. We also thank you who have given America subscriptions as Christmas gifts. You would be surprised at the number of readers who became regular subscribers after receiving a gift subscription.
As I finish this column, night is falling and horns are honking as rush hour hits its peak in Manhattan. I am sure everyone heading home is quite happy that it is not snowing. Normal gridlock is bad enough without snow. But there may be another reason for their smiles: Christmas is coming. Hope and expectation are in the air. We have much to be thankful for and much to hope for. Merry Christmas!