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January 2014 Catholic by Grace Column

One morning last spring, I caught my older daughter flipping through a diocesan newspaper while eating breakfast. I had to smile. On that particularly morning, she wasn’t officially Catholic. She entered the Church later that day at the 2:30 Mass at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri. It was Pentecost Sunday and soon, my second child would be entering the faith I had chosen less than a decade earlier.

“Did you read the diocesan newspapers when you lived here? Or is this a new thing for you?” I asked her.

She looked up from the paper and smiled. “When there was no catalog or magazine on the table, I would read it. It was something to do.” She laughed and closed the paper.

Those were rough years. She had moved into our house with her little boys and was trying to juggle them and full-time employment. She was also trying hard to avoid God.

But on this particular Sunday, the fight against God ended. On that day, she was received into Mother Church.

My husband also used to scan diocesan newspapers and magazines before he converted. He’s the kind of guy that goes through withdrawal when he doesn’t have a book to read. In the years after my conversion (before his own conversion), he would read the Catholic papers that were on the table – the random complimentary copies I received as a columnist. This is the same man who promised he would never become Catholic. He was born Southern Baptist, and he would die Southern Baptist.

He’s been Catholic since 2008.

I don’t know if there is a cause and effect relationship between conversions and subscriptions to diocesan periodicals, but at the very least, there is some correlation. I believe families that have subscriptions to diocesan papers are the very families most likely to experience conversion and ongoing conversion – even among families in which some members actively resist God. There are times that the diocesan newspaper on the kitchen table is the only remaining voice for Mother Church in the lives of those who stubbornly resist grace.

I am blessed to write for diocesan papers and magazines, but I am even more blessed to have those periodicals in my home and on my kitchen table. There was a time when my husband told me to stop talking about my new-found faith – but he would still read the diocesan newspaper. My daughter tuned me out for years. But last spring, she entered the Church.

Diocesan papers are tools of evangelization. Sometimes, they are the only evangelization tool left in a household.

If you are reading this, you understand how important this magazine or newspaper is. You know that it assists you in your journey – and you know that it assists those who live under your roof and sit at your kitchen table.

In a world that is filled with many voices and so many words, it is a blessing to have faithful media coming into our homes, sharing words that matter – words that bring life.

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