WASHINGTON (May 7, 2004) -- Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, OP, Secretary for Education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), announced that the Department of Education will cease publication of the catechetical journal, The Living Light, later this year. The last issue to be released will be the Summer 2004 issue.
The decision to cease publication of the journal was based primarily on financial considerations. Taking into account the number of subscriptions versus publication expenses, the journal was projected to lose $44,000 in the coming year.
First released in the Spring of 1964, The Living Light was initially published by the National Center of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine (CCD) of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. With the formation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference in 1966, the journal became a publication of the USCC Department of Education. The journal was produced and distributed for the Conference in turn by Our Sunday Visitor, William H. Sadlier, Inc., Mercer University Press and finally USCCB Publishing.
During its forty years in print, The Living Light was served by two executive editors. The first was Mary Perkins Ryan, who served from 1964 until 1973. She was succeeded as executive editor by Father Berard Marthaler, OFM Conv., who continues to serve in that role. Father Marthaler, now a Catholic University of America emeritus professor, recently announced that he would be stepping down from his role with the publication of the Summer 2004 issue. According to Sister McPhee, Father Marthaler's leaving played no part in the decision to end the quarterly journal.
"We have known for some time that Father Marthaler was considering stepping down as executive editor," Sister McPhee said. "As staff, we had quietly searched for a new person for the role and were preparing for his leaving. The decision to close the journal is strictly a financial one. We simply could no longer underwrite the journal's expense. Father Marthaler has been a good and faithful servant to the catechetical community for many years. We can never thank him enough for everything he gave us, nor can we give him any award equal to his efforts. We can only offer him our love and respect."
Although The Living Light will cease publication, the USCCB Department of Education will continue producing resources for the Catholic catechetical community. In cooperation with USCCB Publishing, the department has already produced a book on adolescent catechesis taken from articles that appeared first in The Living Light. Other books that mine back issues of the journal are being considered, as are other resources that support the catechetical work of the Church.