Viewpoint: Someone to watch over us

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January 24 is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, who is the patron saint of both the Diocese of Wilmington and journalists.

As a Catholic journalist in the diocese, I’m especially grateful this year for the patronage of Francis.

If a patron saint is someone who is believed to protect a particular place or person, St. Francis de Sales has had his work cut out for him in the diocese during the last few years.

His intercessions with God were especially needed for the diocese as it dealt with the revelations of tragic criminal acts, the settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests and the capital campaign to begin to repair its finances.

The fact parishioners contributed more than $31 million to Sustaining Hope for the Future during the last two years, while also strongly supporting two Annual Catholic Appeal drives, donating a total of $40 million during those years, is almost miraculous.

St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales

Thank you, St. Francis de Sales, for the generosity of the people of the diocese and thank you Bishop Malooly, pastors, parish leaders and Development Office for communicating the diocese’s needs so effectively.

And here’s a thank you from a Catholic journalist to parishioners of the diocese for their generosity that’s helping the diocese continue to publish this newspaper.

This year marks The Dialog’s 50th anniversary. It was founded by Bishop Michael W. Hyle during the Second Vatican Council to report on the life of the diocese and the changes in the church during those dramatic years.

Bishop Hyle’s successors continued his strong commitment to Catholic journalism by mandating the paper be sent to all parishioners who requested it.

Since the bankruptcy, The Dialog continues to be distributed at parishes and has expanded its reach to the world beyond diocesan churches by publishing its print editions online with more stories from around the world than can be printed in the paper at www.thedialog.org.

When St. Francis de Sales couldn’t preach in churches of Calvinist Geneva where he was bishop, he wrote out his sermons and traveled the countryside leaving his homilies at people’s doors. That makes him a perfect patron saint for a revamped Dialog that sends the Good News into homes through the Internet.

I owe a personal thanks to St. Francis de Sales, too. I took Francis de Sales as my confirmation name about 56 years ago. I had been born and baptized in St. Francis de Sales Parish in West Philadelphia where my parents were married. It was my father’s confirmation name, too.

When I was in second grade, I thought Francis de Sales was the obscure St. Francis, almost anonymous compared to Assisi and Xavier.

Back then, I didn’t know I would be a journalist, didn’t know the Diocese of Wilmington existed, and I didn’t know an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales would be the main celebrant at my wedding.

So this Jan 24, I’m thanking St. Francis for his not too subtle patronage in my life and I’m praying that he continues to watch over me, the staff of The Dialog and the Diocese of Wilmington.

Ryan is editor/general manager of The Dialog.