The closure of the Catholic Sentinel and El Centinela has caused feelings of emptiness, frustration and sadness in the Oregon Catholic community.

Since the publication of the first El Centinela in November 1995, the paper has faithfully fulfilled its mission of spreading the Gospel. It built bridges between church leaders, Anglo Catholics and the Hispanic Catholic community. It established an emotional and spiritual connection with readers, nurtured the faith of the people and reported local stories. It made the Kingdom of God on earth visible and tangible with Hispanics as protagonists. It complemented the local story with national and international stories including the voice of our local bishops, the bishops of the United States and Latin America and the pope.

In addition, it has been a reliable source that fed the hunger for information of tens of thousands of Spanish-speakers on issues such as immigration, healthcare and education. El Centinela served Hispanics’ need to maintain contact with their language and culture.

The Archdiocese of Portland was blessed by El Centinela, a vibrant newspaper made up of outstanding communication professionals deeply aware of the fundamental role of the newspaper as a tool of evangelization. Three times, the Catholic Media Association named it the best newspaper in Spanish of the Catholic press in the United States. Each year, the paper’s journalism received recognition for its excellence in various categories.

The impact of the closure of El Centinela is great and unpredictable. This is especially true in an age of technology when we can access millions of pieces of information with just a click, but encounter unprecedented difficulties in finding the truth. False news on social networks and the dissemination of all kinds of ideologies and worrying notions constitute a true affront to the values and principles of Catholic families.

More than a newspaper, El Centinela has been a truthful and reliable information tool and an effective instrument of evangelization in the digital sphere with an active website and a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter.

There is no doubt that the relationship between the growing Hispanic community and the Catholic Church in Oregon is now more necessary than ever and it is my hope that the local church examines the effectiveness of its communication tools in Spanish and finds new ways to reach out to the Hispanic Catholic community in Oregon.

Montana is editor of El Centinela.