Founded in 1922 as the Catholic Truth Society of Oregon, Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Our mission is “to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all, primarily through the publication of the highest-quality worship programs, spiritually enriching music and the diocesan newspaper for the State of Oregon.” That last part will only be true for a few more days. Back in July, the Archdiocese of Portland and OCP decided to end El Centinela and the Catholic Sentinel by Oct. 1.

As a not-for-profit ministry, OCP does not have an owner. I may be the current publisher, but I am only one in a line of people God has called to lead this great company for a limited time. All of us who are blessed to be employees of OCP are temporary stewards, doing our best to serve the parishes, music ministries, church musicians and others who depend on our music and other resources. As publisher of OCP, I participated in a long process of prayerful discernment with my leadership team, Archbishop Alexander Sample, and his leadership team prior to making the joint decision. So I understand the reasons why the papers are ending, which have been outlined elsewhere.

But I am also a member of a local parish, and a member of this archdiocese. I attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. And I read the Catholic Sentinel. My family and I look forward to each issue. We depend on it to remain connected to Archbishop Sample, our fellow Catholics, Mount Angel Abbey, Catholic Charities, CYO, and other parishes and ministries throughout the archdiocese. The paper makes us feel part of the family, this diverse, West Coast, rag-tag bunch of sinners all striving, by the grace of God, to follow Christ, live out the Gospel, and become the saints he calls us to be, right here in the glorious backdrop of western Oregon.

I love this place, this people, and the newspapers. There is a surprisingly rich and strong Catholic community here, with beautiful, historic abbeys and religious communities, the University of Portland, OCP (the leading Catholic music publisher in the nation), and, until now, two of the best Catholic newspapers in the country. There is much we can be proud of.

The papers did a wonderful job of telling our story, the story of these colorful, holy people and this unique place, for 152 years. They did it with compassion, balance, humor, grace, and unflinching love for and faithfulness to our church. For me personally, the ending of the papers is a source of grief. And as we all know, grieving is a process with various phases and an uncertain pace and timeline. It is the end of an era.

In our grieving, we pray and even celebrate. We turn in prayer to our loving God, who draws good from all things. We pray especially for those losing their jobs due to the shutdown of the papers. But we also celebrate and give thanks for the rich legacy of the papers, and the many blessings that have sprung from them, by the grace of God, including vocations, conversions, deepened faith, and stronger, more loving communities.

May the seeds planted by the good people at El Centinela and the Catholic Sentinel — those current staffers, those from 152 years ago, and all in between — bear rich fruit, for the glory of God and the good of this beloved archdiocese, now and forever. Amen. Saint Francis de Sales, patron of the Catholic press, pray for us!

Wisler is publisher of Oregon Catholic Press.