Dominican Sisters to hold  retreat

The Dominican Sisters of Peace invite single, Catholic women ages 18 to 45 to attend a free “Come and See” Vocation Discernment Retreat, March 17-19.

Participants can experience Dominican prayer and community with the sisters and explore the possibility of a call to religious life. 

The retreat begins 4:30 p.m. March 17 at the Motherhouse, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, Ohio. Limited travel scholarships are available. Registration or information: email; call/text Sister June Fitzgerald at 570-336-3991; or view website 

Editor feels rush of emotion over Exponent’s last issue

With a rush of emotion, I write my final column for the Catholic Exponent.

The Exponent and I actually go way back. When I was in fifth grade I began selling subscriptions to the Exponent as part of the “Student Crusade” that the Exponent sponsored for years – whereby students in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs were encouraged to sell Exponent subscriptions for a 30-cents commission.

My involvement with the Exponent was not strictly monetary. I read cartoons that the Exponent published at the time, movie ratings and reviews – and other features. I started watching “Star Trek” after an Exponent columnist, Father Andrew Greeley, wrote positively  about the sci-fi series. As I got older, I read more of the Exponent for the news as well as for a feature on popular songs – with the lyrics listed and the songs reviewed.

While I was in college I decided to pursue journalism as a career. My first job was with the Niles Daily Times, a tiny newspaper that served Niles and surrounding communities in Trumbull County. After I spent a year with the Niles Times, then-Exponent editor Denny Finneran, one of the finest Christian gentlemen I’ve ever known, offered me a job with the diocesan newspaper. I saw it as a good short-term opportunity. I never imagined a career in the Catholic press but it turned out to be a way to combine two of my passions – journalism and the Church

I joke about how I started working for the Exponent “100 years ago” but it was a different era. The Exponent, like some other newspapers at the time, were still using typewriters rather than computers.  Photographers – and reporters taking pictures – used a camera with film that required no small amount of adjusting. At the bottom of our stories, reporters wrote the number, “30,” to indicate for the printer that the story was at the end. 

Much changed but I always felt that the essentials remained the same. We set out to cover a story and did our best to present it to the readers in an honest, objective, informative, and engaging manner. The focus was never on us, but rather on the people we wrote about and what they had to say.

I remember many of the stories I covered. A priest I recently interviewed spoke movingly about how people trust priests and invite them into the sacred moments of their lives – the joyous, the sorrowful, the painful. Though reporters are not in the same category as priests, I’ve been amazed at how many people trust reporters with their stories. I’ve always regarded it as a sacred trust that I strove to honor.

I also remember the people with whom I worked. Denny Finneran was a treasured friend who taught me so much. Not that Denny and I didn’t have our innings as two strong-willed individuals who didn’t always agree, but we stayed friends for a long time – more than a quarter-century after I left the Exponent.  Joanne Canavan, our receptionist and editorial assistant, was like an Irish maiden aunt – and I already had three, but she was a great one. Ed Barmann, a former Exponent editor, worked in Cleveland for the Catholic Press Union, which oversaw the Exponent, the Cleveland Universe-Bulletin, and the Toledo Catholic Chronicle. We became good friends, too. There is circulation secretary Carole Vlosich, who is happily still working with us.  I also value my association with others on the staff during my tenure.

In 1986, I moved to Long Island, N.Y., to serve as senior reporter for The Long Island Catholic, then the largest diocesan newspaper in the country. Those were good years professionally and personally  –  especially when you consider it was where I met the one great love of my life, Mary, my dear bride, and where we began raising our lads. Providence however brought me back to Youngstown in 2013 as Exponent editor, which have also been good years.

  Again, I valued my associations with those on our staff – most of whom have been cited elsewhere in this final edition. They not only made my job easier, but also possible.

I also appreciate our bishop/publishers. I had a long and supportive association with Bishop James Malone and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. I haven’t worked as long with Bishop David Bonnar but I appreciate all that he has done for the Exponent and for our staff. I have high praise for Msgr. Robert Siffrin, who oversaw our staff, and I am grateful for many of the diocesan chancery staff who made our job easier.

I thank all of our readers for their support. I appreciate all those who called to speak to me through the years – even the few who called to complain.

I will miss this job and ask for your prayers as I discern the next stage after the Exponent finishes up.


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Catholic Echo Staff

Catholic Echo Staff

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