Richard A. Sokerka
Every week, faithfully for 50 years, there has been an edition of The Beacon published to share the Good News with the people of God in the Diocese of Paterson.
For five decades, The Beacon has been the official source of this news for the Diocese of Paterson. We have shared in its mission of evangelization by providing news, information, education, a forum for discussion and guidance in matters of faith, morals and spiritual life through our pages.
From its first edition through today, The Beacon has met this weekly challenge thanks to a dedicated staff of journalists and photographers who, over the course of the last five decades, knew the importance of telling the Good News of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Paterson and the parishioners of all our parishes in every story and photo that was published.
So much has changed since the first edition of the Diocese’s very own newspaper was published. The paper was launched just after the Second Vatican Council, a time in history that was vitally important in informing Catholics of the renewal in the Church. The Council was instrumental in this renewal of the self-understanding of the Church, its inner life and its relationship to other Christian traditions, other religions and the world. Those participating in or who lived through the time of the Council felt this sense of renewal and that was reflected in the stories in the Diocese in the early years of The Beacon.
As the Church grew over the last 50 years, so did the Diocese, with an explosion of new buildings — churches, schools, high schools and parish centers — as the Catholic faith spread to every nook and cranny of the Diocese in Passaic, Morris and Sussex counties. And The Beacon was right there to be the source of these stories and to spread the Good News.
Now fast forward to 2017. The way information and news is shared has changed radically, and in many cases, not for the best. There is a proliferation of internet websites, smartphones and social networking sites, all of which scream for our attention every second of the day. They have scrambled the news into bits and pieces in such a fashion that most of us don’t know who or what to believe.
Sadly, this type of news reporting has led to a new term: “fake news” — stories that some claim are only filled with untruths.
Chances are great that you have heard this term used more frequently. So where can one find the truth? Well, the fact that you are holding this newspaper in your hands speaks volumes that at least for Catholic news, you know the source of where to find the timeless truths and tenets of your Catholic faith. And in this busy world of ours, this important information can also be found in The Beacon’s online presence at www.rcdop.org, which adds yet another element to the evangelizing efforts of our Diocese.
As we celebrate our golden anniversary, rest assured that we will continue to use our journalistic skills in concert with today’s high-tech tools to help bring messages of faith, hope, love and charity that will continue to inspire us and make us proud as Catholics in the Diocese of Paterson, which our publisher, Bishop Serratelli, always refers to as “the best Diocese in the state!”
The staff at The Beacon realizes the great tradition that has been passed down to us from the founders of this newspaper. We consider it a great privilege to continue that tradition and are fully aware of responsibility placed on us in making sure the Good News comes into your home each week.
On this golden anniversary we ask for your prayers and support, so that we can continue our mission, in print and on ever-growing digital platforms, so the truth and tenets our Catholic faith can be spread far and wide and that our stories of faith will inspire others to come to know and be part of the one, true Church, founded by Jesus Christ.