Happy New Year! And indeed, for all of us here at The Word Among Us, this is a very new year. As you know, our founding publisher, Joe Difato, retired last month, so I want to share a few thoughts to honor Joe.
Joe had been touched deeply by the Lord while he was in college, and he wanted to share that experience with as many people as he could. So in December 1981, he introduced the first issue of The Word Among Us. What began with 1,000 copies of that first issue, grew to reach more than 700,000 Catholics in 100 countries. Every time we marveled at these numbers, Joe was always quick to remind us that it was the result of the Holy Spirit taking our natural skills and blessing them far beyond what any of us could have expected.
More than anything else, Joe has always wanted to please the Lord in everything he does. He was never one to let a single issue go to press until he was certain that it would help our readers draw closer to Jesus and welcome his Holy Spirit into their hearts.
Each of us here at The Word Among Us has been blessed to have shared our journey of faith with Joe. I have known him for more than forty years and worked with him here at The Word Among Us since 1990. Our editorial director, Leo Zanchettin, has worked with Joe for even longer, beginning in 1986. Susan Heuver, our managing editor, and Patricia Mitchell, our content editor, have each been with us for more than twenty years. So while Joe will no longer be serving as publisher, you can be sure that his faith, his voice, and his love for the Lord will continue to influence everything we write. This may be a very new year for us, but it is also a continuation of everything that The Word Among Us has stood for since the beginning.
A New Year. As we begin 2019, I want to invite all of us to renew our commitment to seeking the Lord in daily prayer and daily Scripture reading. Fifteen minutes in his presence can make a huge difference in our lives. In these few minutes, Jesus can bring peace to our anxious hearts. He can help heal and strengthen our relationships. He can teach us how to serve him better in our families, in our parishes, and in our communities. Even the most mundane prayer can bring us in touch with heaven!
So in this new year, let me join you in committing myself to seeking the Lord in daily prayer. I may miss a day or two at times, but I’ll keep striving to come to the Lord. And every morning I will be blessed knowing that I am joined by all of you.