A transcript is commonly understood today as a written record primarily of legal proceedings. The words spoken in court by the defendant, an attorney or judge are copied by a court recorder and a transcript is produced.
In the parlance of the 19th century, when the Diocese of Hartford’s newspaper was launched, a transcript was more broadly understood as any copy of an original. One dictionary circa the early 1900s used this as an example of how to use the word in a sentence: “The Decalogue of Moses was but a transcript, not an original.” In other words, the Ten Commandments given to Moses by the Lord on Mount Sinai were a copy of God’s laws, not the original.
Monks in the middle ages spent hours – if not lifetimes – in the abbey scriptorium copying Scripture from one parchment to another, illuminating it with drawings and illustrations, writing marginalia commentary, and all in prayerful silence immersed as they were in the Word of God.
The Catholic Transcript you are reading now is the final newspaper version of the publication to be published. Since July 1, 1898, this paper has been the primary source of Catholic news and information within our archdiocese. It started out as an eight-page weekly newspaper crammed with small black type. There were no photos, just lengthy news stories about what the pope or the bishops said. There were reports of sermons delivered by local priests, and even mentions of whom was seen attending Mass at a given church, especially if it was someone noteworthy or of social prominence. The paper ran editorials and the occasional sermon-like essay on the various hot-button issues of the day. To read The Catholic Transcript of yesteryear is to see into the Catholic Church and an archdiocese of the past.
But all that has changed, so all of this is changing. Beginning next year, The Catholic Transcript becomes a color magazine that will be published 10 times a year and mailed free of charge to more than 192,000 registered Catholic households in the archdiocese. The editorial emphasis will shift to evangelization and mission. (Editor’s Note: You’ll still be able to find timely information at the Transcript’s website, including full obituaries, coverage of local/national/international news and a calendar of events.) The new print model is called “content evangelization,” which means simply that the articles, columns and images in the magazine will be used to form people who then, we pray, will go out and share the Good News of what they have read. Less news, as we have known it, and more New Evangelization.
In the magazine’s issues you will find a mix of individual or parish faith stories, columns that relate to everyday life and news and information from Archbishop Blair and our parishes. The new Catholic Transcript is just one way we have chosen to achieve the mission Christ left us when he told his disciples to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).
Pope Francis has said that “Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization.” The Catholic Transcript is responding to the Holy Father’s call, and when the magazine arrives in your mailbox early next year, we feel assured that you will have one very important tool in the work of evangelization.
In 1983, Pope John Paul II sounded a clarion call for missionary disciples, a call that has been echoed by Pope Francis and which is the foundation for the Archdiocese of Hartford’s pastoral planning initiative. What Saint John Paul II said at the time rings true to this day. He spoke of the need for a New Evangelization, which he described as being “new in its ardour, new in its methods and new in its expression.” The implication was that the usual or “classic” evangelization was not working; something new was called for.
The Catholic Transcript coming your way early next year is our answer. We hope and pray you will be inspired by what you read so that you will go and announce the Good News to your family, your friends and your neighbors.