Our Sunday Visitor
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2010)|
Our Sunday Visitor is a Roman Catholic publishing company in Huntington, Indiana, which prints the American national weekly newspaper of that name, as well as numerous Catholic periodicals, religious books, pamphlets, catechetical materials, inserts for parish bulletins and offertory envelopes. Founded in 1912 by Father John F. Noll, the newspaper Our Sunday Visitor was the most popular Catholic newsweekly of the twentieth century.
Father John Francis Noll, later bishop of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a small town priest who, having grown weary of anti-Catholic literature, and especially a widely circulated anti-Catholic paper called The Menace, decided to print a parish bulletin. The first issue of Our Sunday Visitor, numbering 35,000 copies, was dated May 5, 1912. A year later, the circulation of the paper had reached 160,000 copies, far beyond Father Noll's parish. Shortly after World War I, the circulation had grown to 500,000 copies.
The initial focus of Our Sunday Visitor was to combat anti-Catholicism, help Catholics preserve their identity, teach Catholics about their faith, and combat social injustice. A column Father Noll started in 1912, called "Father Smith Instructs Jackson", was later collected into a popular book which sold millions of copies and is still in print.
On March 30, 1913, the paper offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who could prove the anti-Catholic charges laid against the Church. No one ever claimed the reward.
In the 1930s, Our Sunday Visitor focused on how Catholics could preserve their faith in a secular society. During the 1940s, Bishop Noll's newspaper took positions against birth control, divorce, and indecent literature and movies.
During the Cold War, the paper stepped up its attacks on Godless communism and warned Catholics away from joining communist groups. The fortieth anniversary issue of Our Sunday Visitor, published on May 4, 1952, carried a banner headline that read, "They Do Not Want God in Our Schools: Secular Trend is Certain to Bring Disaster."
After Archbishop Noll's death, the paper continued to be produced, and in 1961 its circulation was more than one million. Today, Our Sunday Visitor has a full publishing wing which publishes books, religious educational materials, and other media. The company expanded by purchasing Harcourt Religion in 2009.
In July 2012, the Sunday Visitor was selected by the Vatican as the exclusive distributor of the North American English edition of the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano (The Roman Observer).
- Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company
- Founding of the Our Sunday Visitor, CatholicHistory.net
- To Serve the Church: The Story of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company
- John Francis Noll, Father Smith Instructs Jackson: Centennial Edition. Our Sunday Visitor, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59276-445-7
- A New Day in Catechesis – Our Sunday Visitor Acquires Harcourt Religion Publishers from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, PRWeb, June 5, 2009.
- Vatican newspaper begins new distribution deal in US in bid to broaden subscriber base, Washington Post, July 25, 2012.