By Becky Aubut
FALL RIVER, Mass. — When word came down that The Anchor was losing its principal funding after a new diocesan assessment was being implemented to help with “the operations of the diocese’s central administration which supports all diocesan parishes and institutions,” the staff at the paper had only a few months to generate cost-saving ideas before the January 1 deadline, when all mandatory income from diocesan parishes would cease.
We broke the news to our readers in the Nov. 13, 2015 edition, and put inside that week’s issue an insert to make a donation, renew a subscription or to become a new subscriber. The initial response was positive, with more than 2,000 inserts being mailed back to us with a blend of renewals and donations, some with uplifting comments from subscribers offering their support and well wishes for paper. The staff at The Anchor felt the love and encouragement, and thanks everyone wholeheartedly for sending back those inserts.
However, the return of those initial inserts has trickled down in numbers to only a few. The Anchor’s circulation falls between 18,000–22,000 subscribers, and having so few returned will not help keep the paper running. We need to hit those circulation numbers by April in order to continue to be a viable paper.
In the past, parishes would pay for subscriptions for some of its parish members, but it is important to note: parishes will no longer be paying for subscriptions; so for those already receiving The Anchor but haven’t yet sent in their renewal, the paper will stop being delivered in April.
During these last few months, the staff at The Anchor has also been doing its part in cutting back in expenses. We have begun to publish bi-weekly along with renegotiating our printing fees; correspondents are no longer writing for the paper; an advisory board has been formed; a “Go Fund Me” page has been created; and diocesan ministries and organizations have offered their help, including Holy Cross Family Ministries in Easton, the Knights of Columbus and the Massachusetts Chapters of the Catholic Order of Foresters in Massachusetts.
While living in an age where the Internet has become the go-to source of information, some may question the need for a printed newspaper. The Anchor is not just any printed newspaper, but a comprehensive source of information for Catholics of the Fall River Diocese, from local reporting within the borders of the diocese to international coverage of the Vatican and beyond.
The Anchor connects all five deaneries — Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Attleboro and Cape Cod and the Islands — with inspirational and faith-filled stories that are often overlooked by secular papers. The paper helps highlight individuals living in the Fall River Diocese, who are working hard to live the Gospel with their actions, and those stories often motivate others to do the same. Recent articles include the newly-relocated St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Buzzards Bay that brought awareness to helping families in need on the Cape, while an article on the House of Possibilities in Easton showed how a mother’s journey to find assistance for her special-needs son brought forth the birth of an entire facility designed to support families with special-needs children.
The Anchor also covers the youth in the diocese, from Faith Formation programs to events being held at the diocesan schools. A recent article underlined how diocesan students achieved higher than the national average in SAT scores, while the paper’s youth pages show photos of Catholic students doing community service, listening to guest speakers, participating in classroom projects and receiving awards for academic achievements or volunteer service.
Columnists continue to volunteer their time to writing columns, with routine favorite Father Tim Goldrick filing “The Ship’s Log” on a regular basis and offering a comedic spin on priesthood, while former executive editor of The Anchor and current member of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, Father Roger Landry, offers a more academic view on the Gospel in his column, “Putting Into the Deep.” The Anchor also ties the deaneries together with the written word from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., most notably during Easter and Christmas.
If you’re a priest, please let your parishioners know about The Anchor from the pulpit and bulletin; The Anchor features all the Good News your parish does, let your congregation know that news from the paper is good. Want an easy fund-raiser for your Faith Formation program? Purchase a bundle and have students sell the paper at Mass. Looking for a project for students to do in their community? Raise money and purchase subscriptions for homebound parishioners, or a bundle for an area nursing home.
We have included an insert in this edition; a yearly subscription is only $20.
The Anchor makes a great gift; where else can you get reliable Catholic news on diocesan events than through your diocesan paper? If you lose the insert, don’t worry — we will regularly have an order form in the paper (see below) itself that you can print out and mail in. You can also subscribe through our webpage: www.AnchorNews.org. Please support The Anchor today!