Landmark Volume 50 of The Message starts … now

By Tim Lilley

Did you notice one of the numbers at the top of the front page this week? This is the first issue of Volume 50 of The Message. We begin the 50th year of Southwest Indiana’s Catholic Community Newspaper with this issue.

Our formal celebration will begin this time next year – after we have completed 50 years of publication. We are already talking about ways we can look back across the years while continuing to bring you all the news you need from across the diocese. It will be a fun celebration.

For now, let’s look back at the landmark first issue of The Message, published Oct. 2, 1970. News of the day included:

  • A front-page announcement that Bishop Francis R. Shea had designated Oct. 4 as a “Day for Rededication to Mary” in all the churches of the diocese. “The sermons will be preached on this theme Sunday, and a letter from Bishop Shea will be read at all Masses.”
  • and Mrs. Henry J. Halter of Vincennes celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary Sept. 27 at St. John in Vincennes.
  • Bishop Shea named Father Joseph Ziliak pastor of St. Nicholas Parish in Santa Claus. He would continue as vice-rector and instructor at Magister Noster Latin School in Evansville, editor of The Message and diocesan director of communications.
  • In a letter to the people of the diocese, Bishop Shea wrote, “We ask your prayers for the success of our diocesan newspaper.”
  • Sports columnist Don White previewed a big high school football game set for that evening: “And now the moment of truth. Unbeaten Rex Mundi and Mater Dei, beaten only once in four games, go at it Friday night at Reitz Bowl. Are we looking at a game which could wind up deciding the city and Southern Indiana Athletic Conference titles?” Editor’s note – Rex Mundi shut out the Wildcats 28-0.
  • Holy Cross Brother Richard Couture would be the keynote speaker at the Oct. 4 Diocesan Youth Convention in Ferdinand.
  • Bishop Shea named Father Kenneth Knapp the diocesan director of the Campaign for Human Development. Father Knapp also was serving as associate director of Catholic Charities.
  • Meinrad Seminary had become the second-largest seminary in the U.S. Editor’s note – the story does not say who’s No. 1.
  • Carolyn Arvin wrote that religion classes for students in grades 1-12 were beginning in the Loogootee area.
  • Active Evansville layman Bill Short, 43, died the week of Sept. 21. He was a daily communicant at St. Mary Parish downtown, and he was active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus, Te Deum International and the Serra Club.
  • Meinrad Archabbey celebrated the 100th anniversary of its elevation to abbey in September.

To paraphrase the late CBS News anchor and TV news icon Walter Cronkite: That’s the way it was, according to the Oct. 2, 1970, issue of The Message – Vol. 1. No. 1.