e-mail us

Inside NCR

NCR on the Web: www.natcath.com/

I am pleased to announce that the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company has taken another big step into electronic publishing, opening a site on the World Wide Web: www.natcath.com/

Our intention in joining the global electronic network is to enhance our journalistic outreach while advancing NCR's mission. We are Catholic lay persons spreading a message of a justice-based, inclusive, compassionate and hope-filled church.

Last March, after much preparation by NCR layout editor Toni-Ann Ortiz, data processing manager Lis Sunderland, assistant computer technician Aaron Rodenbaugh and Sheed & Ward marketing manager Chuck Blankenship, we entered electronic publishing by opening a site on America Online (keyword: NCR). Activity on AOL has grown over the months under Rodenbaugh's careful watch.

Last week we opened the Web site. Both sites support the paper and other company endeavors, including Sheed & Ward books; Praying magazine; Credence Cassettes; Celebration, the liturgical planner; as well as our company's parish support newsletters.

The sites offer readers access to our publications as well as further means of communicating with NCR editors and other readers. Expect both to grow as we become accustomed to these new technological tools.

Granted, there is much suspicion about the world of virtual reality. Used properly, a Web site should enhance NCR readers' experiences, drawing them -- and potential readers -- further into the NCR community.

Meanwhile, many spiritual and religious-minded people find the Web a useful and friendly place to encounter like-minded souls and gain a magnificent sense of the richness of Catholic interests. Thousands of Catholic Web sites already exist on the Internet.

I find the Web particularly helpful for a global church such as ours. No longer do geographic barriers separate Catholics of particular interests, and there is no hierarchy of sites on the Web. The Vatican's home page might appear in a Web search alongside that of a Franciscan laywoman from Brazil. Lonely and isolated Catholic voices can now be heard worldwide.

However useful and interesting the Web may be, unfortunately it often is an unruly and undisciplined place to search for needed information.

While it may be self-serving, allow me to confess here that my ideas concerning the Web -- and interest in it -- have been shaped by months of work writing my newly published book, Catholicism on the Web (MIS Press Inc., 468 pages, $16.95). Catholicism on the Web provides reviews of more than 500 significant Catholic Web sites, offering personal commentary and perspective. It is now available in bookstores.

This year's Christmas cover was created by Indianapolis artist and illustrator Judy Jarrett. Her style is so airy and diaphanous that she caught the attention of religious publishers and producers. She has for several years done art work for Augsburg/Fortress Press and Liturgy Training Publications, among others, in addition to religious and other art done on commission.

National Catholic Reporter, December 20, 1996