It's not often we get the chance to witness that the work we do is worth the effort. Those of us here at National Catholic Reporter were blessed with just such an affirmation Oct. 24 in Chicago. It was there that we closed out our 50th anniversary year with a daylong conference titled "New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church."
The event, made possible through a partnership with Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., drew more than 750 participants. Four speakers entertained, enlightened and challenged the group as we looked forward to the future of the church, defined for this day as the people of God and not just those guys in Rome.
Throughout the day, those of us representing NCR at the conference chatted with members of the audience. They thanked us over and over for our work and our mission, and they told their own stories of commitment to the social teaching of Jesus Christ -- in local prisons, with local homeless programs, in schools and nursing homes.
The speakers also took the opportunity to promote the work of NCR in the last 50 years, but the biggest promotion, and most daunting call to action, came from Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister. For almost 50 minutes, Chittister called on us to "rise up and take action." She was speaking to a full auditorium, but I knew she was talking directly to me, the woman expected to lead National Catholic Reporter into the next half century.
When she finished and the ovation started to die down, I joined her on stage, where she gave me a hug that could only have been outdone by my own mother. "Go get 'em, girl," she said.
Related: NCR readers challenged to 'rise up'
We came back to Kansas City, Mo., and proceeded to wrap up the Nov. 6-19 issue as well as to fill our website with the kind of reporting on the Catholic church -- the people and the pope -- that you just won't find anywhere else.
We hope you find it in your hearts to help us with this mission, as we can't do it without funding.
In Chicago, we announced the creation of the Tom Fox Fund for Independent Catholic Journalism, to honor the work of Publisher Tom Fox, under whose leadership this organization has grown in vision and in voice. We already have received a generous opening gift of $1 million to launch this endeavor.
We will continue to let you know as the campaign for this fund takes shape, but if you'd like to add to it now, please click on the "Give Now" button in the right-hand corner at the top of any page on this site. Or you can mail it to our Advancement Office at 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., 64111.
Thank you to those of you who were able to join us in Chicago. And thank you to all of you for sticking with us for all these years and challenging us to never forget who we are and whom we serve.