On May 6, 2020 the Catholic News celebrated its 128th anniversary. The Catholic News is the oldest paper in Trinidad and Tobago, the second-oldest in the region and with an archive dating back to its inception in 1892. Every issue of the Catholic News since then has been compiled and according to Dr Kwynn Johnson, Catholic News leads the way in archiving and preservation.
On the front page of the first issue in 1892—the editor then was Charles Williams—questions and responses of many to the new paper were recorded:
“A new paper! Why was it published? How will it be conducted? What are the principles it will advocate? Will it succeed or fail as many like enterprises before? How long will it last?”
That article expressed succinctly the underlying aim of the paper, “First of all the Catholic News is intended to supply a want long felt, in providing the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, with a newspaper of their own.”
128 years on, the paper endures, with only two occasions when it did not go to print —in 1990 for one weekend during the attempted coup. The second occasion is a rather amusing story as told by one of our longest-standing members of staff, Mary Pitman, Advertising Officer who began as a typesetter.
In the 1980s, the days of typesetting, the 16 pages of articles were cut and paste onto bromide sheets, placed in a large box labelled ‘Catholic News’ and sent to the Trinidad Express for printing. Cleaners in the Express building accidentally threw out the box. The Production Manager and Traffic Supervisor at the time went to the Port of Spain ‘labasse’ to dig through the trash to find the box! They didn’t.
COVID-19 has brought its challenges to the world, and of course to the paper as well. With all of us now working from home, the Editorial team during this period has persevered to bring out the paper every week despite the limitations. We have also made the jump to digital, with the introduction of the E-Paper available via subscription online.
Now more than ever though, we need your support. With circulation at only 40 per cent since the closure of churches, we are determined to ensure this legacy, of which all can be proud, is maintained. The paper is available in outlets from Tuesdays, with a home delivery service also available. Visit www.catholictt.org or call 623-7620 to see which option is best for you. Together, we can keep our Catholic voice strong!
Here are a few articles from our 125th anniversary: