As we begin 2010 at the National Catholic Register, we count our reasons for hope. And you are one of those reasons.

We have taken some painful steps to ensure that our media apostolate is sustainable, even though the Register will be struggling for the foreseeable future. This is no small trust, given the seismic shakeout of the newspaper industry and the dismaying crunch of the worst economy in decades.

As I write, we’ve just topped $400,000 in total donations pledged or received since our fiscal year began on July 1, 2009. (As our thermometer has shown, we got a big boost from a matching donor who doubled virtually all donations the last 12 weeks of the year.)

This early success gives us momentum as we launch into 2010 with an eye on the close of our fiscal year in June. We will need that momentum to raise substantially more over the next six months than we did the previous — the challenge we face if we are to reach the $1.1 million we need to balance our lean budget. We’ll keep you posted.

With your continuing help, I believe we can do it. Which is why I wanted to thank and honor all who have become partners in the Register’s mission. Whether by donating money, promoting subscriptions (especially by giving the Register as a gift) or simply remembering us in your prayers, you have strengthened our spirit and improved our chances in the hard fights ahead.

I wish to offer a special assurance of my most heartfelt prayers for those donors who have given to the Register while struggling to make ends meet.

Heading into this new year, I am glad to have good cause to say: Thank you, Register partners!