Handing Off the Legacy
Our publisher tells the story of the sale of the Register to EWTN.
BY FATHER OWEN KEARNS, LC
| Posted 1/24/11 at 2:01 AM
This publisher’s note was going to be very different. A draft began like this: “We are praying for a miracle. The Register’s current financial situation is so bleak that, barring the unforeseen, the next issue of the Register will be its last.”
What happened? Well, we had been praying for a miracle. What we got was a whole series of miracles, one after another, so fast-moving that some were simultaneous.
The Legion of Christ had reached the conclusion that it could no longer subsidize the Register. The decision was made in November to close the paper in December. The funds to take it into January, much less the rest of the year, were simply not there.
Within days, I received a letter from Archbishop Chaput of Denver saying that he had been approached by persons he admires who had an interest in acquiring the Register!
The “coincidences” are amazing. First, Denver is where the Register was born in 1927. Second, the archbishop’s chancellor is Fran Maier, the highly respected editor of the Register in its later years in Los Angeles. Third, the archbishop was the apostolic visitor to the Legionaries of Christ in the U.S., and so had a thorough understanding of the financial situation of the Legion, and consequently of the Register.
So, the one bishop who could best understand the Register’s “long legacy and fidelity to the Church” (his words to me) was also the one who best understood how easily that legacy could be lost. And, fourth, he also happened to be a board member of the one organization that could continue the Register’s long legacy and fidelity to the Church. Amazing.
From the first moment, negotiations with Michael Warsaw and EWTN were open and cordial and based on the Legion’s and EWTN’s desire to preserve the Register’s service for the sake of the Church.
Simultaneously, a new donor approached us who wanted to prevent a catastrophic forced shutdown of the Register. This enabled us to pay some of our debts, keep producing the Register during the month of January, and hand the paper over to EWTN’s tutelage without skipping a beat — or at least an issue. So, how many miracles is that?
I respect and admire the editors, writers, designers, staff, advertisers, vendors, donors and readers who have made the Register what it has become over these past 15 years. Together we managed to create something the Church values. Thank you. God bless you abundantly. You taught me so much!
It has been fun. I’ll miss that.
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