Persons, places and things


The mysterious Spanish letter


One longtime subscriber wrote asking why we published a letter by Bishop Martin Amos in Spanish, which she couldn’t read. No English version of the letter appeared above the Spanish letter on Page 3 (Jan. 23, 2014), so she wondered what she was missing out on.
Actually, the English version of the letter appeared on the front page; we just didn’t have room to print both the English and Spanish version there. But we overlooked a detail that seems so obvious in hindsight: a brief explanation — in English — that both letters related to the bishop’s promotion of The Catholic Messenger subscription drive!
The subscriber also worried that The Messenger was converting to a Spanish-language newspaper. I assured her that the diocesan newspaper will continue to be published in English. We also will continue to publish the bishop’s letters in both English and Spanish, at his request, and to publish a monthly page for readers whose native language is Spanish. Pastors and pastoral leaders of parishes with large numbers of Latino Catholics appreciate The Messenger’s efforts to bridge language barriers.

What would your ‘billboard’ say?
In his homily during a Catholic Schools Week Mass at Assumption High School, Davenport, Father Rich Adam asked students to consider what kind of message they would convey if they were billboards. Back at the office, I shared his question with The Messenger’s Assistant Editor Anne Marie Amacher. She offered to get answers from some students who attended the Jan. 30 Mass. You can read their thoughtful responses here.
Perusing the answers prompted me to reflect on what my billboard might say. I suspect the answer differs — depending on what I’d like to think my billboard says, and what I actually convey in my interactions with others. Ideally, my billboard would say: “We are companions on the journey; let’s continue to walk together toward union with God.” The billboard question hopefully will inspire me to be more attentive to the message I convey on a daily basis. If you’d care to share what your billboard might say, please email me at, or write to: Barb Arland-Fye, The Catholic Messenger, 780 West Central Park Ave., Davenport, IA, 52804.

Finding reason to give thanks in the Polar Vortex
While complaining about this winter’s less than heavenly temperatures to a friend living in a nursing home, I sensed God attempting to get my attention.
How blessed I am to be able to get outdoors each day: to be able to bundle up, go for a walk and see God’s handiwork in the sun rise, the glistening Mississippi River, in the white snow frosting tree branches and yards; to be able to drive to work each day instead of having to wait in an outdoor shelter for the city bus; to be able to enter a warm, cozy home with plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear and a comfortable bed on which to sleep; to be part of family who loves me; to look forward to going to work each day. I’m still looking forward to spring, but appreciate that even in the depths of winter there is much to be thankful for.


Barb Arland-Fye

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