Archbishop announces closure of The Michigan Catholic, launch of digital news service in fall

Mike Stechschulte

For 146 years, The Michigan Catholic newspaper has been honored to be a part of the fabric of the Catholic community here in southeast Michigan.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron has announced today the closure of The Michigan Catholic after our Aug. 24 issue (please find letter here). Along with this significant step, the archbishop has also announced the anticipated launch of Detroit Catholic, an online, multichannel media and news service scheduled to begin in November.

Two years ago, at Synod 16, the faithful of our local Church expressed a loud-and-clear call to proclaim far and wide the saving message of Jesus Christ. Last summer, that call culminated with the publishing of Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel, which issued a clear message to every Catholic in southeast Michigan: Evangelization is our top priority.

As the archbishop explains in his letter, this change is not an abandonment of our century-and-a-half-long dedication to Catholic news in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Rather, it will allow us to focus even more on the stories of faith, hope and love that abound in our community, telling those stories in new and innovative ways, and delivering that content to you in a more timely and engaging format.

By devoting more resources to these efforts, we aim to expand our reach by meeting more Catholics where they are, and launching, as St. John Paul II said, “into the deep” on the digital continent with stories that inform and inspire readers to give their lives more fully to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Still, we understand the magnitude of closing a publication that has been part of the Catholic landscape in southeast Michigan for so many years. The Michigan Catholic is the second-oldest newspaper in the state of Michigan, and with that rich history comes a proud heritage of Catholic journalism in our state. The newspaper’s most recent national awards from the Catholic Press Association further demonstrate a commitment to excellence that we don’t take lightly.

Unfortunately, the realities facing newspapers have not escaped us. For the past two decades, circulation has steadily declined, as costs have steadily risen. Faced with the prospect of continuing losses, and in light of our mission spelled out in Unleash the Gospel, the decision was made to undertake this transition to continue to serve you to the best of our abilities.

We understand that many of our readers cannot access the Internet, or simply prefer reading a print publication. That’s why, in addition to Detroit Catholic, plans are in the works for a separate multi-channel evangelization and faith-formation initiative early next year that will include both print and online publications geared toward helping readers to become joyful, missionary disciples.

Further updates about our digital news and publishing efforts will be forthcoming soon, and we look forward to sharing more about this with you. If you’re interested in following these developments, updates will be posted on The Michigan Catholic’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages, which will continue to publish content until Detroit Catholic launches in November. In addition, we will be communicating with our subscribers and advertisers in the coming days with more details about this transition.

Please let me express my deepest appreciation for allowing us to serve you through the years. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to stand on the shoulders of those who’ve faithfully reported Catholic news in and around the city of Detroit for 14 decades. I sincerely hope you will join us as we embark on the next chapter of this great journey.

On behalf of the great staff of The Michigan Catholic newspaper, thank you for your prayers, readership and support. The Lord has done great things in and through this publication, and we trust He will do greater things still.

Mike Stechschulte is managing editor of The Michigan Catholic newspaper.