LAST ISSUE — Bernadette Gasslein holds the final issue of Celebrate! Magazine as well as the most recent Catholic Press Award the magazine received. Gasslein, the Edmonton-based editor of Celebrate!, raised the journalistic standards to a high level over her 21 years at the helm, says Novalis publisher Joe Sinasac. (WCR photo by R. Gonzalez)
Celebrate! Magazine shuts down
By Ramon Gonzalez
After more than five decades providing high-quality pastoral and liturgical resources to Catholic parishes and people in ministry, Celebrate! Magazine is shutting down due to increasing publication costs.
Originally known as Homiletic Service, the magazine was launched in 1961
on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.
“We are deeply saddened to see the end of this excellent publication
which gave so much to Catholics deeply engaged in the daily life of their
church,” said Joseph Sinasac, publishing director of Novalis. “Yet
we remain committed to developing an online alternative for serving all
those involved in the life of the church.”
In the press release Sinasac also praised the work of its Edmonton-based
editor Bernadette Gasslein for raising the journalistic standards to
a high level over her 21 years at the helm.
“Under Bernadette’s passionate leadership, the magazine won
from the Catholic Press Association and the Canadian Church Press dozens
of awards for both its content and presentation,” he said. “These
were well-deserved recognition of how hard Bernadette and her team of
writers and collaborators worked and how in tune they were with the church.”
In spite of having lost her job as editor, Gasslein is not idle. Currently
she is assisting her husband Gordon Andreiuk, an Edmonton lawyer, and
is doing some writing for an American publisher and for the Saskatchewan-based
newspaper The Prairie Messenger.
“So I’m not really out of a job,” she said over the
phone Sept. 17. “I also have a book coming out with Novalis in
early spring.” The book, which she described as an imprint of Living
with Christ, is a small 32-page book called Living with the Prayers of
Celebrate! began in 1961 as Homiletic Service, published by the Pastoral
Centre at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. It was designed to offer homilists
the new scholarship that was emerging.
In 1988 when the name was changed to Celebrate! the focus
broadened to include material for formation for all liturgical ministers
and catechists. It was described as “a magazine for catechists,
religion teachers, homilists and liturgy planners.”
In 2009 its format changed, and it became a full colour,
8.5 x 11 inch-publication, with the tag line, “The pastoral magazine with the liturgical heart,” now
dealing with all aspects of pastoral ministry.
The magazine has always been addressed to a “niche audience” in
the sense that it is designed for ordained and lay ministers, Gasslein
explained in an email interview.
“That is by nature a relatively small audience, and
it is also a difficult audience to contact because lay ministers, unless
they are on staff at parishes, change frequently.”
At last count, Celebrate! had a circulation of around 5,000.
Regular features in the magazine include material on children’s
spirituality, ministry to youth and young adults, Christian initiation,
formation for eucharist, the connection between liturgy and social justice,
catechesis and music ministry, and a special section designed for Catholic
teachers. Articles were used in lay formation programs and in many other
programs of formation.
Gasslein thinks there is a great need for “principled” publications
like Celebrate! in the church today and is sad to see the magazine close.
“People who value the Canadian voice in the life of the church will miss Celebrate!,” Gasslein said. “People in different regions could find people they knew writing in its pages.”