as had 9 publishers. Here’s a look at each of them:
Archbishop Patrick Feehan was born in Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829 and ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1852. He was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, in 1865 and made the first archbishop of Chicago in 1880.
Twelve years later, he established the New World, the archdiocesan newspaper. A pastoral letter from all the bishops of Illinois was printed on the front page of the first issue. It explained that the Third Plenary Council in Baltimore called for each diocese in the United States to form their own newspaper to tell the church’s story directly to its people.
The bishops wrote, “In the state of Illinois there are not less than seven hundred thousand Catholics, and a newspaper which represents their religious faith and interests, which defends their rights, which gives voice to their aspirations, will be looked upon by them as a general blessing.” Archbishop Feehan died July 12, 1902.
Archbishop James Quigley succeeded Archbishop Feehan. Born in Oshawa, Ontario, in 1854, he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, in 1879 and became bishop of that diocese in 1897. He was named archbishop of Chicago in January 1903.
Archbishop Quigley named the first priest-editor, Father Thomas Judge, in 1905. He edited the paper for three years before handing it back to a series of laymen: Charles O’Malley, who served as editor from 1902 to 1905, took the reins until his death in 1910, and was followed by Thomas O’Hagan, Frederick Happel and James Conwell. In 1913, Archbishop Quigley appointed Father (later Msgr.) Thomas Shannon, who held the post until 1935, 20 years after Archbishop Quigley’s death.
Shannon and Father C.F. Donovan “edited a Catholic newspaper well-regarded in the field of journalism” during the years of World War I, according to “A History of the Institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
Cardinal George Mundelein succeeded Archbishop Quigley as the Archdiocese of Chicago gained national and international prominence. Born in New York in 1872, Cardinal Mundelein was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1895. He became an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn in 1909 and was named archbishop of Chicago in 1915. He was created a cardinal in 1924, becoming Chicago’s first cardinal archbishop.
When Shannon resigned, Cardinal Mundelein named Father Timothy Rowan, who had been serving as managing editor, to the top post. Rowan anonymously wrote the “Big Broadcast” front-page column that commented on news of the world, including the Spanish Civil War.
Cardinal Mundelein died in 1939, and was succeeded by Cardinal Samuel Stritch.
Cardinal Stritch was born in Nashville in 1887 and ordained a priest of the Diocese of Nashville in 1910. He was named bishop of Toledo, Ohio, in 1921; archbishop of Milwaukee in 1930; and archbishop of Chicago in 1939. He was made a cardinal in 1946.
Cardinal Stritch appointed Father Edward Dailey, who had worked for the paper since 1936, editor in 1940 and launched several initiatives to boost circulation, including a speakers bureau, which sent priests out to preach about the value of The New World. Perhaps the most effective move was the establishment of the Children’s Crusade, in which Catholic schoolchildren went door to door selling subscriptions. By the early years of World War II, circulation topped 112,000.
Following the war, Joseph Kozak became managing editor and increased sports coverage, writing under the byline “Dan Dugout.” In the early 1950s. Kozak and R. Jack Frost started publishing their “All-Catholic All-American” high school football and basketball teams.
After Cardinal Stritch died in 1958, Cardinal Albert Meyer was appointed. Cardinal Meyer was born in Milwaukee in 1903 and ordained a priest there in 1926. He was appointed bishop of Superior, Wisconsin, in 1946, and archbishop of Milwaukee in 1953. He was named archbishop of Chicago in 1958 and made a cardinal in 1959.
The New World covered the events of the Second Vatican Council closely, sending several staff members to Rome in the early 1960s to cover the proceedings. Cardinal Meyer died in 1965 and was succeeded by Cardinal John Cody.
Cardinal Cody was born in St. Louis in 1907, and ordained a priest in 1931 and appointed an auxiliary bishop in 1947 in that archdiocese. He was appointed coadjutor bishop of St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1954; bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph in 1956; coadjutor to the archbishop of New Orleans in 1961; archbishop of New Orleans in 1964; and archbishop of Chicago in 1965.
In 1966, Cardinal Cody approved the implementation of the “complete parish coverage” plan, which aimed to get the paper in every Catholic household. For a time, it lifted the circulation of The New World to 403,000.
The paper’s editor had been a priest from 1915 to 1969, when Floyd Anderson, the director of the National Catholic News Service, was appointed. He changed the paper’s format from broadsheet to tabloid and added a feature section with columnists and entertainment news, including play and movie reviews. By the time Anderson retired in 1976, the paper’s paid circulation had shrunk to less than 70,000. He was succeeded by A.E.P. “Ed” Wall, under whose leadership the paper was redesigned and renamed the Chicago Catholic. By 1980, with the strong support of Cardinal Cody, priests and many lay organizations, circulation had grown to about 170,000.
Cardinal Cody died in 1982 and was succeeded by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
Cardinal Bernardin was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1928 and ordained a priest in 1952. He was named auxiliary bishop of Atlanta in 1966, archbishop of Cincinnati in 1972 and archbishop of Chicago in 1982. He was made a cardinal in 1983.
The paper went through a succession of editors after Wall retired in 1984 — Robert L. Johnston, Providence Sister Cathy Campbell, Michael Behr, Jesuit Father Thomas Widner, and — as editor pro tem for 18 months — Mary Claire Gart — before the death of Cardinal Bernardin in 1996. It also resumed its former name, the New World, in 1989.
Cardinal Francis George, born in Chicago in 1937, was ordained a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1963. He was named bishop of Yakima, Washington, in 1990; archbishop of Portland, Oregon, in 1996; and archbishop of Chicago in 1997. He was made a cardinal in 1998.
He hired Tom Sheridan as editor and general manager in 1997, a position Sheridan held until 2006. He was succeeded by Joyce Duriga as editor in 2007. Cardinal George retired in November 2014, when Cardinal Blase Cupich was installed.
Cardinal Cupich was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1949 and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He was named bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998, and bishop of Spokane, Washington, in 2010. He was elevated to cardinal in 2016.
Under Cardinal Cupich, the paper was redesigned in January 2017 and became, once again, Chicago Catholic. The paper completely redesigned its website six months later.
When Father Ryszard Gron, pastor of St. William Parish, asked Aida Rodriguez to be the parish’s evangelization lead, she wasn’t sure she was the right person for the job.
In celebration of our 125th anniversary, the staff of Chicago Catholic asked several former editors about their years here. Here is what they had to say.
Nearly 50 years ago, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “weighed upon the conscience of the world.” That was the headline on the cover of the April 12, 1968, issue of The New World.