The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced today that it is combining the resources and personnel of the archdiocesan publication, The Catholic Spirit, and the Archdiocesan Office of Communications.
The restructuring will help create a more integrated communications function committed to strengthen the Archdiocese’s communications with over 825,000 members of the Catholic Church in its twelve-county area. The changes will also more fully coordinate and expand all of the archdiocese’s print, electronic, online and video communications efforts, including increased utilization of social and emerging media.
Already a communications function serving the Archbishop, The Catholic Spirit produces bi-weekly print and e-newsletter membership publications and maintains a Web site, a blog, and a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The Archdiocese is committed to continuing these publications and communications networks.
“The Catholic Spirit is a wonderful asset to our local church and our Catholic community. We want to build on this firm foundation and keep getting better and better as we reach out to members of the Catholic Church throughout the Archdiocese,” said Sarah Mealey, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese.
New vision includes more new media
As a membership publication designed to support the Archbishop in his teaching mission within the Church, The Catholic Spirit has been seeking more cost effective ways to fulfill this mission. The changes are the culmination of nearly two years of strategic planning by The Catholic Spirit and its Board of Directors to address decreasing readership and increasing costs of print publications and increasing use of alternative media.
Mealey added, “Our vision is to dramatically expand our reach. While we remain committed to traditional forms of media such as our bi-weekly print publication, increasing our use of social and new media will help us achieve that vision, especially with younger generations who get their news and information almost exclusively from the Internet and social networks.”
As part of the restructuring, the majority of former Catholic Spirit employees will be offered positions in the new, integrated archdiocesan Office of Communications. The Archdiocese provides a thorough employment agreement called Justice in Employment that fully reflects the Catholic Church’s longstanding advocacy for the dignity of work and workers’ rights. This employment agreement, which has been in place in the Archdiocese since 1999, provides a number of features that provide extensive protections for employees. In addition, the Archdiocese provides an Office of Conciliation to assist employees in protecting their rights afforded under the Justice in Employment agreement. The Archdiocese also provides a comprehensive benefits package, including more generous coverage of health care costs than are currently available to the employees of The Catholic Spirit.
Because the restructuring creates some overlap in functions, a few employees of The Catholic Spirit will receive a severance package that is consistent with both their current employment agreement and the Catholic Church’s commitment to justice and fairness.
The new organization is expected to be in place by the end of June. The Archdiocese reports that there will be no disruption to its publications, including the bi-weekly print edition of The Catholic Spirit, which reaches 82,000 households.