Very early on in the Coronavirus pandemic, journalists and newspaper publishers and distributors were designated as ‘key workers’ by the UK Government. The World Health Organisation confirmed that newspapers remain safe to read, as the printing and wrapping process is sterile, and delivery is by professional, risk-assessed services – and so newspapers are a lifeline, especially for those people who do not have access to the internet.
With strong links in our own Diocese and beyond, the Catholic Universe is one of these key providers. For 160 years, the Universe has been bringing a weekly Catholic perspective on important religious matters, news, features and current affairs across the wider world as well as from around our own parishes across the Diocese of Leeds..
Earlier this year, the Universe launched a ‘Parish Payment Plan’ scheme to provide a parish with an agreed, fixed supply of the paper over the year with just four quarterly direct debit payments – no monitoring, no returns, and no billings. It was aimed at reducing the administrative workload on parish priests and administrators as well as spreading the good news of the Catholic faith as widely as possible across the country. Many of our own parishes have taken up this offer and since we were permitted to return to church, the Universe has become available in hard-copy once more, and is being delivered to our churches in a Covid-safe way by Royal Mail and DPD.
In a further promotion, the Universe has offered parishes two weeks’ worth of free copies for those parishioners who have returned to church and may wish to take a copy home (in accordance with the guidance that although re-usable hymn books and Missals cannot currently be used, single-use papers, bulletins and other resources are permitted as long as Mass-goers take these with them as they leave church).
Bishop Marcus has highlighted the importance of ‘helping parishioners who are sick or housebound to keep in touch with the family of the Church both locally, through receiving a copy of the parish newsletter, and more widely, through receiving a copy of a weekly Catholic paper’ and has recommended as ‘a very good and commendable act of kindness and love’ any parish or individual able to sponsor free copies for that purpose.
The Catholic Universe may be contacted by telephone directly on 0161 820 5722. For those who are online, a year’s subscription to the digital edition makes a cost-effective Christmas present. To subscribe to either the print or the digital versions of the paper, please visit: https://thecatholicuniverse.com/product/universe-annual-digital-subscription/