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first issue of Saint Anthony Messenger
The first issue of St. Anthony Messenger, the forerunner of St. Anthony Messenger Press, was published on June 1, 1893, by the Franciscan friars of Cincinnati as a monthly publication for secular Franciscans.

Over the years it has developed into a successful magazine for Catholics nationwide. Today it goes out to more than 350,000 subscribers across the country and around the world.

Among the major influences to affect its pages was the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). In the mid-60's St. Anthony Messenger began to reflect the new outlooks of that Council.

The Beginning of St. Anthony Messenger Press

In 1970, in the wake of Vatican II, St. Anthony Messenger expanded into St. Anthony Messenger Press. The religious development of Catholics was certainly high on its list of goals. Popular religious books began coming off the press, as well as publications like Catholic Update and Homily Helps—all under the St. Anthony Messenger Press logo.
The beginning of St. Anthony Messenger PressThe first issue of Catholic Update appeared in March of 1973. Its purpose was to meet the needs of parish adult education in the post-Vatican II Church. Its four-page popular handout format was designed for easy distribution at Sunday Mass.

Catholic Update helped explain the changes that were sweeping over the Church after the Council, especially those affecting the Mass and the other sacraments. For example, the Catholic Update “How to Go to Confession Using the New Ritual” by Leonard Foley, O.F.M., has sold over 2.7 million copies since its first publication in 1976.

Father Foley, who died in 1994, was St. Anthony Messenger Press's most popular writer. His best-selling book Believing in Jesus—A Popular Overview of the Catholic Faith, has sold over 400,000 copies.

Many religious educators use St. Anthony Messenger Press's ' Come and See,' an Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process that makes heavy use of Catholic Update.

In September of 1982, St. Anthony Messenger Press began publishing Youth Update and in January of 1994 Scripture From Scratch, a monthly series on biblical topics. From February of 1997 through December of 2000, St. Anthony Messenger Press helped the Church prepare for the Great Jubilee with a publication called Millennium Monthly.


Expansion Into Video:
Franciscan Communications Comes Aboard


Catholic videos In August of 1994, St. Anthony Messenger Press acquired Franciscan Communications, the well-known Franciscan media enterprise located up to that time in Los Angeles. This acquisition has added a large number of outstanding catechetical videos and other Franciscan Communications products to the St. Anthony Messenger Press shelves and catalogs.

At the very time Franciscan Communications and its materials came to St. Anthony Messenger Press and greatly expanded its product line, St. Anthony Messenger Press was already starting its own video department.

Among the new video creations recently produced by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications are six Catholic Update Videos on sacramental preparation as well as Scripture From Scratch II: The World of the Bible(16 video segments on biblical themes).


St. Anthony Messenger Press Hits the Internet

On the eve of the new millennium, St. Anthony Messenger Press has expanded its religious education outreach into cyberspace. In 1996, it established a presence on the World Wide Web through its Internet site known as AmericanCatholic.org, thus bringing the many materials of Franciscan Media to Internet audiences around the globe.

From its beginnings as St. Anthony Messenger in 1893 to its presence today on the Internet, Franciscan Media—with its print, video and audio publications—has contributed richly to the spiritual life of this country.

Expansion of our book line: Servant Books Acquired


The beginning of St. Anthony Messenger Press September 30, 2003 — St. Anthony Messenger Press, a 110-year-old Catholic publisher, announces it has acquired Charis Books, the Catholic imprint of Servant Publications of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"Both presses have the same mission of communicating the gospel in a popular way," said St. Anthony Messenger Press Publisher Rev. Jeremy Harrington, O.F.M. "We will continue to publish new books in the Charis line and build on the important legacy of Servant Publications and Charis Books. We look forward to working with the talented authors of Charis Books."

St. Anthony Messenger Press a member of the Association of Catholic Publishers and the Catholic Press Association, will handle all operations for the Charis imprint in its Cincinnati offices and warehouse.

A Million Thanks to You!
All of us at St. Anthony Messenger Press—the Franciscan friars of Cincinnati and their many co-workers—are very grateful to so many of you who over the years in various ways have supported and participated in our ministry of “communicating the Word that is Jesus Christ.” We thank you sincerely and we ask God to bless you abundantly.

How to Reach Us
If you would like to subscribe to St. Anthony Messenger or receive information on our print, video or audio products, write or call us at:

Franciscan Media
28 W. Liberty St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Toll-free number (U.S. only): 1-800-488-0488





Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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