History of AmericanCatholic.org
AmericanCatholic.org is the Web site of St. Anthony Messenger Press, published by the Franciscan friars of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Ohio. We and our predecessors have been publishing St. Anthony Messenger magazine for Catholics across the United States since 1893. You can see a short illustrated history of our many evangelization efforts.
We started online at AmericanCatholic.org 10 years ago after it became clear to us print, audio and video creators that the Internet was going to become a powerful tool for evangelization. We were early, when there were relatively few Internet users, and many considered the Internet a passing fad. We’re happy to report otherwise!
Our first site, AmericanCatholic.org, sought to demonstrate that people could read magazine content, as well as order books and other evangelizing products online. We came onto the Web in April of 1996, after about six months’ development work. Within that year, we started our first e-newsletter (we didn’t call it by that name back then!) to encourage newly emerging parish Web sites to link to our pages. Our listing of pet blessings along with related articles and prayers, in 1996, was an early effort to use the site in this way.
Things aren’t essentially different 10 years later. We've added lots of news features, redesigned the site three times to make it more attractive, inclusive and easier to use, and kept growing our e-mail lists to spread the Good News in this growing medium. And we developed several different Web sites to serve emerging needs. Here are some highlights:
-AmericanCatholic.org [including catalog]
In addition to the many on the St. Anthony Messenger staff who contribute in a variety of ways, here are the core team members who create and maintain our Web site and e-newsletters:
John Feister, Editor
Our online marketing group, including Chuck Blankenship and John Koize, has worked hard to help our visitors connect with many useful products from St. Anthony Messenger Press, including Servant Books and Franciscan Communications videos.
Four other people who have contributed mightily to this effort are Chato Villa, who served on the team for 8 pioneering years; Barbara Kolbe Baker, whose contractual services help us to reach the masses through smart promotion; Rich Lewis, a programmer who contributed many key technical innovations in our early years; and Mark Clark, a programmer who helped establish our online catalog and advertising systems.
None of this was worth anything without the literally millions of visitors who have used our sites over the past decade. It is for you that our entire team does its ministry—to help you to enliven and deepen your faith. Thanks for being with us along the way!