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National Catholic Register Marks 90 Years of “News With Snap and Vigor”

IRONDALE, Alabama — The National Catholic Register, founded by a Colorado priest who answered a public readers’ call for a Catholic newspaper that would cover the news of the Church and the world with authenticity, integrity and faithfulness, marked its 90th anniversary with the publication of its Oct. 29, 2017, commemorative edition.
Still thriving — with continued growth in both print circulation and digital reach — the Register was named “Newspaper of the Year” in 2017 by the Catholic Press Association.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing team of journalists on the Register staff,” stated Michael Warsaw, CEO and chairman of the board of EWTN Global Catholic Network, and also the Register’s publisher since its acquisition by EWTN in 2011. “Having a newspaper as part of the EWTN family was always a part of Mother Angelica’s wish list. And I believe the Register has not only stayed true to the original vision of its founder, Msgr. Smith, but also to the vision of the EWTN foundress.”

Msgr. Matthew Smith, then a layman, took over the Denver Catholic Register in 1913 and published the first national edition of the Register Nov. 8, 1927. In a note to readers in the first national edition, he promised that the Register would be a Catholic newspaper “with snap, vigor and courage” — one that would be “easy to read with no selfish axe to grind.” He also pledged that the paper would “always be loyal to the Church.”

Msgr. Smith, who died in 1960, expanded the Register’s reach through the creation of “the Register system” in 1929, where the Register would provide national and international news to U.S. diocesan newspapers, around which they would wrap their own broadsheet newspaper of local Catholic news. At its height in the 1950s, “the Register system” reached a circulation of 850,000.

The Frawley family acquired the Register in 1970 and moved it to southern California. During that time, the organization launched the careers of many notable Catholics, including Francis X. Maier, the special adviser to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia; Greg Burke, the head of the Vatican Press Office; and Greg Erlandson, the president of Catholic News Service.

In 1995, the Legionaries of Christ acquired the Register and relocated the headquarters to Connecticut. During this time, the newspaper, owing to the notable pontificate of Pope John Paul II, inaugurated a new section devoted to the “Culture of Life,” which continues today.
EWTN acquired the Register from the Legionaries of Christ in 2011, and Daniel Burke, the Register’s executive director, shepherded the publication through the transition. “I am so grateful that God, in his Providence, brought us into the EWTN news family,” Burke said. “And since that day, we have never looked back. Our staff continues to form and inspire our readership with the Truth of the Catholic faith, and that readership — and the industry as a whole — continue to value those efforts.”

Backing up its 2017 “Newspaper of the Year” award, the Register has seen 100% growth in print circulation under EWTN’s patronage. Its digital reach includes more than 54,000 e-newsletter subscribers, more than 500,000 Facebook followers and more than 2 million monthly page views on the NCRegister.com website.

“The Register has always been devoted to informing its readers on the news of the day through the lens of the Catholic Church,” Warsaw stated. “Grateful to God for the opportunity to help our readers cultivate their faith for the past 90 years, we will continue to seek his guidance and strength in carrying out this important mission in the years ahead.”

The award-winning National Catholic Register (www.NCRegister.com) provides its readers with timely news reporting from across the United States, the Vatican, and around the world. As the newspaper of record for the Catholic Church in America, the Register and its online presence, NCRegister.com, have become America’s most complete and faithful Catholic news source. It is published bi-weekly, 26 issues per year. The National Catholic Register also produces Register Radio, a weekly program that airs on EWTN’s radio network.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 36th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 268 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
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