ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — The Diocese of Rockville Centre has ended publication of The Long Island Catholic magazine and Fe Fuerza Vida, its Spanish-language newspaper.
Sean Dolan, associate publisher and director of communications for the diocese, announced the changes in an Aug. 27 news release, saying they were taking place immediately.
He told Catholic News Service Aug. 31 that the decision to close the publications marked “a sad day” for the diocese.
The moved resulted in the loss of 2.5 positions at the diocese, including the magazine’s advertising sales representative and the newspaper’s editor, Dolan said.
“We were subsidizing both the paper and the magazine for some time,” Dolan explained. “We were one of the only publications that had to generate advertising revenue and subscription income to justify that existence.”
The diocese also is “straining” financially from its October 2020 filing of a petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as it faced more than 200 lawsuits alleging sex abuse filed since New York state lifted the statute of limitations on such cases.
Bishop John O. Barres of Rockville Centre said when the case was filed that the action offered the only way to “ensure a fair and equitable outcome for everyone involved, including abuse survivors whose compensation settlements will be resolved by the courts.”
In 2019, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act to lift the statute of limitations on filing childhood sex abuse cases that previously had been “time-barred or expired.”
The new law gave survivors a year to file, but Cuomo has twice extended the deadline because of difficulties posed by the ongoing pandemic. The deadline passed Aug. 14.
The Long Island Catholic began publication as a weekly newspaper in 1962. After 50 years, it became a subscription-based magazine published 10 times a year in 2012. The new format was aimed at saving the diocese hundreds of thousands of dollars in an annual subsidy, Dolan said at the time.
The magazine had 9,000 paid subscribers and faced declining readership, Dolan said. The diocese distributed 10,000 copies of the newspaper to 54 parishes that had a Spanish language Mass until the coronavirus pandemic hit. The newspaper then transitioned to an online version.
Dolan said the closings are leading diocesan officials to look at new ways to reach Catholics in the diocese — both those who remain engaged with the church as well as those who have stopped attending Mass regularly.
The diocese also will continue to share news via its website at www.drvc.org, social media channels and the Catholic Faith Network television station.