A WORD FROM FR. EDITOR IRENEUSZ SKUBIS
FR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ, Honoured chief editor of ‘Niedziela’
I would like to inform you that having reached the age of 75 years last year and a request addressed to the metropolitan of Czestochowa archbishop Waclaw Depo for dismissing me from the post of the chief editor of ‘Niedziela’, I am going to be its honoured editor. So, I will let myself reminisce my work on the post of the chief editor of ‘Niedziela’.
Well, I started my work 33 years ago, in 1981 from the request of bishop Stefan Barela. It was work form the basis, because apart from a small room in the previous building of the editorial office in 3 Maja street in Czestochowa, nothing of ‘Niedziela’ remained from the time of it had been suspended by the communists in 1953. My efforts to reactivate the weekly ended with success in 1981: ‘Niedziela’ received permission for edition of 100 thousand copies, we received an allotment of paper for editing 8 pages of the newspaper weekly with an indication of a printing house. The office of censorship which was obliging at that time, was in the place of printing the newspaper – it was Opole then.
I was taking over duties of the chief editor of ‘Niedziela’ with much fear. At that time Czestochowa did not have a Catholic journalistic environment – these were times of communist regime. I had been a director of the Diocesan Publishing House for years and a chief editor of the yearbook ‘Theological Studies in Czestochowa’ – it was a kind of facilitation in running the editorial office, although work on the yearbook significantly differs from the work on the weekly. It helped me a bit that I had been an academic priest for 16 years and a member of the Episcopal Commission for Academic Pastoral Ministry, that I had invited many interesting and wise people, priests and laymen to the Academic Pastoral Group, who later found their vocation in ‘Niedziela’. These are years of birth and development of ‘Solidarnosc’ movement. Our press market was narrow, although many dioceses and religious orders were striving for permission to have new press titles. ‘Niedziela’, with its big newspaper circulation, quickly became the nationwide magazine expected by Poles, although its distribution was run only by Ruch which was, in practice, an agency of the Polish United Workers’ Party and gave us difficult demands. However, we met with friendliness of many groups, also the ones which were formally communist.
My cooperation with Jasna Gora had been very friendly since the beginning – Fr. Dr. Jerzy Tomzinski OSPPE, assigned to help us, turned out to be a valuable, competent and an extremely devoted cooperator of ‘Niedziela’. He had known it during the pre-war times and served with his good advice. Many known people by me have cooperated with ‘Niedziela’, among the others, Juliusz J. Braun, the chairman of TVP now. Brave people worked for us, who were pushed onto the margin by the political system, for example, teachers removed from schools because of their opinions, among the others, Krzysztof Wielgut.
After the year 1989 and partly after free elections the situation of the Catholic press started changing, and we started functioning in a new reality. We started thinking about developing the volume of the newspaper, especially that many bishops had asked to create a diocesan supplement. We started cooperation with many dioceses, started increasing the volume of the weekly and look for new possibilities of distribution. Certainly, problems started being multiplied but at the same time the eagerness of priests and bishops was enormous. It was a beautiful and interesting time, believers were willing to but catholic newspapers. ‘Niedziela’ was developing and was becoming popular among readers and expected both in Poland and abroad.
However, after some time the situation started changing – on the medial market many new newspapers started appearing and competitiveness was growing. Today Catholic magazines seem to be pushed away into the background in the awareness of people. Many of them use their online version, slightly less people – paper version.
Today’s ‘Niedziela’ has 19 diocesan editions, we publish books in the Library ‘Niedziela’, we publish a colourful-bi-monthly ‘My Rainbow Magazine’ for children aged 4 to 8, which is very popular also among parents, grandparents and carers. ‘ Niedziela’ itself is a mature newspaper, has many faithful readers and friends, has its own editorial option. I will admit that I have always felt to be a priest on the post of the chief editor and I would like ‘Niedziela’ to maintain not only the opinion-making character, but first of all, the pastoral character, I would like it to be an ecclesiastical and patriotic newspaper.
Today I would like to thank Bishops who undertook cooperation with ‘Niedziela’, diocesan editors and priests and secular editors. Certainly, I thank you very much, Dear Friends who read our newspaper, who use our ‘Sunday’ reflections. I thank God all the time for everything which was our enrichment during these 33 years of running the weekly by me.
I address my thanks to Priests and everybody who help us to distribute ‘Niedziela’. If it had not been for you, now it would be hard for us. I ask for further help in realizing the idea which is brought by ‘Niedziela’, to inform everyone about our weekly, to promote it among believers, especially in families, to use it in pastoral ministry. After all, ‘Niedziela’ is supposed to be an additional vicar for a parish priest, for which its founder, bishop Teodor Kubina asked. Today’s times do not belong to the easy ones for the Catholic press, therefore we expect help from pastoral ministry in dioceses, so as to fulfill tasks of the Catholic magazine towards readers.
I ask the Holiest Mother, the Queen of Poland – ‘Mater Verbi’, whom we call our Main Editor, for help, so that ‘Niedziela’ could function in these difficult times for the catholic press and fulfill its tasks included in the motto: ‘For God and Homeland’.