Brothers and sisters in Christ,
In May of 2021, when Cardinal Burke and Father Check offered me the position of Director of Communications for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Crosse, Wisconsin, one of my first proposals to His Eminence, Father Check, and the Board of Directors was the establishment of a monthly newsletter called Salve—a word that begins the Salve Regina prayer and is also a traditional greeting that means Hail! Once approved, the Salve Newsletter began to provide our Shrine community with messages and updates from the Shrine grounded in truth, goodness, and beauty. Throughout 2022, my team persevered in the monthly publication of Salve; and each month, many of you responded with gracious comments and generous support. For this, all of us at the Shrine offer our inexpressible gratitude.
But Salve was just one avenue of communication open to the Shrine. Much of the next few months were spent investigating all the ways the Shrine receives and sends information. My investigation produced two results. The first result was that, in order to improve the Shrine’s efforts at communications, a major upgrade to the Shrine’s IT would be necessary. The second result was that, after I recommended this IT upgrade to the Shrine’s Executive Committee, they made me the Director of IT also.
The IT upgrades that I recommended were approved at the Shrine’s Board of Directors meeting in December of last year. These upgrades will be implemented throughout 2023. Some you might not notice, since they’ll be “under the hood”; others you’ll notice more immediately, such as three donation kiosks, free Pilgrim WiFi, a mobile app for digital pilgrimages, and new websites for the Flores Mariae Gift Shop and Marian Catechist Bookstore. These upgrades are very exciting! And all of us at the Shrine hope that you will share in our excitement.
However, the downside is that, for this necessary and important project which will be beneficial for numerous departments, some funds needed to be reallocated. So, for 2023 and 2024, it will be necessary to publish Salve quarterly, instead of monthly. You’ll be receiving your Salve in the second month of every quarter. You will receive the first quarterly publication in the first week of February. The second issue will arrive in the first week of May, the third issue in the first week of August, and the fourth issue of Salve in the first week of November.
This news may come as a disappointment to some of you. The decision was not made lightly, but through much prayer and discernment about the most prudent decision for the good of the Shrine and her pilgrims.
This news, however, does not mean that Salve will never go back to being a monthly publication. As the next two years progress, we will, in the same spirit of discernment and prayer, assess if funds are available for the Shrine to return, one day, to a monthly publication.
Until that time, I and my coworkers in Christ at the Shrine thank you profoundly for your ongoing prayers and support.
Benedicat tibi Dominus.
Director of Communications & IT