A story of better things: Unleash the Gospel Magazine launches to inspire missionary disciples
Apr 5, 2019
Archdiocese of Detroit hopes new bimonthly publication propels local Church's missionary transformation
DETROIT — The next phase of Catholic media is filling mailboxes across the Archdiocese of Detroit, and it’s all part of a continuing mission to make and build up disciples of Jesus Christ.
Starting today, Unleash the Gospel Magazine, an all-new print periodical from the Archdiocese of Detroit, will be arriving at an estimated 90,000 homes across southeast Michigan.
The magazine is the latest effort in the archdiocese’s conversion from “maintenance to mission” in response of Synod 16 and Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s pastoral letter of the same name, which calls for the archdiocese and its parishes, schools, ministries, families and individuals to rethink how they are living out their vocation as witnesses to Jesus Christ.
Edmundo Reyes, director of communications for the archdiocese and executive editor for Unleash the Gospel Magazine, said the magazine’s launch — and the launch of a newly redesigned partner website at UnleashtheGospel.org — is part of the archdiocese’s greater plan to form and equip Catholics to carry out the saving work of Jesus in bold and creative ways.
“The new magazine is part of the way we want to engage with people in the archdiocese; it’s part of a bigger plan,” Reyes said. “Last year, we looked how we can best serve people in the archdiocese. We made a decision to create Detroit Catholic as a place to tell the stories of this missionary movement across the archdiocese in our parishes, schools and ministries.”
“From the very beginning our plan was to complement Detroit Catholic with a new print and digital faith-formation and evangelization publication,” Reyes continued. “We want the Unleash the Gospel Magazine to encourage, inspire and equip joyful missionary disciples across the archdiocese and beyond.”
More than 90,000 people, including lay faithful, clergy, and those who have supported the mission of the Archdiocese of Detroit and have contributed to the annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) in recent years, will receive the print magazine as a stewardship gift in gratitude for their support, Reyes said.
However, “while recent CSA donors are receiving the magazine as a stewardship gift in recognition of their archdiocesan support of our annual appeal, which funds more than 100 local ministries, no CSA dollars were used to create, publish or mail the magazine,” Reyes said. “We’re grateful to a few generous donors who offered to underwrite this new publication to help fuel the movement.”
Anyone who wishes to receive a hard copy of Unleash the Gospel Magazine is invited to support the mission of the archdiocese and make a gift to CSA and receive the next issue, Reyes added.
A growing missionary movement
On Dec. 11, 2018, the archdiocese launched new social media channels (@utgdetroit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) under the Unleash the Gospel flagship, including inspirational content and testimonials from Catholics across the archdiocese on how they are living as Christ’s disciples.
Unleash the Gospel Magazine and UnleashTheGospel.org are a continuation of that effort to foster a sense of discipleship among Catholics that crosses age, racial, social, geographical and parochial borders, said Christine Warner, the magazine’s editor in chief.
“The magazine is really a channel for sharing authentic stories of discipleship that are meant to inspire readers to be missionaries in their own communities — families, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces,” Warner said. “The magazine is designed in a way so the content — both in print and online — can be consumed and shared easily.”
“The vision of the magazine is rooted in the pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel: to provide resources and inspiration to help people grow in their faith, encounter Christ and become better witnesses to the people in their lives,” Warner continued. “It’s mean to be an extension of the letter and a resource for people.”
Unleash the Gospel Magazine is filled with features highlighting Catholics in southeast Michigan, written predominantly by local writers and supplemented by local photography to give the magazine an authentic “Detroit feel,” Warner said.
The theme of the magazine’s first issue, “Hope. Rebirth. Renewal.,” takes inspiration from the motto of the city of Detroit: Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus (“We hope for better things. It shall rise from the ashes”), which was penned by Fr. Gabriel Richard, who is called “Detroit’s second founder” for his efforts to rebuild the city after the great fire of 1805.
“When we were discussing this magazine, it was clear to us that this first issue had to be about hope, renewal and rebirth,” said Reyes, one of the magazine’s two executive editors along with Fr. Stephen Pullis, director of the archdiocese’s Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools. “This is a season of renewal and rebirth now in the archdiocese. We are in the midst of challenging times in the Church, challenging times in the world, but Christ is our hope in the midst of all of this — to go on with the mission God is calling us to fulfill. To go out and ‘unleash the Gospel.’”
The redesigned UnleashtheGospel.org will feature all of the content in the magazine for free, as well as additional stories, photography and video content. The site will also continue to be a place to learn about Unleash the Gospel and “how to join the movement,” Reyes said. It will host a print and audio version of the pastoral letter, in addition to Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral notes and reflection guides.
Whereas Detroit Catholic serves as the archdiocese’s news publication, reporting the news and happenings within the archdiocese’s schools, parishes and ministries, Unleash the Gospel Magazine is a faith-formation and evangelization resource, Reyes said, a model to help readers learn how to become Catholic evangelists.
“One of the great advantages of having a magazine and a news website, as opposed to choosing between them, is that those two mediums can serve audiences in two different ways,” Reyes said. “Thinking about it more broadly, you can’t have one without the other. If you want to know what’s happening, that’s Detroit Catholic. If you want to be inspired and equipped for mission, that’s where the new publication and website come in.”
More than just a Catholic magazine
Reyes said the idea behind Unleash the Gospel Magazine is to be more than just a Catholic publication, but a way to build community among readers — a centering focus of a great movement.
“When you read the pastoral letter, and when you look at what Pope Francis describes as a ‘band of joyful missionary disciples,’ it is a band, not an individual,” Reyes said. “This connection of community is important to our success as missionaries. In today’s day and age,we’ve seen people rally around content — all kinds of content, whether it is wellness, sports, hobbies — and build a community around that content. We have the best content in the world, the Gospel, the Good News.”
The magazine’s launch comes as the capstone to a series of communications efforts that included the Unleash the Gospel Six-Day Challenge in early November, a Parish Day of Renewal, and a Christmas Mass campaign and outreach that encouraged Catholics to invite friends and family members back to church for the holidays.
The magazine will be published every two months, with four more issues expected in 2019. Each issue will feature a unique theme, cover to cover.
Warner said Unleash the Gospel Magazine is in many ways a trailblazer in Catholic media, as a diocesan publication specifically geared toward evangelization.
But at the same time, sharing stories of living a life of Christ is as old as the Gospels themselves.
“There is something that is very powerful about storytelling, helping someone really connect to a mission and a person through content,” Warner said. “We want the magazine to be something that is relateable and authentic. It makes it so much more powerful to hear from people here, in the archdiocese, who have gone through similar life experiences and how they have grown in their faith.
“People are looking for that personal connection, they are looking for that community,” Warner said. “People are going to be excited about how local the magazine is; that’s what makes it so unique. Our readers will see how grounded it is in our archdiocese, in our culture. And most of all, they will see how the content evolves, how the movement evolves. Seeing people grow the movement, and in turn, grow in their faith.”
Join the movement
Check out the brand new UnleashtheGospel.org, including an electronic version of the Archdiocese of Detroit's new Unleash the Gospel Magazine.