One Last Time: Rinaudo Bids Farewell After More Than a Decade as Connection Editor

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by Jessica Rinaudo

As I began to work on this, my final issue of The Catholic Connection, I looked back and counted the number of issues I’ve put together over the past 11+ years. This, it turns out, is my 129th issue.

The Catholic Connection has been so much more than just a job to me. As I scanned through the contents of all those back issues, I saw a timeline of my own faith journey and the friendships I’ve formed with all those who have worked diligently with me throughout these many years to produce an ever-evolving Catholic news and evangelization publication for the Diocese of Shreveport.

When I first took over the magazine at the end of 2007, relatively new to the publishing world, I had big ideas. We evolved the magazine to include more feature-based content with established columnists and full color! The page count climbed: first from 16 to 24 pages, and then from 24 pages to 32. With the page increases, we had more opportunities to include Catholic voices from all ages and backgrounds. My editorial board was flush with ideas, and our freshly minted new bishop, Most Reverend Michael Duca – bless him – always trusted me to do what I thought was best for the magazine.

Rinaudo speaks about The Catholic Connection magazine at St. John Berchmans School's Career Day.

The collaboration I’ve had with writers over the years has been invaluable. Each month has been an adventure as I worked closely with Kim and Katie to develop their content, and gleaned so much from Mike’s perspective on Scripture and Church teaching. Working with Bishop Duca was an opportunity to not only get to know and love the “man at the top,” but to hone my own editing skills and confidence.

All of these collaborative efforts began to draw national attention at the Catholic Press Awards each year. We went from a publication that never won an award to winning, at first, one, and then multiple awards each year.

“Why are you leaving?” and “Where are you going?,” you might wonder.

I’m happy to say, despite the sadness that comes from leaving this publication, I am overjoyed to be moving to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to take the helm of their publication, The Catholic Telegraph. The staff of their Archdiocese has opened their arms to me and have granted me the wonderful opportunity to work on a publication that reaches more than 100,000 Catholics. I am so grateful that God put me on this path and continues to show me that this is what He wants for my family and me (despite my own anxieties along the way).

Even with this excitement and joy in front of me, oh how I will miss the wonderful Catholic community in the Diocese of Shreveport! When I told the staff at the Catholic Center about my move, I was met with a mixture of reactions on every end of the spectrum. While Father Price shouted for joy, hugged me and told me how happy he was for me and my family, Father Long repeatedly told me “no,” and then reluctantly said that when I came back, there would always be a place for me.

There are more than 40 people who have some hand, small or large, in bringing The Catholic Connection to fruition each month. And while I can’t list them all here, I want to name a few who are very dear to me.

Rinaudo and Sciba

To my editorial board: thank you for your support and inspiring words throughout the years. Your care and love for the magazine has always encouraged me to push harder and grow more.

To my copyeditors: thank you for dropping everything at deadline time to carefully read through each and every line of text to ensure we are as accurate as we possibly can be before going to press.

To my Spanish translators, Rosalba and Melina: thank you for your patience with last minute articles and fast turn around times on translations.

To Msgr. Earl Provenza: thank you for hiring me and giving a fledgling designer and journalist the chance to do something great.

To Bishop Michael Duca: thank you for giving me the freedom, resources and confidence to grow The Catholic Connection into what it is today. Your mentorship and care for my family and me mean more to me than you will ever know.

To Father Peter Mangum: thank you for seeing something in me and pushing me to grow both at the diocese and at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. Your vision, kindness, trust and leadership have helped shape my work and inspired me to always aim higher.

To my writers and dear friends, Kim Long, Katie Sciba, Lucy Medvec and Kelly Powell, who I worked with closely every month and who were on the front lines to cheer me into my new job position, I could not have done any of this without you. You are brilliant and inspire me in my faith every single day.

And finally, thank you to every reader who has ever taken the time to contact me through the years – whether upset or thrilled, frustrated or overjoyed, or to share a story idea – it means so much to me that you care about this magazine enough to reach out and to read it every single month.

I ask for your prayers as I move into my new position in Cincinnati, and for your prayers over the new editor and future bishop during this time of transition.

God bless you,
Jessica Rinaudo

Note: By the time this prints, I will no longer be working for the Diocese of Shreveport. Please forward all inquiries related to The Catholic Connection to Blanca Vice, bvice@dioshpt.org. Any personal correspondence can be sent to jessica.booth@gmail.com.

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