June, the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart, proved the continuing vitality of the Messenger. People wonder what makes the Messenger the most widely read religious magazine in Ireland, with a bigger circulation than almost any publication – and that without advertising. The secret is the system of distribution which has served it from the beginning. Local promoters receive a quota of copies, from 3 to over 200, which they in turn distribute to subscribers in their area, collect their annual subscription and act as the point of contact with the Dublin office. This is a voluntary role which served at first by religious, but today is as equally managed by lay-people. What gives this countrywide network its vitality? Read on.
The most important contact between the central office and the promoters is the annual Mass, which was celebrated in this month of the Sacred Heart in four locations across the country: Longford, Kilkenny, Clare and Dublin. Promoters’ meetings tend to muster round forty people; but this month’s meetings in Mooncoin and Longford attracted crowds of over 200, thanks to the dynamic management of Triona McGee and her staff. Regional co-ordinators Elizabeth Foley and Gaye Adams worked alongside the local promoters to make the Masses a community event, with the local people managing the music, the Offertory procession and readings. Arriving at the church, all were given a Sacred Heart Messenger candle which was blessed during the Mass, to help with their prayer at home. After Mass all were welcomed to refreshments in the local parish hall.
The event was a way of saying Thank you for the extraordinary work of these voluntary workers, past and present, their families and loved ones. The Jesuit celebrants were Enda O’Callaghan SJ in Longford and Clare, Barney Mc Guckian SJ in Kilkenny and Editor John Looby SJ (concelebrating with Barney) in Gardiner Street, Dublin.