Editor’s note: Today, we celebrate with our good friends at Magnificat as they celebrate fifteen years of beautiful service to the faithful worldwide. With the gift of Magnificat, we are able to journey ever closer to Christ and his Church. Learn more about Magnificat, request a complimentary issue or subscribe online at www.Magnificat.com.
Yonkers, NY – With its December issue, Magnificat celebrates fifteen years of bringing the best of Catholic liturgy, prayer, meditation, and art to more than one million worldwide monthly users. The introduction of these exciting new features reinforces publisher Pierre Marie Dumont’s dynamic vision for Magnificat. His committed response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for personal conversion and sainthood, and for the laity to share more fervently in the New Evangelization, gave birth to Magnificat in December 1998. Today Magnificat continues to sow the seeds of Pope John Paul II’s long–desired “great springtime for Christianity,” providing believers with much-needed spiritual nourishment. Renewed and strengthened in their spiritual life, thousands of Catholics are now better equipped to invite all people into a deeper relationship with Christ, his Mother, and his Church.
As Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera has observed, “Parishes, lay associations and ecclesial movements, priests, religious, and—why not?—my brother bishops have in Magnificat a pastoral instrument of high quality and content for prayer and liturgical use.”
From the first issue published in 1998, Magnificat has continually enriched its content, making the daily journey with Christ more rewarding and fruitful. The December issue introduces new features that give Magnificat readers more of what over 500,000 American readers already love about Magnificat:
- More personal reflection with a feminine voice (She Pondered These Things in Her Heart)
- More insight into how Catholics worship at Mass (In the Liturgy God Speaks to His People)
- More storytelling highlighting Catholicism’s worldwide influence throughout history (How the Church has Changed the World)
- More faith. Profiles of non-canonized Catholics whose “saintly” lives were motivated by their love of Christ (Credible Witnesses)
- More hope. Stories of people who accepted Christ’s irresistible invitation to live in his embrace (Great Conversion Stories)
- More love. Inspiring, thematically grouped stories of Saints (Saint Who?)
Pierre-Marie Dumont is the publisher and founding force behind Magnificat. He resides in France, where he launched Magnificat in 1992. He was recently in the U.S. to join in the celebration of Magnificat Day in Philadelphia.
Monsieur Dumont, I’m not certain that most American readers are aware that Magnificat was begun in France by a devoted family man. As a father of 12 children, what was your purpose in launching a publication that most people would likely presume is the brainchild of clergy?
In the words of a famous American priest, “the family that prays together stays together.” Many people were looking for a practical way to stay in the rhythm of the Church, but praying the Liturgy of the Hours is quite complicated and time–consuming. As a publisher, I had an idea and presented Magnificat to Rome, where it was approved and even blessed! Later, I met with the USCCB and a number of American bishops, who were very receptive and actually gave me lots of encouragement and support. In a very real way, Magnificat provides the resource the Second Vatican Council had asked the Church to provide for lay people.
So, would you say Magnificat is a “laicized” version of the Liturgy of the Hours?
In a way, yes, but it is much more than that. All Christian life is centered on the gift of the Son back to the Father. The Eucharist. From this flows all authentic Christian prayer, and so the structure of Magnificat became immediately apparent to me. Around daily Mass there needed to be a prayer for the morning and the evening adapted from the Liturgy of the Hours, and a daily meditation as food for a bit of reflection. It is a simple way to heed St. Paul’s encouragement to “pray without ceasing.”
Why did you choose the name Magnificat?
Magnificat is Mary’s unreserved “yes” to God’s amazing invitation to bring Jesus into her life and into the world! Her “yes” is what I wanted to live out in my life, and I wanted this publication to model and facilitate that “yes” for Catholics around the world. I have a passion for art and beauty in all forms, because for me they are expressions of God. We strive to have Magnificat reflect that beauty. That is why I added articles of Catholic interest and commentaries on the artwork that graces our cover each month.
You call the Magnificat readers “family.” Why?
Because that is what we are! The body of Christ…the Church! Magnificat gives this family of ours a sense of what it means to be church. As the Church becomes less visible and seems to be disappearing, Magnificat creates a real worshiping community, not gathered within a building, but nevertheless one that really exists. I hope that as Magnificat introduces hundreds of thousands of Catholics across the planet to the beauty and joy of participating in the daily prayer of the Church, it will help to bring a new vitality back to the Church.
Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., has been editor-in-chief of Magnificat since its initial publication in the U.S. in December 1998. Fr. Peter was ordained a Dominican priest in 1986. In addition to his work as an editor, Fr. Peter has a background in the theatre. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting from the Catholic University of America, and he founded Blackfriars Repertory Theatre in New York City. Fr. Peter teaches homiletics at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York, and he is the author of ten books.
You’ve been with Magnificat since its introduction in the U.S. What are the differences in the publication between then and now?
When Magnificat first began, it was amazing to see how it fed a real spiritual hunger. Through the years, we have been very attentive to the different spiritual needs of Catholics. We have done this especially by following the pope…and there have been three of them! Each Holy Father brings his own flair and flavor to the Faith, and we try to capture all that in some way in Magnificat. Also, Magnificat has grown and expanded over the years, adding new features and enlisting new writers. The December 2013 issue is a good example of that graced expansion.
What impact has being editor-in-chief had on your life as a priest?
The main impact is one of wonder: wonder at the glory and magnificence of the Church…wonder that has deepened my love for the liturgy, for the Eucharist, for the Word of God, for the Blessed Mother, for the papacy, for preaching. When I read the many and diverse spiritual masters who grace the pages of Magnificat, it fills me with awe at the love and goodness of God. It makes me want to deepen my conversion, and be a better Catholic and priest. Magnificat is deeply edifying.
I know you are in demand as a speaker. What kind of feedback do you get in your travels?
Readers speak of Magnificat as if it is their daily staple, their lifeline, their friend. I have heard stories of parents reading Meditations of the Day over the phone to their children away at college, perfect strangers becoming instant friends simply by spotting Magnificat in each others’ hands, Magnificat being read at a death bed to bring comfort to the dying and solace to those they love. People say that they cannot live without Magnificat. It has become a regular and normal part of their everyday life.
Where do you see Magnificat 15 years from now?
Pope Francis says that “the preacher must know the heart of his community in order to realize where its desire for God is alive and ardent, as well as where that dialogue, once loving, has been thwarted and is now barren.” That’s what Magnificat will be doing fifteen years from now. It will be tending to the heart of the community, to the Church, enlivening her desire for and dialogue with God.
Magnificat is best known as the creator and publisher of Magnificat magazine, the monthly prayer and worship aid with one of the largest circulations of any Catholic publication in the United States. Magnificat magazine is published in English (US and UK editions), Spanish, French, German, Lithuanian, and Slovenian. Magnificat also produces MagnifiKid!, a comic book–style Sunday Mass and prayer guide for children ages 6–12, as well as other bestselling books for both children and adults, companion issues, and devotional tools.
Learn more about Magnificat, request a complimentary issue or subscribe online at www.Magnificat.com.