(from the March 2017 issue of The Catholic Islander magazine, a monthly publication of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands)

From the Bishop's Desk

Bishop Herbert Bevard

My dear friends:

     Among print magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, in my estimation, there is none more attractive or interesting than The Catholic Islander. Each month it has beautiful and colorful covers, large, high quality photos inside, showing priests, deacons, religious, and parishioners involved in all kinds of ministries and activities. It is an avidly read, faithfully Catholic, periodical.
      One of the most important purposes of The Catholic Islander magazine is that it helps our diocese to be united as a Catholic family across the waterways that separate our three islands.
      But, beyond the shores of our territory, did you know that The Catholic Islander is read in many places around the world, online?
      Our diocesan websites: catholicislander. com, and catholicvi.com, which are run and maintained by Brother James Petrait, O.S.F.S., bring The Catholic Islander to the world. International interest in The Catholic Islander has surged in recent months. A report submitted by Br. James showed that the number of visits around the world increased from hundreds to over a thousand per month, in late 2016. There were 1,478 visits in October, 2,050 in November, and 3,155 in December.
      The top five countries where people looked at The Catholic Islander online were: the US mainland, China, Ivory Coast, South Korea, and the Russian Federation.
      On any one visit, there may be varying numbers of hits (clicking the mouse on something) and pages viewed. For 2016, the total was a staggering 289,825 hits and 166,142 pages viewed.
      This remarkable phenomenon may be due in part to recent work by our webmaster to allow the translation of our English-language The Catholic Islander magazine, by automated software, into any of several languages: like Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and more.
      As interesting as this all may be, the significance of Br. James’ report goes beyond some merely impressive numbers.
      Our Catholic duty is to go forth and spread the Gospel message. In our digital age, with the sea of information both good and evil to be found throughout the internet, the message of Gospel hope is going out to all the world from our tiny diocese of St. Thomas, through our humble diocesan periodical, The Catholic Islander!
      May God bless you, each and every one, and may your personal Gospel witness also grow daily!