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History of the Catholic Press Association
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The first CPA Convention in 1911, Columbus, Ohio


1889            The first (and last) Catholic Lay Congress took place in Baltimore that November. Members of the Catholic press were overlooked in original invitations, but received them in August. L. W. Reilly, an editor in Columbus, Ohio, sent out a circular inviting press people to the Congress, and Maurice Francis Egan, former newspaperman teaching at the University of Notre Dame, urged editors to come to "cultivate fellow feeling” and force "unscrupulous advertising agents to be honest.” If Catholic editors neglected to unite, he suggested, there would soon be no Catholic papers at all. A group of Catholic editors and business managers, representing 26 Catholic journals, met informally November 10 at the Hotel Rennert. The only action taken was to set a date for a Convention the following May in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1890 That Convention met May 7 at the Dennison House in Cincinnati. Officers from the previous November meeting (Father F. Graham of the Catholic Tribune, Dubuque, the chairman, and Conde’ B. Pallen of Church Progress, secretary) conducted the meeting, with representatives of 14 papers attending. They voted to establish a permanent association named The Catholic Press Association of the United States. Dues were to be $5 per year for each publication, payable in advance, with a meeting the first Wednesday of May each year

1891 The next meeting convened May 6 in Xavier Hall at the College of the Jesuits in New York, with more than 40 publications represented. Delegates approved incorporation of the Association, employing correspondents in Rome, Paris, London and Berlin, establishing an advertising bureau and a purchasing agency for quantity buying. Washington, DC, was selected as the site for the 1892 meeting. That news service soon failed, however, because several editors did not pay for it, and there is no record that an 1892 meeting ever took place.

1893 This Catholic Press Association met once more, in Chicago -- site that year of the World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) -- at the Art Palace, Wednesday, September 6, with 35 papers represented. Father A. P. Doyle, of the Catholic World, was elected president. There were no further meetings of this group, possibly because of a national financial crisis which had begun earlier, and the fact that the incipient Catholic lay movement lost its momentum.

1908 Dr. Thomas Hart, of the Catholic Telegraph, Cincinnati, agitated by failure of the National Catholic Educational Association Convention to offer a resolution supporting the Catholic press, at a meeting July 25 with other editors attending that convention organized the American Catholic Press Association, for promotion of "educational, literary, news and business interests of the papers concerned and … a close fraternity among Catholic editors.”

1911 After four previous attempts had failed, the present-day Catholic Press Association was organized at a meeting at the Chittenden Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, August 24-25, 1911. About 60 delegates representing 37 publications attended, including a half dozen women, almost two dozen priests and more than 30 laymen. Edward J. Cooney of the Providence Visitor was elected president, and his publication provided a Convention booklet exhorting delegates to achieve "the greatest possible results from the meeting.” He said the aims of the new Association would be to publicize news of Catholic interest, combat the evil influence of some of the secular press, secure national advertising and agitate against higher postal rates.


For a complete historical timeline of the CPA,

CPA Past Presidents

Edward J. Cooney, Providence Visitor 1911-1913
John Paul Chew, Church Progress 1913-1917
Dr. Thomas P. Hart, Catholic Telegraph 1917-1920
Claude M. Becker, The Tablet 1920-1922
Fred W. Harvey, Jr., Extension 1922-1924
Anthony J. Beck, Michigan Catholic 1928-1930
Benedict J. Elder, The Record 1930-1932
Richard Reid, Catholic News 1932-1934
Joseph J. Quinn, Southwest Courier 1934-1936
Vincent dePaul Fitzpatrick, Catholic Review 1936-1938
Charles H. Ridder, Catholic News 1938-1940
Msgr. Peter M.H. Wynhoven, Catholic Action of the South 1940-1941
Alexander J. Wey, Catholic Universe Bulletin 1941-1944
Rev. Patrick O’Connor, S.S.C., The Far East 1943-1946
Humphrey E. Desmond, Catholic Herald Citizen 1946-1948
Rev. Paul Bussard, Catholic Digest 1948-1950
Francis A. Fink, Our Sunday Visitor 1950-1952
Msgr. Thomas A. Meehan, The New World 1952-1954
Charles J. McNeill, Young Catholic Messenger 1954-1956
Msgr. John S. Randall, Catholic Courier Journal 1956-1958
John J. Daly, Catholic Virginian 1958-1960
Rev. Albert J. Nevins, M.M. Maryknoll 1960-1963
Msgr. Robert G. Peters, Peoria Register 1963-1965
William Holub, America 1965-1967
Msgr. Terrence P. McMahon, CatholicTranscript 1967-1969
Joseph A. Gelin, Catholic Universe Bulletin 1969-1971
Rev. Louis G. Miller, C.SS.R, Liguorian 1971-1973
John F. Fink, Our Sunday Visitor 1973-1975
Rev. Jeremy Harrington, St. Anthony Messenger 1975-1977
Robert L. Fenton, Catholic Digest 1977-1979
Ethel M. Gintoft, Catholic Herald Citizen 1979-1981
Rev. Norman J. Muckerman, C.SS.R, Liguorian 1981-1984
Rev. Owen F. Campion. Tennessee Register 1984-1986
Albina Aspell, The Catholic Post 1986-1988
Rev. John T. Catoir, The Christophers 1988-1990
Barbara Beckwith, St. Anthony Messenger 1990-1992
Arthur McKenna, Catholic New York 1992-1994
Antony J. Spence, Tennessee Registers 1994-1996
Christopher J. Gunty, The Catholic Sun 1996-1998
Joseph Kirk Ryan, The Catholic Standard and Times 1998-2000
Karen Franz, The Catholic Courier 2000-2002
Dennis Heaney, The Christophers 2002-2004
Helen Osman, The Catholic Spirit, Texas 2004-2007
Robert Zyskowski, The Catholic Spirit, Minn. 2007-2009
Penny Wiegert, The Observer, Rockford, Ill. 2009-2011
Greg Erlandson, Our Sunday Visitor 2011-2013
Rob DeFrancesco, The Catholic Sun, Ariz. 2013-2015

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