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Mindanao Cross celebrates 65 years of publication

Catholic newspaper survives 65 years against all odds

The anniversary edition of the Mindanao Cross The anniversary edition of the Mindanao Cross
  • Bong S. Sarmiento, Koronadal City
  • Philippines
  • February 6, 2013
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Archbishop Orlando Quevedo was a young altar boy back in 1950. When not at school or doing his duties in his local church he would stand in the streets of Cotabato selling the Mindanao Cross.

“If I sold all my 50 copies I would earn P25.00 [$0.60]. It was a lot of money for a first year high school boy in those days,” the archbishop recalled.

Today, Quevedo is bishop of Cotabato and the Mindanao Cross, the oldest Catholic weekly in the southern Philippines, has turned 65 years old.

Eva Quimpo, the paper's editor in chief, says advertising helps keep the publication alive despite the threat posed by online publishing.

“The little paper with a big cause" is looking forward to playing a bigger role in the community in the coming years, especially with the prospect of peace in Mindanao, she says.

"We will maintain our Catholic character even as we continue to be involved in explaining and clarifying things, especially with regard to the Bangsamoro issue," Quimpo told ucanews.com.

Based in Cotabato City in central Mindanao, the Mindanao Cross has become a rich repository of stories and issues about the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Aside from maintaining its circulation and readership, another major factor behind its survival is "having continually espoused the intrinsic values of integrity, credibility and commitment to the community," the paper said in its anniversary editorial this week.

The Mindanao Cross first hit the streets of Cotabato on February 6, 1948, with the help of a printing press that was donated to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Oblate missionary Gerard Mongeau, who became the first bishop of Cotabato, founded the paper as part of his congregation’s mission in Mindanao.

Reflecting on the paper’s history, Archbishop Quevedo this week lauded the congregation for its vision regarding the paper’s role "in the context of other religions, particularly Islam."

The prelate said the paper "can look back with pride at its achievements" that include numerous awards, its contribution to the education of the people of Mindanao, its promotion of dialogue between peoples of various religions, and its fostering of lasting and just peace in the region.

"Whatever has been accomplished flowed from a vision of religious faith that has to engage with the burning issues of the day in the political, economic, social, cultural spectrums," Quevedo said.

"That vision of faith includes respect for human dignity and justice, respect for other religions, respect for integrity and truth," he added.

In this week's editorial, the paper vowed to maintain "a balanced presentation [of issues] out of concern for the interest of non-Catholics.

"The Mindanao Cross focuses on the promotion of life and peace in the context of pluralism," it said, adding that it will "continue to espouse the same goal" in coming years.

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