The Visitor grabs a new/old editor on the rebound

Categories: Editorial

The St. Cloud Diocese deserves to have an editor who is on-site, part of the fabric of the diocese, and it will again shortly

June 20, 2014, edition
By Bob Zyskowski

Joe’s coming back.

That’s the good news.

With the arrival of July, Joe Towalski returns to The Visitor and to the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Readers of a certain age will remember Joe from his stint as reporter for and later editor of The Visitor.

Although he was no longer The Visitor editor, his editorials have appeared on these pages every so often during the past few years primarily because no one writes better ones.

It was Joe’s outstanding coverage of issues at the State Capitol and his award-winning editorials that pulled him away from St. Cloud in the first place.

I’ll take the blame — or credit.

In one of my more brilliant moves as associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, I hired Joe away fromSt. Cloud.

As editor of the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for these past nine years, Joe has continued to prove my wisdom, leading a team that produces some of the very best Catholic journalism both in print and in what we ought no longer call “new media.”

Now Joe’s gifts rebound to the Diocese of St. Cloud, where he’ll not only

once again edit The Visitor but serve as director of communications for the diocese.

All of which means that yours truly is stepping aside, which was part of the plan all along.

Stop-gap editor

Two years ago, as Joe’s responsibilities in the archdiocese grew so that he was no longer able to devote time to The Visitor, Bishop John Kinney gave the nod to me to step in as a long-distance editor while I remained working for the archdiocese in St. Paul.

Because Bishop Kinney had at that time already extended his request to retire to the pope, it was understood that, when a new bishop was appointed, the new prelate would be looking to reconstitute the communications ministry in the diocese.

As I told Bishop Donald Kettler on his very first day in St. Cloud, the dio-cese deserves to have an editor who is on-site, part of the fabric of the dio-cese.

I’ve always known my time serving as Visitor editor would be brief, yet I was happy, no, privileged, to fill the gap at The Visitor for the past two years.

This newspaper has an amazingly conscientious staff, people who see serving the diocese and serving readers as parallel top priorities. And they do it with kindness, cheerfulness and generosity of spirit.

The great big staff of six does many things well, a point that is made each year when the Catholic Press Association announces the awardees in its annual Catholic journalism competition.

Year after year The Visitor continues to come away with a handful of awards even though this humble diocese in the northern realm of “fly-over country” competes with the likes of large-circulation diocesan newspapers in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Visitor’s is a staff that loves a good story.

New programs, interesting people and activities that are the fabric of Catholic life in the diocese are the warp and weft woven into The Visitor every issue.

And the copyeditors are demons about proofreading.

Excellence in every aspect of the work and care on every story on every page by dedicated people has made it both a joy and a privilege to play even a minor role in this newspaper’s history.

It’s a legacy that no doubt will continue as Joe Towalski once again takes his seat at the editor’s desk.