Ellen B. Koneck makes a toast at a 99th birthday party for ‘Commonweal.’

On November 12, 2023—the 99th anniversary of Commonweal’s first issue—Executive Director Ellen B. Koneck, Marketing & Audience Development Director Gabriella Wilke, Editor Dominic Preziosi, and board member Tim Welsh threw a party in Minneapolis, Minnesota for about thirty-five local Commonweal friends, writers, and readers—including former Commonweal Catholic in the Public Square honoree Amy Goldman. Together, they celebrated Commonweal’s 99th birthday with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, gifts, door prizes, and, of course, excellent conversation.

The evening included brief remarks of welcome. Ellen spoke about the old and affectionate term “Commonweal Catholic,” widening who those terms might include in Commonweal’s second century. Welsh talked about Dorothy Day, a longtime friend of and contributor to Commonweal, as a model for how we might move through our daily, secular work with the reassurance that we are connected to God and our community—including our Commonweal community. Dominic, visiting Minnesota for the first time, wisely brought up the beloved Minnesota native J.F. Powers, a Catholic short story writer whose work has appeared in the pages of Commonweal and who manages to capture the wry and sometimes absurd experience of midwestern Catholicism. 

Readers, writers, editors, staff, board members, and new friends gathered until the restaurant—Cafe Lurcat in the Loring Park neighborhood—was closing down and locking up. It was a perfect way to toast 99 years, setting the tone for celebration, conversation, and community as we look forward to our centennial year and beyond.

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