Deo Gratias


Dear Commonweal readers: I am retiring after twenty-eight years on the job, and the editor has invited me to use this page to bid a farewell. Over the years, this “Editor’s Notebook” space has offered me and other editors an opportunity to write about more personal matters and, on occasion, even to take exception to an editorial stance of the magazine. It has been this openness to dialogue that I value most at Commonweal. The need for honest, ongoing exchanges in the public forum is more important today—both in the church and in society—than at any time since I began working at the magazine.

I was born the year Commonweal published volume XXXIX, and I am retiring as we embark on volume CXXXIX. While I did not grow up reading Commonweal (my family subscribed to Jubilee and Ramparts), I was introduced to it in high school by my Franciscan teachers. I soon came to value Commonweal (this was before and during the Vatican Council) with utmost respect. But I would never even have considered applying for work here had not Dorothy Day encouraged me (I had served as managing editor of The Catholic Worker in the early 1970s).

In the late 1970s I did apply for a position, but there was no room at the inn. Instead, like Jacob delayed in Laban’s fields, I worked for seven years with terminal cancer patients at St. Rose’s Home in Manhattan. It was sobering, good work, thrown into redeeming perspective...

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About the Author

Patrick Jordan is a former managing editor of Commonweal.