Canada's oldest Catholic magazine ceases publication

June 23, 2014

TORONTO – Canada's oldest Catholic print publication, the Jesuits' Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart, will go to print for the final time this month after 124 continuous years in production.

"Our leadership has determined that since the number of subscribers has plummeted in the last five years, the operation can no longer sustain itself financially," said Father Philip Shano, Messenger of the Sacred Heart's editor.

At the moment the Toronto-based publication has a subscription of only about 2,400.

It relies strictly on subscriptions and donations and does not accept advertisements or subsidies, not even from the Jesuits, to publish a 32-page magazine 11 times a year.

"At one point (subscriptions were) much higher," said Shano. "As readers aged and passed there were few younger subscribers."

June will be the final issue of the publication which was launched in 1891. It originally was published out of Montreal and moved to Toronto in 1925. Its circulation has varied over the years, reaching 45,000 in 1920, and dropping slightly to 43,000 in 1940.

It published its 500th edition in 2012 under then-editor Jesuit Father Frederick Power, who was at the helm of the magazine for almost 50 years.

News of the demise comes on the heels of the publication launching a digital edition.

However, the July and August digital editions will be the final issues of that publication because it was not financially feasible, Shano said.

Although the publication will close, Shano said he intends to continue maintaining the website.