GLOBAL.CH squareA blessed and happy New Year to all our readers! May your hearts be glad, and your winters unseasonably warm!

This one isn’t, but feet of snow and an 11-day deep freeze haven’t quelled our quest for a good story here at the Herald. Peering into 2014, we’re planning upcoming issues to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, explore vocations, highlight spiritual retreats and more.

We’re keen to follow Pope Francis, whose illuminating words and deeds compel us to lead kinder, more inspired lives.

Most of all, we’re hoping to hear from you, our parishes, religious leaders, readers and friends. We’re eager to share your stories with the wider Catholic community.

I plan to hit the road this year. There’s a map of the diocese on my bulletin board; since the end of October, I’ve visited parishes in Barron, St. Croix, Bayfield and Douglas counties. That leaves a whole lot of ground to cover, particularly on the eastern side of the diocese.

Give me a call, 715-394-0213, ext. 2213, and let me know what’s happening in your parish. I love traveling Wisconsin’s highways and back roads, admiring the landscape and getting distracted by creameries, wineries and all other manner (manors?) of deliciousness.

A reminder: Good stories don’t just happen in church. If you (or a parishioner you know) have a special skill, cool hobby or interesting business, drop me an email at . I’d love to hear from you.

With the holidays over, we’ve slipped into the quieter, more contemplative first months of the year. Here at the Herald, we’re talking about how to improve the newspaper. With more event coverage, news briefs and local voices, we hope to strengthen our service to you, our readers.

Look for parish profiles, fun feature stories, columns and letters from Bishop Peter Christensen and more in the months to come.

Pope Francis told Antonio Spadaro, Jesuit journalist, “Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.”

As we head steadily into the New Year, we at the Herald wish to emulate the “church that finds new roads.” Light a candle for us, and keep us in your prayers!

Anita Draper