75 years of Easter in St. Louis Review/Register coverage stresses faith tenets

Review history

Photos by Richard Finke
Related Articles: 

Helping people understand the Catholic faith has been a mission of the St. Louis Review since 1941 with the founding of the St. Louis Register, the Review's predecessor.

The coverage has included stories explaining the importance of celebrating Easter and the Easter season. Just last week — 75 years since the Register's founding — the Review's four-page Living Our Faith center section focused on how the Easter Octave and Easter season keep alive the joy of the risen Christ.

In 1955, the St. Louis Register speculated on how a modern newspaper would report Christ's trial and death. The article — "Crucifixion in Today's Headlines" — gave a contemporary recital of the details of Our Savior's death.

It began: "Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the Son of God, died this afternoon on a cross on Calvary. Death came simultaneously with the earthquake, which is reported elsewhere in this paper."

The article referred to Jesus as "the prisoner" and reported that witnesses near the cross quoted His last words: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."

Jesus' death "brought to a close one of the most extraordinary careers in modern times," the modern account stated.

Also in Easter coverage in 1955, the Register included a drawing of the Risen Christ outside His tomb and carrying a banner with a cross; an angel peered out in the background. The caption of the drawing by Leo Canavan, art editor, included a Scripture reference from Matthew 28: 1-7 about the earthquake, the angel of the Lord who came down from heaven, the rolled-back stone, terrified guards, and Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who came to see the sepulchre.

The Easter coverage also reported that Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter "will pontificate in the Mass at 12 o'clock noon on Easter Sunday, April 10, in the St. Louis Cathedral, a Mass that will be telecast by KSD-TV. The Cathedral Men's Choir and the Pontifical Boys' Choir will sing the music of the Mass under direction of Dr. Mario Salvador, Cathedral organist and choir director."

In 1965, Easter coverage included a photo by Harold Ferman summing up the response of Christians to the Easter Resurrection "in these free and happy youngsters" at St. Joseph's Home for Boys. They bounced down the stairs outside the chapel wearing altar server garb on Easter and carrying Easter lilies, with a woman religious in her habit trailing them, also smiling. "Like adult Catholics, the boys also realize the time of Lenten Sacrifice has ended, only they take a more physical way of expressing their joy," the caption read.

In an article on "Christians Prepare for Greatest Feast" in 1965, readers were reminded that the last days of Holy Week are of heightened anticipation of the central doctrine, the greatest joy and the major feast of the Church year — Easter.

In a related explanation, the article — as was appropriate for the Vatican II time period — noted that "the People of God are also participating more fully in the Paschal commemorations this year, which marks the first Easter and Holy Week celebrations to take place under the decree for wider use of the vernacular and song, and the use of altars facing the people, lay commentators and the greater emphasis on the Liturgy of the Word."

The Review reported that just the previous day, the new provisions for concelebration became effective in the Universal Church. Using the new permission decreed in the Vatican Council's "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy," a number of St. Louis area parishes, including the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and religious communities offered the Eucharist of the Last Supper as concelebrated Masses for the first time.

In 1975, a staff photo by Richard Finke showed youngster Marty Luepker concentrating on finding an Easter egg. The St. Cecilia parishioner was participating in an Easter egg hunt at the former Augustinian Academy in south St. Louis.

The previous issue featured a full-page pastoral letter from Cardinal John J. Carberry and a photo of a statue of the Risen Christ. Easter "is the feast of joy and hope," Cardinal Carberry wrote.

That reminder is as relevant today as it was then. Easter remains a "feast of joy and hope." 

This article contained information from previous St. Louis Register and St. Louis Review stories.

This is the second of an occasional series highlighting the 75th anniversary of the official archdiocesan newspaper.

The St. Louis Register started publishing in 1941 and was part of the Denver Register System, which printed the paper out of Denver. The paper became the St. Louis Review in 1957, published locally. The series will look at events covered by the St. Louis Register/Review and how the paper's original mission influences coverage today and in the future. 

No votes yet