|Register launched on 50th anniversary of diocese|
The Register, Northwestern Kansas Edition, made its debut Nov. 21, 1937, in the 50th jubilee year of what was then the Diocese of Concordia. The weekly publication was part of the Denver-based Register System of Newspapers, which at its peak in the 1950s produced some 35 diocesan papers and the National Catholic Register.
Bishop Francis Tief launched The Register, and Msgr. Cornelius Brown was its first editor. He worked from an office in the basement of the bishop's residence in Concordia. Succeeding him from January 1941 until February 1944 was Father Bernard Jaster, who moved the newspaper's office to the basement of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Concordia.
The paper's third editor would become synonymous with The Register itself. Father Raymond Menard, ordained just five years earlier, was named editor in 1944 and served two lengthy terms — the first until July 1971 and the second from November 1976 until his retirement in April 2006. He died eight months later at the age of 94.
Father Larry Pierce edited the paper from 1971 to 1976.
Taking over in April 2006 was The Register's first lay editor, Doug Weller, a Kansas journalist with 27 years of daily newspaper experience.
One year after Father Menard became editor in 1944, the see of the diocese was transferred to Salina from Concordia. The Register's office moved with Father Menard to Clay Center for one year, after he was assigned to that parish, then to Salina in 1946, when he was appointed chaplain at St. John's Hospital. He operated the newspaper from his home near the hospital for the next 25 years. He stepped down from both jobs in 1971 when he was assigned new duties as a parish priest.
Msgr. Menard, who was elevated to that rank in 1949, was asked to return to the newspaper in 1976. By then, he had worked for four bishops, and three more would serve in Salina before he would retire.
The newspaper office moved to the former Sacred Heart Junior High School Building. It joined the rest of the diocesan departments in 1990 when the Chancery was moved to the former St. Joseph's Convent across the street from Sacred Heart Cathedral. Msgr. Menard, who by then had taken up residence at the Cathedral rectory, regularly celebrated the weekday and weekend Masses in addition to working full time at The Register.
Msgr. Menard's devotion to The Register was evident when he bequeathed a sizable estate to support the newspaper's future operations. Dividend earnings from his gift provide a significant part of the newspaper's annual operating revenues.