I’ll never forget the night I was sitting at my computer in my office, everyone else in my family was asleep, and I caught a flash of yellow light out the window. When I looked over, I saw the quietest tow truck I’ve ever heard quickly pulling our 12-passenger Nissan van — the one we had recently purchased for our ever growing family — up the street.
We’d waited about two years before buying it, trying to carry 8 people in a 7 passenger minivan. Our oldest daughter was always stuck sitting on the floor. And at that moment, there it was, being repossessed right before my very startled eyes. We couldn’t afford the payments. Our useless little furball of a dog, so eager to bark at every falling leaf, hadn’t made a peep.
It was 2015, the first full year of 1P5 being online, and I had put all my chips on the table. I no longer had another job. We had only just obtained our non-profit status, and we were still building an audience. Donations were coming in slowly. I was working I don’t even know how many hours a week, doing the work of four or five different people, just trying to keep things going. Every writer we had was a volunteer. I did all the editing, most of the writing, all of the podcasting, the web and design work, the tech and admin, you name it. I worked from home, but my family barely saw me. By the end of the year, we’d also come very close to losing our home. Money was incredibly tight, but I believed that God wanted me doing it, and that He would see us through.
And you know what? He did. (We even got that van back, although we had to drive all the way to New Jersey to claim it…)
For the past couple of years, we’ve managed to pay all the bills. (Most of them on time!) We pay an editor, an accountant, and a growing stable of feature writers. And I hope you’ll agree that the work we do is still important, even though we’re all more than a little battle fatigued. Because what we do here is not just reporting on what’s happening in the Church. It’s reminding people why it’s worth fighting for.
This morning, I heard from a reader in India, who reminded me of why that matters: “Here in India we have a lot of faithful Catholics, but who have yet to experience traditional Catholicism, all because of lack of knowledge! Here we have the Charismatic Renewal as a strong movement, which brings a lot of tepid Catholics into active faith; albeit with it’s own share of protestant leanings and many dangerous practises, and that’s where your website helps us Traditionalists understand what’s happening in the church and how to live our faith more authentically.”
Another reader wrote to us recently and said, “In the present unhappy and frightening moment for our Catholic Church, I find that you, of all the bloggers with whom I am familiar, express most poignantly (sometimes) and most loudly insistently (sometimes) your fears, your disappointments, your hopes, and most importantly, your love for our Mother Church.”
I’ve taken some digs from other websites for being transparent about my difficulties. I’ve always been compulsively honest, and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. If I’m inspired, I’ll tell you. If I’m struggling, I say so. Someone asked me, a couple of years ago, why I keep doing this work even though it’s often a heavy burden. I told them, after some reflection, that I’m not just fighting for the institutional Church, I’m fighting for my own survival. I am a Catholic. I always have been, and I cannot imagine who I am without my identity as a member of this religion that Christ founded all those centuries ago.
I’m guessing many of you feel the exact same way.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It doesn’t mean we always have answers. The best we can do, sometimes, is seek them out together, and do our best to make sense out of a confounding situation.
When I started 1P5, it was specifically because I saw the storm coming that is now upon us. I wanted to find some way to fortify my fellow Catholics, because I knew we’d struggle to stand against the gale force winds that would soon buffet us. (When I look at the photos of what Hurricane Dorian did to the Bahamas, it’s hard not to think that this is similar, in a spiritual sense, to what the present pontificate has done to the Church.)
All we’ve ever had was a commitment to authenticity and the speaking of the truth, and a willingness to work as hard as we had to in order to get the job done. And over the years, thousands of you have showed you agreed with our cause, joined our work with your financial support, and made it possible for us to not just keep this little experiment going, but build it into one of the most influential Catholic voices in the world.
So today I come to you again, as I do every month at this time, and ask you to evaluate whether we are providing enough value for you to make a contribution in support our work. Most of us think very little of paying a monthly subscription for a magazine, newspaper, streaming media, or even dropping a few bucks on a cup of coffee. But we are so accustomed to receiving the content on the internet for free, we don’t always think of paying to offset the work that goes into producing it.
I can assure you, it’s a lot. We don’t have a large team. We do the best with what we have. And we have hundreds of thousands of readers, so a little bit from a large number of people goes a long way.
As I’ve said countless times: we can’t do this work without you. That’s not an exaggeration or a marketing pitch. It’s the reality we live with every month, as we remember Matthew 6:33 and ask God to bless our efforts for His Church. The truth is, for six out of the nine months of this year, we have failed to meet our fundraising goals, even as we are striving to add new writers and pay our existing staff more. If we can’t improve our revenue, this is an effort that will, eventually, become unsustainable. And since I’ve always said that this is God’s project, and it can be dispensed with at His pleasure, I’m ready to accept it if it comes to pass.
The good news is that we are already over 50% of our goal for the month of September. Will you help to push us over the top? Will you join us in our fight and help provide us a strong financial footing for the work that is coming in October, as the synod rolls out, with all its attendant attacks on the faith?
We hope that you will prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible* contribution today. And if you can make it a recurring donation, even better! Although we take it on faith that God will provide, predictable monthly income offers us stability and security for our operations.
May God bless you abundantly for your generosity, your readership, and support.
Publisher & Executive Director
*OnePeterFive, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity (EIN: 47-2159793). Your contributions make this work possible and are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.