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REVISTA CATOLICA

REVISTA CATÓLICA. Revista Católica, a Catholic newspaper and printing house directed by the Jesuits, and for some eighty-five years one of the major religious publishers in Spanish in the Americas, operated in El Paso from 1918 to 1958. The business was founded by an Italian Jesuit, Donato M. Gasparri, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1873. Gasparri, one of a number of Jesuits recruited by French-born Bishop John B. Lamy to work in the Diocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, had accompanied Lamy to the Southwest in 1867.

Gasparri secured a printing press in late 1872, though it did not become operational until February 24, 1873. The publishing house, originally known as Imprenta de Río Grande, provided a variety of educational and devotional materials. Plans to begin regular publication of a newspaper were temporarily stalled when the swollen Rio Grande threatened the press. Gasparri hurriedly dismantled the precious machinery and resolved never to reassemble it until he found a more secure location. Parties in Las Vegas, New Mexico, meanwhile, invited him to bring his operation there, and he accepted. Aided by the Rev. Lorenzo Fede, S. J., Gasparri began publication of his newspaper, Revista Católica, on January 2, 1875. Within nine weeks the pair were printing 400 copies for each issue, and Gasparri realized his small press could no longer handle the volume.

With new machinery and an expanded staff, Revista Católica flourished. When Cruz M. Garde, S. J., became editor in August 1916, he made arrangements to move the enterprise to El Paso. On January 6, 1918, the press reopened in the border city in a building at 1407 East Third Street. In 1925 a special writers' residence, St. Peter Canisius House, opened for the Jesuit staff of Revista Católica in what had been Holy Family School at 815 West Main. Subsequently, both the printing house and residence moved a number of times.

For many years Revista Católica was the sole Catholic weekly in Spanish in the western hemisphere. By the 1950s the press had a staff of twenty engaged in publishing a wide variety of materials, including scripture, catechisms, histories, devotional works, calendars, and greeting cards. Beyond the Southwest the publications of the press circulated throughout Latin America and widely overseas. The press celebrated its diamond jubilee with the publication of a trilogy of studies tracing Jesuit history in New Mexico and West Texas. The publishing house ceased operation in 1958.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Ernest J. Burrus, S.J, "Jesuits Came Late, But Built with El Paso for 100 Years," Southern Jesuits 1 (December 1981). Thomas H. Clancy, S.J, "Jesuits in the South: The Last 150 Years," Southern Jesuits 2 (August 1982). Files, Historical Archives and Museum, Catholic Diocese of El Paso. Sister M. Lilliana Owens, S.L., Most Rev. Anthony J. Schuler (El Paso: Revista Católica Press, 1953). WPA Historical Records Survey Program, Texas Newspapers (Houston: San Jacinto Museum of History Association, 1941).

Steven P. Ryan, S.J.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Steven P. Ryan, S.J., "REVISTA CATOLICA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eer05), accessed October 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.