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Inside NCR

Search for Jesus 2000 approaches deadline

NCR’s search for a contemporary Jesus is moving toward its crucial deadline, Oct. 18.

The number of entries already in, the number of queries from artists far and wide, the huge interest on the part of the media -- all indicate the population at large does care about Jesus at 2000. Whether the spur be religion, art or sheer curiosity, anticipation is growing.

We decided not to reveal numbers of entries until all are in.

We are, though, already working on the special supplement that will showcase the winners and the judges’ other favorites in our Christmas issue. This brings up a practical matter. It seems likely that the search for contemporary Jesus will have caused enough interest and even excitement that NCR subscribers and others may want further copies as gifts, resources or collectors’ items. At this point we can only guess what demand there will be. But we have a proposal.

The Jesus 2000 supplement will later be available separately at a cost of $5. For those who order by Dec. 1, however, it will be on sale at $3.50, which includes handling and postage. Because of our lean bureaucratic structure, I am told, there is a definite way to order, namely by check or money order (therefore, no credit cards, and no phone orders).

The orders should be mailed to NCR, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111.

Sharp readers may have noticed that the supplement alone is costing more than the entire NCR Christmas issue. That’s because those extra supplements are expensive to print and handle -- we will not, alas, be making a bundle on them. Subscribers, on the other hand, will be getting their Jesus 2000 memorial supplement as a special gift from us -- and no one deserves a gift more than NCR’s loyal, feisty and friendly readers.

(For developments on the supplement, keep an eye on our Web site at www.natcath.org)

Our preliminary panel of judges will do the initial sifting of entries on the weekend of Oct. 29-31. This process will culminate in a selection of 10 slides. The 10 finalists will be submitted to Sr. Wendy Beckett, famous for her several television art series, who will pick the winner and runners-up.

There is one other thing. Interest in the art competition is so strong that we are considering an exhibition of selected works in the new year -- note that this isn’t definite, just a thought. Several galleries have expressed interest in participating -- if we get the works together at all, it would make sense to take them, as we say, on the road.

If readers know of galleries, or own or run galleries, that might be suitable and agreeable for this purpose, we’d love to hear from them, though obviously we can make no promise at this time. We, too, are a work in progress.

Beginning this week and for the next three weeks, keep an eye on the NCR homepage for daily coverage of the European Synod, the last in a series of regional synods leading up to the Jubilee 2000 celebrations in Rome.

NCR’s opinion editor John Allen and publisher Tom Fox will be reporting on the synod and writing about related -- and sometimes unrelated -- events. Part of our intention is to experiment with the new electronic technologies to complement the coverage in the paper. Allen and Fox will also be using our new digital camera as they stake out the streets and Vatican corridors in search of news.

On the minds of many, as the bishops and cardinals of Europe gather for this last synod of the 20th century, will be the question: Who among them might be best suited to wear papal white sometime in the future and lead the church in the early 21st century?

Check out the latest word from Rome at our Web site: www.natcath.org

My e-mail address is farrellncr@aol.com

National Catholic Reporter, October 8, 1999