When B.A. Santamaria launched the first issue of AD2000 in April 1988 he recognised the challenges magazines of all descriptions faced in surviving for long - let alone a new religious publication.
Twenty years on, when even the venerable Bulletin has finally succumbed to market forces, it is remarkable that AD2000 continues to survive as a journal of religious opinion.
Today, even more than in 1988, religious periodicals face major challenges of survival, given the further inroads of secularism, especially on younger Catholics, many of whom have received shallow presentations of the Faith and, not surprisingly, tend to be apathetic and uninformed on religious questions.
Meanwhile, with the present low and declining Mass attendance rates, the potential readership for a journal like AD2000 continues to shrink, quite apart from its disproportionate reliance on an older readership for circulation.
Yet despite these adverse pressures and its present modest circulation of around 6,000, AD2000 continues to exert an influence on religious affairs in Australia and overseas out of all proportion to its size and resources.
As Francis Young's progress report (page 7) on the AD2000 website (www.ad2000.com.au) indicates, our journal's outreach has been magnified many times, with no fewer than five million 'hits' recorded on the website over a recent twelve month period, including a large proportion from overseas.
While younger Catholics are less inclined to read, their reliance on the Internet provides a promising window of opportunity for further education in the Faith. AD2000 deals with wide range of topical religious issues each month, and teachers of religion who utilise our website find a wealth of information available from back numbers of our journal going back 20 years.
Michael Gilchrist is Editor of AD2000 (email address available on request).