From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to modern-day murals airbrushed onto the sides of urban buildings, art has reflected humanity’s connection with a higher power. Most of these images reveal aspects of morality, reverence for spiritual icons and a belief in the afterlife. But often underlying these themes is an intent much more simple—to inspire and strengthen faith.
Patrick O’Brien (’93) is founding CEO of the fastest growing Catholic publishing company in the United States – FAITH Catholic. Since the first issue of FAITH welcomed the new millennium in January 2000, O’Brien and his staff have expanded the organization— from one magazine into a multi-million dollar not-for-profit corporation that produces 35 print periodicals with a combined circulation of 1.4 million, 29 digital publications, 20 websites, 3 mobile apps, a weekly television program and 163 other products. FAITH’s 251 products now reach an audience of more than 8.6 million people globally. Its publications have received awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for in-depth articles, design and photography, and consistently rank among the top general interest print publications and Web sites.
“The concept was simple—create a Catholic magazine that people could relate to,” said O’Brien.
“I envisioned FAITH as a mainstream membership magazine. If you were ever a parishioner you would get it. The editorial mix consisted of inspirational personal stories with practical columns on parenting, work, marriage and spirituality. No preaching. No judging. No fire and brimstone. I tried to bring much of what I learned at CCS to this project. I had no real magazine experience— only advertising.”
While at CCS, O’Brien studied under the instruction of many talented professors. Larry Flemming, chair of the advertising design department, inspired him and opened his mind to the David Ogilvy concept— that words and graphics work together to make maximum impact. O’Brien often finds himself utilizing the theory of this renowned advertising guru while working with his team at FAITH.
“There are so many things that good people do that really make a difference. It is rewarding to put those people on the cover of a glossy magazine and give them a little credit for the huge impact they make. I can't think of a better way to use what I learned at CCS.
“The multimedia world we live in is hungry for today's artists to define the spiritual dimension of this age. Never before have creative people had so many means to reach such a large, diverse audience. CCS has given us the abilities. My hope is for people to answer their call. I am excited about continuing to answer mine.”
- FAITH Publishing Service