Joseph Sinasac meeting Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square after the 2001 Palm Sunday Mass with Dr. Katherine Rouleau. They were part of the Toronto delegation in Rome prior to World Youth Day 2002. (Photo courtesy Joseph Sinasac)

Sinasac books a spot in publishers’ hall of fame

By Luke Mandato

Joseph Sinasac, former Publisher/Editor of The Catholic Register, is one of three to be inducted this year into the Association of Catholic Publishers’ Hall of Fame.

Sinasac joins Americans David Island and Mary Lou Baluch Rafferty in being honoured by the ACP, which is composed of Catholic publishers and producers of Catholic content.

Sinasac, a native of Amherstburg, Ont., who now lives in Burlington, Ont., spent almost 14 years in the Publisher/Editor chair at The Register before moving on to Novalis where he was publishing director. His storied career in Canadian Catholic publishing has seen him earn multiple awards in the industry across his years of service.

It was a rush of emotions for Sinasac once he found out he would be inducted, with feelings of both shock and self-described imposter syndrome.

“I always worked with so many people who are so qualified and so talented, and I always felt privileged to work for and with them. When I heard the news I was blown away,” he said.

Sinasac noted that relationships with his colleagues, above all else, were the most important contributor to his success. He was adamant that the ability to care for both co-workers and clients not as subjects or means to an end, but caringly as a friend is “absolutely essential” in both industry success and self-fulfillment.

His career was sparked by a passion for journalism dating back to the late 1970s when he began working part-time as a staff writer and editorial assistant at the Windsor Star.

“Journalism was a very exciting profession, it was a way you could change the world, and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

From there, Sinasac dove head-first into the industry, working for the Waterloo Region Record where he covered a multitude of local beats for over a decade as he rose up the ranks.

It wasn’t until 1995 that Sinasac’s work in Catholic publishing would take off when he was approached with the opportunity to work at The Catholic Register. He recalled the decision as a chance to perfectly blend two aspects that held supreme importance to him: faith and journalism.

Sinasac recalls his time working at The Register fondly to this day, as he continued its mandate to give readers a Catholic perspective on issues, both at home and abroad.

“It’s a small publication, with a small team, a small budget that punches well above its weight…  it was a really privileged place to work and I think we did some amazing things during those years,” he recollected, among those publishing the daily newspaper for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto and helping develop future Catholic journalists with The Register’s Youth Speak News program.

His role gave Sinasac the opportunity to travel the world to cover groundbreaking Catholic events such as the funerals of Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, in Kolkata, India, and Rome respectively.

“The Register gave me an opportunity to do things that I would not be able to do on a larger daily newspaper,” he said. “The Church is a global institution. It’s probably the largest health-care provider in the world and one of the largest providers of education in the world. Its outlook is global.”

In February 2009, he moved on to Novalis, the largest bilingual religious publisher in Canada, where he was responsible for publishing up to 40 books a year, along with the Living with Christ missalette.

Sinasac’s work at Novalis brought its readers a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Catholic faith over his 14 years at the company. Even after retiring, he’s taken on further leadership roles in the trade, notably on the board of the Catholic Media Association where he’s held a number of roles, most recently as treasurer for three terms.

“I’ve always felt part of my role in communications was the leadership and one of the things that was very important to me was making sure that people engaged in Catholic communications knew their craft and cared about excellence in that craft.”

Technically retired, Sinasac is hoping to spend more time on the golf course and with his grandkids. He also is staying busy on the advisory board for the U.S.-based Catholic publishing house, Liturgical Press, as well as helping out with Novalis and other publications whenever he can.

Sinasac will be inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame on May 30 in Chicago.

From The Catholic Register

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