Patrick M. O’Brien, the founding president and CEO of FAITH Catholic, announced in December 2020 that he is leaving the company to become Chief Communications Officer at Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s only federally recognized organ and tissue procurement agency. During his 20-year tenure, O’Brien led the company from a single diocesan publication to become the largest publisher of Catholic magazines in the nation, with more than 60 titles reaching 2.4 million readers annually.
O’Brien will be succeeded by Elizabeth Martin Solsburg, who currently serves as vice president and editorial director. Solsburg has been with FAITH Catholic since 2004.
“Leading the company has been my life’s work and greatest professional joy,” O’Brien said. “I thank God for the success of this company, and of course, Bishop Carl Mengeling, Father Charlie Irvin and the Diocese of Lansing for starting FAITH Magazine and putting their confidence in me. I thank Bishop Boyea, Father Dwight Ezop, and the Board of Directors, for their support and leadership over these many years. I thank the management team and staff for their excellent, award-winning work, and the highly engaged workplace environment that we created. I thank the talented writers, photographers, web designers, and freelancers who bring our content to life. Finally, I thank all the clients and supporters of this vision for Catholic media. Together, we started a movement of being more than Catholic communicators — we are content evangelists”
Many in the Catholic press considered O’Brien a disruptor because he promoted diocesan magazines over the more traditional diocesan newspaper model. After years of demonstrated success, his influence in the realignment of diocesan communications became obvious. While Catholic newspapers have declined dramatically in recent years, the Catholic press as a whole has grown thanks to the growth in diocesan periodicals. O’Brien’s urging that dioceses’ focus on evangelization over news as their communications priority has positioned the company to lead this trend well into the future.
“Patrick O’Brien has been an incredible asset not only to the Diocese of Lansing, but to the whole Church,” Bishop Earl Boyea said. “He has inspired me and my brother bishops to use our communications offices to fulfill our pastoral mission of making disciples of all people. It would be hard to overstate his influence and impact on Catholic publishing and communication in the Diocese of Lansing and across the country. More importantly, he has infused his love of the Lord into everything he does. His faithful leadership has been valuable to me, to Bishop Mengeling, and to everyone who has had the opportunity to work with him in these past 20 years.”
Patrick O'Brien was part of the team in 2000 that created FAITH magazine for the Diocese of Lansing. He developed the original concept for a new kind of diocesan publication, as well as the business plan that grew FAITH into the international company it is today. In 2007, he was also named president and CEO of Liturgical Commission Publishings (LCP). In 2009, he led the merger of FAITH Publishing and LCP to form FAITH Catholic. In 2012, MassTimes.org became part of FAITH Catholic and is the flagship of FAITH Catholic’s array of online solutions. Prior to forming FAITH Magazine, O’Brien worked in advertising serving clients such as Case, Caterpillar, Pfizer, Rhone Poulenc and Lincoln Mercury. He graduated from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit with a BFA in 1993, and completed two years of graduate work at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary. His resignation is effective January 8, 2021, and he assumes his position with Gift of LIfe Michigan on January 11, 2021.
Elizabeth Solsburg assumes the role of interim president and CEO on January 9, 2021. The company’s board of directors will appoint, and Bishop Earl Boyea will ratify O’Brien’s permanent replacement at its January 14, 2021 meeting. Prior to joining FAITH magazine in the Diocese of Lansing as assistant editor, Solsburg worked in a parish as its director of religious education. As FAITH grew from publishing one magazine to more than 60, Solsburg became the editorial director and, in 2014, she was named FAITH Catholic’s first corporate vice president. Solsburg attended St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan and is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Roosevelt University in Chicago and Loyola University in New Orleans.
FAITH Catholic is a nonprofit corporation sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing established to serve the Church. Its mission is to connect people with Jesus and his Church.