The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. It is the successor to the Eastern Kansas Register, which was first launched in 1939. The Leaven provides weekly news to more than 186,000 Catholics in the archdiocese, which spans an area of 12,524 square miles in 21 counties, including those in the Kansas City area, Lawrence, Ottawa, Topeka, and Emporia. Much of the news reported in The Leaven is derived from the activities of the 105 parishes spread across those counties and their parishioners.
The Leaven is published weekly every Friday, September through May, and bimonthly from June through August, and is mailed into the home of every registered Catholic. The Leaven is a 16-page tabloid; subscriptions cost $21 a year, and are paid through parish envelopes, although individual subscriptions are available on request.
Meet the staff
Father Mark Goldasich: Father Mark was born and raised on Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan. He attended St. John the Baptist Grade School and Savior of the World Seminary. He has a BA in German from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. He did his theological studies at the North American College in Rome and has an STB and an STL (with emphasis in moral theology) from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in 1981 and has served parishes in Topeka, Roeland Park, and Kansas City, Kan., and is presently pastor of Sacred Heart in Tonganoxie. He enjoys reading, bowling and procrastinating in his spare time.
Anita McSorley: Anita McSorley, managing editor of The Leaven, has over 30 years’ experience in book, magazine and newspaper editing, including stints as the assistant editor of the “Diplomatic Papers of Daniel Webster” at Dartmouth College and then in the public relations departments of Texaco, Inc., and the Rockefeller Group in New York. Anita made the move to newspaper editing when she came to The Leaven in 1988, where she has been ever since. Anita is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kan., and enjoys, in her spare time, giving her children and her staff good advice that they never take.
Todd Habiger: Todd Habiger has been the production manager for The Leaven since 1995. Under his direction The Leaven has won multiple design awards from the Catholic Press Association. Prior to working at The Leaven, Todd was an award-winning writer for The Catholic Key newspaper in Kansas City, Mo. Todd is married to Lori Wood Habiger, a former Leaven employee herself. They have two children — Paige and Connor, and one dog — Joli.
Joe Bollig, Senior Reporter: Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He is a father and grandfather to a growing tribe of feral cats, never met a pie he didn’t like, thinks Ford missed the mark with the 2002 Thunderbird, and would like to own a 1959 Buick Electra or a 1949 Ford F1 pickup. His educational objective is to obtain a master’s in theology or certificate in welding. He aspires to be the first member of his Scout troop to hike Philmont with a portable defibrillator.
Jill Ragar Esfeld: Jill Ragar Esfeld is a freelance writer/photojournalist with more than 30 years experience in magazine, technical and direct-market writing. Her copy has won several advertising and feature-writing awards. She’s been a regular contributor to The Leaven since April 2004. She is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa.
Moira Cullings: Moira Cullings was born in Leawood, Kan. where she attended Nativity Grade School followed by St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park. She graduated from Benedictine College in May 2015 with a marketing degree. At Benedictine, Moira was a midfielder on the women’s soccer team. She joined The Leaven staff in September 2015 and is the social media manager. Moira is passionate about traveling, spending time with family and friends and binge-watching Netflix.
Beth Blankenship: Beth Blankenship grew up in Casper, Wyo. and still has family there. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in music therapy. She has lived in New York City (the Bronx), St. Louis and Cincinnati, following her husband and learning all about adapting. Beth enjoys working at The Leaven very much. She also enjoys reading, playing piano, working and playing with her grandchildren.
Olivia Martin: Olivia grew up on a farm near Salina, Kan. She has a BA in English literature and Spanish from Benedictine College. Olivia taught English and religion in Spain before joining The Leaven as a reporter in 2018 and still loves to travel. She enjoys Hitchcock films, Elderflower lemonade, hip-hop, Spanish tortilla, and has an aptitude in the art of confusing others, for purposeful enjoyment and otherwise.