Wanted: Writer and communication specialist who knows and loves the church
April 18, 2019
When John Donahue first suggested I write a column to try to find someone to fill the Catholic Voice’s open graphic designer position, I thought he was nuts.
John is our advertising account representative, and he has a strong interest in getting a top-notch candidate: He will have to work closely with the new hire to create ads for a broad cross-section of our advertising clients.
Of all people, John has perhaps the best appreciation of the power of the Catholic Voice. On a regular basis he hears from our clients about the effectiveness of their ads. Though advertisers who believe in the mission of the church and want to support the pastoral vision of our archbishop are most welcome, more often we hear that the ads in our paper are just good for business.
So John knew what he was talking about with his suggestion. Still I hesitated. Could a column by the editor really compete effectively with internet job boards? Not having much to lose, I decided to give it a try.
It turns out that my column did play a role in the decision of some of our best candidates to apply. We are now making good progress in identifying the applicant who will be the best fit for our position. (And if you played a role in this process through prayer or encouraging someone to apply, thank you.)
Which emboldens me to take the next step. For some time the Catholic Voice has had an opening on its editorial staff for a reporter. The primary responsibility of this person will be to develop content for the newspaper by writing articles and taking photographs. As we evolve further into more of a multi-media organization, this person will also take on some other duties: updating our website, posting on social media, assisting with graphic design, perhaps some podcasting or video production, etc.
To be frank, most diocesan newspapers would fill this position with a journalist who expresses some interest in covering Catholic issues and events. Depending on the organization, they may or may not require this person to be a practicing Catholic.
In light of St. Pope John Paul II’s emphasis on the new evangelization and the archdiocese’s pastoral priorities, I think that’s misguided. It’s more important to hire someone who knows and loves the church and who also happens to be a good writer, than it is to hire an accomplished journalist with only a tepid interest in all-things-Catholic.
Why? Because a good writer, with some instruction and guidance, can usually become a good journalist in a short period of time. An individual who is not yet a devoted follower of Christ – even though they might express an interest in that direction – may not ever become one.
The first condition chiefly pertains to the mind, while the second pertains to the heart. With the right aptitudes, the journalistic habit can be taught, for it’s a habit of mind. Love of the church, on the other hand, belongs to the realm of virtue – which is more difficult to acquire. Typically it begins with a commitment to pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ, and is rewarded in due time by an infusion of grace.
Think of it this way. How is it possible to help people encounter Jesus if you haven’t encountered him yourself? How can you help equip people as disciples unless you’ve already been provisioned yourself with the requisite knowledge? How can you help them show mercy to others unless you have been profoundly touched by the love of Christ and now want others to experience that same love?
So here’s our proposition: Do you know of a practicing Catholic who understands their faith really well – as evidenced by a degree in theology, Catholic studies or similar course of study? Would this person like nothing more than to communicate their faith to others as the fruit of their love for Christ and his church? Does this person also have a strong aptitude for the written word – whether they have written for a newspaper in the past or not?
If you know of such a person, please have them prayerfully consider applying for our position of Senior Writer/Communication Specialist on the archdiocesan website. And even if you don’t, please join us in praying that we hire the right person. Thank you so very much!
Dan Rossini is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.