On Writing for a Catholic Newspaper

SJU Writing Studies student Kevin Pitts talks with Pete Sanchez.






Peter “Pete” Sanchez (06’) is a Staff Writer and Social Media Coordinator at The Catholic Star Herald. In 2017 he launched the podcast Talking Catholic, which interviews Catholics leaders in the Diocese of Camden.

Since I’m interested in Catholicism and writing, I decided to talk to Pete about his work:

Kevin: You said you viewed telling other people’s stories as a “calling.” What did you mean?

Pete: I truly believe God has given everyone gifts, and I am thankful that he has given me the gift of being able to share other people’s stories through writing, about how God is working in their lives, be it in their parish, school, home, or community.  It’s a calling that I feel I should use this gift, to not only give God glory, but make known his goodness.  God has blessed me with the ability to write, and I have a responsibility to build up His kingdom here.

Kevin: The Talking Catholic podcast has a segment called “Talking Saints,” which simply tells stories from the lives of Catholic saints. Why do you do this?

Pete: My entire life, it seems, I’ve been inspired by the lives of the saints – Augustine, John Paul II, Teresa of Calcutta, to name a few. Their time here on Earth is a blueprint for how all of us should live out our daily lives. At the beginning of every show, my co-host, Laurie Power and I start off with a quote from Pope Francis: “To be a Saint is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.”  We began this monthly program not just to show saints’ holiness, but their humanity and struggles; none of them were perfect.  God’s love and grace, however, transformed these men and women into models we can follow. They demonstrate that sainthood is possible for all of us.

Kevin: The Herald‘s intended audience is Catholics in the Diocese of Camden, which includes priests and laypeople of various ethnicities and levels of involvement. Writing for such a range of people, does your audience ever surprise you?

Pete: Honestly, I’m always surprised when I hear from my editor that one of my stories was picked up and shared by a national Catholic publication. It doesn’t happen often. On most days, I view my audience as the Catholic Community of South Jersey.  When I hear that one of my stories was read by someone in another state, it’s surprising and humbling. When it happens, it just reinforces the responsibility I have in my profession, as a Catholic who happens to be a journalist, to tell the truth.

Kevin: Is there a patron saint of newspapers for the Herald? Or have you chosen your own patron saint of newspapers, or writing in general?

Pete: In my office, I have artwork of Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and the Catholic press. In the 16th and 17th centuries, as a priest in Geneva, Switzerland, he would share the faith by writing it down and slipping it under people’s doors. I’m trying to do the same; get the Gospel message out to as many as possible.

You can find Pete’s work at the links below:


Talking Saints


Book Launch – Alum David Jackson Ambrose


State of the Nation Bookcover

State of the Nation
David Jackson Ambrose

Please join the author – David Jackson Ambrose – in celebrating the release of his debut work of fiction!


Where: Wooden Shoe Books

704 South Street.  Philadelphia PA

When:  Saturday, May 5, 2018

Time:  7 p.m. –  8:30 p.m.

There will be readings from the novel, free giveaways, refreshments and a book signing.

For more information about the novel, enter the author portal.

For inquiries about the event, contact Wooden Shoe Books: 215-413-0999



Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Author: David Jackson Ambrose (SJU Writing Studies Alum ’15)

Publisher: The TMG Firm

Format: Paperback, 978-0-9987-9939-1 ($17.95)

STATE OF THE NATION follows the day-to-day experiences of three friends as they navigate through a society that does not see them, at best, or at worst, sees them as degenerate bodies deserving extermination. The Atlanta Child Murders of the late 1970’s to early 1980’s serves as the undefined albatross that inhibits and prescribes behavior. The murders loom in the background of the story, hovering over the lives of three friends coming of age during a moment in American history that in many ways mirrors the present, as police violence perpetuated against Black youth continues to generate press. STATE OF THE NATION highlights the fact that missing black bodies were not an anomaly, it was the media attention of those particular bodies that was the anomaly, as black bodies were being defaced, defiled, and extinguished all over the country during that time. The Atlanta Murders were a continuation of neo lynching, a replication of an age-old American tradition reminding black youth that they are expendable. STATE OF THE NATION links elements of the Tuskegee Experiment of the 1940’s to the ever-present vulnerability of the black body, making use of the era in which the story is told, the cusp of the 1980’s, to hint at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, which began on the tail end of the Atlanta Child Murders.

Please come out and support David. Word has it our fearless leader, Tenaya Darlington, will attend.