New Editor Appointed for America Magazine; he will take the reins on December 1

WASHINGTON, DC — Jesuit Father Sam Sawyer has been named editor of America magazine, a national Jesuit weekly publication based in New York.

Currently editor and director of digital strategy at America Media, of which the magazine is a part, Sawyer will step into his new role on Dec. 1, the feast day of America’s patron, St. Edmund Campion — who was himself a Jesuit. .

Sawyer will succeed Jesuit Father Matt Malone, who served as head of America magazine and America Media over the past decade as editor and president.

America Media’s board of directors has not announced who will assume the chairmanship.

Originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Sawyer was ordained a priest in 2014 and joined the America staff the following year.

“Since I’ve worked in America for seven years, I have as much experience as any other Jesuit in the United States working for America at this point,” Sawyer told Catholic News Service during an interview. telephone interview on May 13. “I would say the biggest surprise: Matt was appointed (editor) right after his ordination. The fact that I have been appointed and that there will be continuity with my presence at Americait is probably less surprising.

Sawyer wasn’t exactly born with ink in his veins. “More software,” he offered, as he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science before he heard the call to the priesthood.

Before entering the Society of Jesus, he worked as a software engineer after graduating from Jesuit-run Boston College and spent a year as a volunteer teacher at the college.

During his Jesuit training, he studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago and theology at Boston College; he also taught philosophy for two years at Loyola University Maryland.

Arriving at AmericaSawyer helped oversee its transition to the digital realm.

“It’s been extremely important to understand what we’re asking contractors and developers to do on the website, and to do some of that work myself,” he said, “because I’m a bit more profitable, with my vow of poverty.”

While still in training, Sawyer and some of his Jesuit peers created The Jesuit Post, and he was one of its first editors. It is an online media platform that offers a Jesuit and Catholic perspective on the contemporary world. It is now produced under the America Media umbrella.

Navigating the digital world of 0s and 1s is one thing, but Sawyer knows navigating the turbulent times of our times is another.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we’re in a time of pretty intense division, fragmentation, both in political life and in church life. I think that’s a tension that we’re going to continue to face, as far as I know, throughout my tenure as editor,” he said. CNS.

“I think what we are called to do is help in the work of reconciliation that Pope Francis calls us to in terms of synodality – how to speak together in communion even when we disagree on certain issues. important,” he said. “I think there are things that will only fuel the outrage machine.

“I think we’ll have to find a way to offer different direction – some form of communication and grace – that’s not always about a war.”

In a May 12 statement on Sawyer’s appointment, Malone said, “I have had the honor of working with him for many years now and have seen him earn the respect of his colleagues and the trust of our readers. .”

“He is uniquely qualified to lead America through the next chapter in our long and storied history. I will leave with the certainty that America is in good hands,” added the priest, who earlier announced that he planned to leave America Media at the end of the year.

Sawyer won’t be stuck in an office. He is the local superior of America House, a community of 15 Jesuits in New York, although he said he had asked his provincial to be relieved of these duties when he takes over as head of America.

He also attends St. Francis Xavier Church, a Jesuit parish in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan.

After his ordination and before joining America, he was an associate pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Washington. Holy Trinity is a Jesuit parish in the Georgetown neighborhood of the city.

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