Letter from the editor: The secular catechist

By Chris Dacanay

When I tentatively joined The Troubadour’s staff nearly four years ago, the thought never crossed my mind that I would one day ascend to the editor-in-chief position.

Much less had I ever considered the various obstacles that I, as the editor-in-chief, would one day face. Those obstacles didn’t just affect me but the entirety of our newspaper community.

The Troubadour has been fundamentally changed during this semester and the last one. We’ve talked your ears off about the changes enough, so I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty.

Rather, what I want to reflect on in this penultimate online issue is how the newspaper has changed me.

Something I frequently tell people who ask me “Why journalism?” is the fact that I didn’t pick my major. My mom did.

I’ve always had an affinity for writing and storytelling, and, more recently, I’ve developed a strong passion for audio production. When I was deciding what to major in, my mom recommended journalism as a synthesis of my writing talents and my media interest.

I entered into Franciscan without any particular loyalty toward journalism. At the start, journalism was just a means by which I’d get my degree. Whether I would eventually seek a career in the field was a given, I assumed.

Through my communications studies and increasing work with The Troubadour, my knowledge of journalism grew. I developed very real skills in interviewing, note-taking, writing, organization and other areas.

Most importantly, I started to come out of my shell. Charging into the Jefferson County Courthouse and interviewing random strangers about COVID-19 policies really pushed me to my social limits. However, I resurfaced from that trial as a more confident and articulate young man.

Also, where there was once apathy toward journalism emerged genuine appreciation for the field. I used to look down on journalism, considering it to be not worthwhile because people had been telling me for so long that I would never make any money.

I have an open letter message to all of the people who talk denigrate certain fields and careers because they aren’t as lucrative: stop it.

Take a look at the parable of the talents. In life, metaphorically speaking, some receive five talents, some receive two and some receive one.

Just because you have less in the eyes of the world doesn’t mean your work isn’t worth as much. Each person has the potential to multiply, as a gift returned to God, what he or she has been given from birth.

God has called everyone to holiness according to His individual plan for each of us. If one person’s life plan was objectively better than the others, wouldn’t God just give everyone the same life plan?

Yet he doesn’t. Some people he makes doctors. Some people he makes lawyers. Come people he makes catechists. Some people he makes custodians. Some people he makes journalists.

God is glorified by each man or woman who does His will in their own unique way, according to his or her personal vocation. I’m just now starting to see that this is true — that there is no shame in being a journalist because God wants me to glorify Him in that career.

Furthermore, being a journalist is not a dishonorable profession. Perhaps, nowadays, the field is considered unsavory because of many underhanded practices that seem to be increasing in frequency.

However, Jesus is Truth, and a journalist’s job is to present the truth. Where would our society be without someone to deliver the truth to them?

I posit that journalists are like secular catechists, in that they present the Truth but typically without explicit religious content. The Truth can still be proclaimed through accurate coverage of an election or a council meeting.

Regretfully, these are all truths that I either didn’t recognize or took for granted until very recently. I am grateful, however, that God has revealed these truths to me before I graduate.

I’m right on the cusp of my next steps in life. I’ve got a job lined up — thanks be to God — and I’m hopeful for the future.

One thing is for certain: my time studying at Franciscan and working for The Troubadour has developed in me a profound appreciation for journalism.

Yes, my mom picked my major, but really it was the Lord whispering in her ear, telling her where to guide me. I’m excited to see what He will reveal to me next.