Our Sunday Visitor announced Wednesday that it has selected award-winning Catholic journalist Peter Jesserer Smith as the national news and features editor for the new OSV News wire service that launches Jan. 1, 2023.
“I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity to join Our Sunday Visitor as we build on the great legacy of Catholic News Service with journalistic excellence that equips and inspires Catholic readers, providing them the information they need to live out their own mission as faithful followers of Jesus Christ in today’s world,” Smith said.
OSV News is Our Sunday Visitor’s response to the void created by the U.S. Catholic bishops’ decision to shut down their news agency, Catholic News Service, by the end of the year. OSV News will go live at CatholicNews.com at the start of next year to provide national and international news, analysis, editorials, commentary and features from a Catholic perspective every day. In addition to original OSV News content and an ever-growing library of materials from OSV’s periodicals and websites, OSV News will feature articles from a wide range of content partners, including the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications and Aleteia, the world’s largest Catholic website.
“As a Catholic journalist, I took to heart Pope Francis’s insights on the importance of dialogue, personal encounter and fostering communion between people, and that has defined my vocation,” Smith said. “Whether or not a person is Catholic, what they will find in OSV News are stories shaped by our commitment to tell the truth with faithfulness to the Gospel, to bring different points of view and the Church’s own teaching into dialogue and to foster unity rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. This is how we will champion the Church and advance its mission.”
Smith is an award-winning Catholic journalist who joins the OSV News team after nine years as a staff reporter for the National Catholic Register. During that time, he covered a wide array of news, events and issues in the United States, Canada and internationally. He covered Pope Francis’s historic visits to Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. As a 2014 Catholic Relief Services’ Egan Fellow, he went to Lebanon and Jordan, covering the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis, and he continued to report on the enduring faith amid the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Smith has engaged readers with the vast diversity that exists in the unity of the Catholic Church, particularly the rich life, faith and insights of Eastern, African American and Native American Catholics. He contributed an essay on Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman for the book “Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood” (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021) and is currently editing a book for the Witness to Love marriage ministry.
The Catholic Press Association honored Smith’s work with many awards over the years, including the prestigious 2022 Gerard E. Sherry award for his series on Native American/First Nations Catholics. Smith’s contributions to the National Catholic Register helped the newspaper achieve first-place recognition by the CPA three times over the course of nine years.
“Peter Jesserer Smith has demonstrated the kind of excellence in Catholic journalism, with complete commitment to the entirety of the Church’s teaching, that we wanted in OSV News’s first national news and features editor,” Gretchen R. Crowe, OSV News editor-in-chief, said. “Peter has a heart for what Pope Francis calls the ‘joy of the Gospel,’ and as a journalist, he seeks out those parts of the Church at the peripheries to put them front and center before the Catholic audience. I’m looking forward to working closely with Peter as we build the OSV News team that will serve the truth with charity, and engage our audience with the hope of the Gospel.”
Smith holds a B.A. in philosophy from Christendom College, where he first gained experience with journalism and later met his wife, Alexis. He is a Knight of Peter Claver in Sister Thea Bowman Council, No. 406. Smith is also an instituted acolyte in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a Roman Catholic diocese with Anglican traditions founded by the pope, and is an active member of his parish.