Gutiérrez, new ‘Catholic Sun’ editor, brings fresh vision, faith to post

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The new editor of The Catholic Sun is a critical thinker with an eye for detail and a thirst for knowledge.

Tony Gutiérrez is editor of The Catholic Sun.

Adrian “Tony” Gutiérrez, former associate editor of the North Texas Catholic in Forth Worth, said he is committed to using various platforms of New Media to partake in the New Evangelization.

“One of the ways people get their news is on social media, like Facebook. I want The Sun to be what people are sharing,” he said. “I really believe in using these tools to our advantage to get our message out.”

The Catholic Sun, which first began publishing in 1985, reaches more than 117,000 households each month throughout the Diocese of Phoenix and boasts a strong web and social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Gutiérrez is pursuing a master’s degree in journalism with a focus on the relationship between religion and media, and plans to complete his term as social media chairman for the Knights of Columbus, Texas State Council.

“Tony is a great addition to The Catholic Sun and I am confident he will serve the people of the Diocese of Phoenix with joyful enthusiasm and faith,” said Robert DeFrancesco, associate publisher and diocesan director of Communications.

DeFrancesco said readers can expect big changes in the coming months, including a greater concentration on the print edition’s Spanish-language section, La Comunidad, and more faith-filled features. Additionally, Gutiérrez will help develop new ways of increasing engagement with the Catholic community in English and Spanish through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Finding faith

Religion was something Gutiérrez, 30, took a fancy to during high school while attending religious education classes at his home parish in Arlington.

“In high school I wanted to know what we believe and why we believe,” Gutiérrez said, but he added that he never got anything more than “general” answers.

His insatiable quest for truth and knowledge about the Catholic Church went unanswered and he walked away, turning to religions of the world. Gutiérrez studied Buddhism, Mormonism and Lutheranism. He attended a mosque, synagogue and a Baptist church, all the while honing his journalistic skills by interviewing the leaders of these faith communities.

During his search Gutiérrez said he did not self-identify as a Catholic, refusing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in high school, but attended all the preparation classes.

He struggled.

As he plodded along, the running joke among his friends was, “what religion are you this week?”

Gutiérrez, an Eagle Scout who spent summers in Arkansas on staff at a Boy Scout camp, happened upon a holy card during a rainstorm and picked it up.

It was St. Anthony.

“He’s the most dedicated Catholic journalist I’ve ever run across.”

Little did he know his journey was about to come full circle with three pivotal experiences his senior year: his “first” invitation to a Catholic community, an Eagle project at a Catholic Church that helped “reconnect me with the traditions of Catholicism,” and a Billy Graham revival altar call.

“They did a call to come down and accept Jesus Christ and I never, truly did that and I wanted to be a Christian and His follower,” Gutiérrez said. “And then they did something dangerous. They gave me a Bible and I read it.”

Sitting at his desk at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Phoenix, he recalled his frustration and disbelief when he realized “I was being led back to where I started. Intellectually, I knew the Bible was pointing to the Catholic Church and I just broke down and cried.”

Gutiérrez, the proud father of 6-month-old Kateri along with his wife, Tiffany, is a self-proclaimed “revert.”

“I don’t like to call myself a Cradle Catholic,” he said. “I was baptized, yes, but I relate my experience to that of converts. I say I’m a revert.”

Gutiérrez went through the RCIA program and was confirmed under the patron saint name of “St. Anthony” the summer of his high school graduation on Pentecost in 2003.

As for the whereabouts of the holy card, he still has it.

During his studies at the University of North Texas in journalism and history, Gutiérrez lived out his faith and served the community by participating in the Catholic Campus Ministry, the Knights of Columbus, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, and as an assistant scoutmaster for a nearby troop.

“I try my best to be open to the will of God,” Gutiérrez said. “I’m a sinner and I have my mistakes but I’m thankful to the Lord, the divine psychiatrist, who provides the sacrament of Confession. I want to serve Him the best way I can knowing my human limitations.”

Jeff Hensley, editor of the North Texas Catholic who worked alongside Gutiérrez for more than six years, said the new editor of The Catholic Sun is an insightful and dedicated journalist.

“Tony has tremendous faith, great imagination and his writing reflects the best that we find in the Church,” Hensley said. “He’s the most dedicated Catholic journalist I’ve ever run across.”

Gutiérrez now fills the chair left vacant by John David Long-Garcia in 2014 when he took the position as editor-in-chief of The Tidings and Vida Nueva in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Joyce Coronel, a regular and longtime contributor to The Catholic Sun, served as the newspaper’s interim leader for the past year.

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