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The Catholic Spirit garners journalism awards

June 27, 2011

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The prospect of winning awards isn’t what motivates us Catholic Spirit staff members to produce the best newspaper and website that we can. We’re driven instead by the call to spread the Good News, to keep area Catholics informed about important issues in the church and to inspire them to live their faith to the fullest.

But it is nice when our work earns kudos from peers and fellow professionals. That happened last week at the Catholic Media Convention in Pittsburgh, where The Catholic Spirit garnered several Catholic press awards.

Two awards deserve special mention:

• Associate publisher Bob Zyskowski was honored with the 2011 St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association. It is the CPA’s highest award, recognizing an individual’s “outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism.”

• The Catholic Spirit won second place in the “general excellence” category for large-circulation newspapers. The award takes into account all aspects of a publication — from the writing and photography, to the design and editing. The judges called it a “clean, well-organized, well-edited paper” with “good local content.”

Other awards TCS received from the CPA were:

• 1st place — best editorial section for “This Catholic Life.”

• 1st place — best editorial on a national or international issue for “Woody, Buzz and the meaning of life” by editor Joe Towalski.

• 2nd place — best news writing for the TCS news team series “7 Principles for Planning,” which examined the challenges facing the archdiocese as it prepared its strategic plan for parishes and schools.

• 2nd place — best regular arts and leisure column for “The Outdoors,” by photographer/writer Dave Hrbacek.

• 2nd place — best coverage of the Year for Priests for a special section titled “Celebrating Our Priests.”

• 2nd place — best editorial on a local issue for “Health care policy: Whose side is God on? by Joe Towalski.

Other Catholic organizations also presented awards recently, and The Catholic Spirit was recognized by two of them:

• Dave Hrbacek was awarded the National Right to Life’s 14th Annual Excellence in Journalism Award for his story, “Electrician sparks life commitment by turning down abortion clinic job.” NRLC President Carol Tobias said, “We are proud to recognize Dave Hrbacek for his outstanding work and extend our deepest gratitude for his outstanding journalism on behalf of life.”

And from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, TCS received three awards:

• Bob Zyskowski garnered first place honors in the “Visits to the Missions” category for his story package, “Venezuelans, priests celebrate 40-year gift exchange.”

• Staff writer Julie Carroll and Dave Hrbacek took first place in the “Mission News” category for their story “Situation in Haiti still critical.”

• Deacon Mickey Friesen, director of the archdiocese’s Center for Mission, received an honorable mention for TCS’ World Mission Sunday 2010 supplement.

Have an idea for a possible award-winning story? Contact us and give us the details. We always enjoy working on a good story!

 

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Awards to Twin Cities area Catholics put a smile on your face and a tear in your eyes

November 1, 2010

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Several Catholic groups are following the lead of The Catholic Spirit and honoring local people and groups for their outstanding efforts on behalf of good causes.
The Catholic Spirit’s ninth annual Leading With Faith Awards luncheon — see story and honorees at http://thecatholicspirit.com/featured/2010-leading-with-faith-winners/ — kicked off the fall season.

In late October the Office for Marriage, Family and Life of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis named its “2010 Champions for Life”: Ginny Sullivan, a teacher at Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, who for 20 years has helped generations of students take her lessons about aiding pregnant women into adulthood; teenager Patti Durham, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in Savage who helps handicapped peers at Burnsville High; Merlyn and Bernadine Scroggins, who have opened their home seven times to pregnangt girls in need; and to the Respect Life Groups of South Central Minnesota, who pooled their resources to bring pro-life speakers to their communities.

A week later, many in a crowd of Catholic Community Foundation boosters were wiping the mist from their eyes when the nation’s largest community foundation serving Catholic philanthropy gave is 5th annual Legacy of Faith Award to Jerry and Delores Slawik.

It was at a lunch that the Slawiks had with Archbishop John Roach and local builder Larry McGough that the Catholic Community Foundation was established, and that might have been cause enough for the Slawiks to be honored. But there’s more to the story.

The death in a boating accident of Jerry’s younger brother, Skipper, was the inspiration for the the Skipper Slawik Foundation, designed to help pay the tuition of students who other wise couldn’t afford to attend Catholic and private high schools. The Slawik’s themselves used to review all the applications, but in 1996 asked the aid of the Catholic Community Foundation to assist. The Skipper Slawik Foundation has distributed more than $14 million and aided more than 1,000 students. Eyes started to mist up when testimonials were read from some of those 1,000 students, thank you notes to the Slawiks for helping them attend schools that they never thought possible.

Delores Slawik shared the credit with members of the extended Slawik family, the staff of the Catholic Community Foundation, and especially Judy Sheehan, who has worked for the Skipper Slawik Foundation for 56 years.

“I think God is with us (in remembering Skipper through this scholarship fund). He was a little boy frozen in time, and Jerry has kept his memory alive.”

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