July 1, 2011

Archbishop Buechlein honored with CPA’s highest award for publisher; Criterion staffers win several other awards

Assistant editor John Shaughnessy’s story about sisters’ Kelly and Megan Gardner’s mission work in Peru won first place in the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith’s “Interview with Missionaries” category. The sisters are graduates of Bishop Chatard High School and members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, both in Indianapolis. The Criterion recently won four awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Assistant editor John Shaughnessy’s story about sisters’ Kelly and Megan Gardner’s mission work in Peru won first place in the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith’s “Interview with Missionaries” category. The sisters are graduates of Bishop Chatard High School and members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, both in Indianapolis. The Criterion recently won four awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Criterion staff report

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, publisher of The Criterion, the archdiocese’s newspaper, has received the prestigious Bishop John England Award from the Catholic Press Association. It was one of four awards that the newspaper staff recently won from the Catholic Press Association and the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

The England award is named for the Irish-born bishop of Charleston, S.C., who founded The Catholic Miscellany, the oldest Catholic newspaper in the United States in terms of continuous publication.

Presented annually, the award recognizes publishers in the Catholic press for the defense of First Amendment rights, such as freedom of the press and freedom of religion. It is the CPA’s highest award for publishers.

The award also recognized Archbishop Buechlein for his longstanding commitment to his column, “Seeking the Face of the Lord,” published weekly in The Criterion.

When the nomination was made, Archbishop Buechlein had never missed a deadline for delivering his column since he became the leader of the archdiocese in 1992.

“Intensive radiation and chemotherapy treatments through much of 2008 to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma did not stop him from meeting his deadline,” the nomination read.

“In fact, the archbishop’s commitment to The Criterion is evident by his regular practice of delivering columns weeks ahead of time.”

Archbishop Buechlein’s commitment to the Catholic press goes back even further to his days as shepherd of the Diocese of Memphis.

While serving as bishop there, he developed his practice of penning a weekly column for the readers of Commonsense, the newspaper of the Diocese of Memphis.

The archbishop published columns for more than 1,000 consecutive weeks in those two Catholic newspapers. That amazing streak came to an end when he suffered a stroke three months ago. He continues to recuperate from his health setback, and continued prayers are appreciated.

When he first became a bishop in 1987, Pope John Paul II asked then-Bishop Buechlein to emphasize his role as teacher.

“This weekly column is an important opportunity to do so,” he wrote in his first Criterion column in 1992.

Nearly 19 years later, the archbishop continues to do just that. He views the newspaper as his primary tool of evangelization, and his columns touch on important information about our faith and the life of the Church.

Archbishop Buechlein also believes Catholic newspapers have a key role in dealing with the challenges facing the Church.

“In order to provide information pertinent to the Church,” he wrote, “a Catholic weekly will not only publish the good news about the Church, but when there is bad news it too is published.”

Archbishop Buechlein has served as consultor for the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee to oversee the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, co-moderator of the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Dialogue, member of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, consultor for the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, and member of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.

Assistant editor John Shaughnessy was recognized as a 2010 Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara journalism winner for outstanding world mission coverage. He won first place in the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith’s “Interviews with Missionaries” category for a feature about Indianapolis residents Kelly and Megan Gardner.

The story, “ ‘There are so many ways to help’: Two sisters share an amazing adventure of hope, faith and caring in a foreign land,” focused on the sisters’ mission work in an impoverished area of Peru. Graduates of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, the Gardners are members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, also in Indianapolis.

The awards are named for the late Archbishop O’Meara, who served as the national director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1966 to 1979, and was Archbishop Buechlein’s predecessor as shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis from 1979 to 1992. The society is responsible for informing Catholics about the Church’s worldwide mission, and advising them of ways they can participate in that mission.

This is the fifth consecutive year that a staff member has been recognized for reporting on mission work, noted Criterion editor Mike Krokos.

“There is no doubt that Archbishop O’Meara is smiling right now,” said Krokos as he reflected on the staff again being honored. “With the history of the awards and their connection to our late archbishop, we were very pleased to once again be recognized.”

The CPA awards that staff members won for material published in 2010 include:

• First place—Best Regular Column, Family Life, reporter Sean Gallagher, for his monthly column “Faith and Family.”

“These columns offer depth and good spiritual reflection on everyday life with a family of small children,” judges wrote. “Good use of literary and scriptural references entwined with the family life anecdotes that make these columns helpful and inspiring.”

• First place—Best Sports Journalism: Sports Feature or Column, assistant editor John Shaughnessy, for “Bigger than the game: Special bond forms between Catholic school, public school on Indianapolis softball diamond.”

“Great story with a clean, flowing narrative. Touching, without being heavy-handed or corny,” judges wrote. “Wonderful quotes. The Gospel comes to life—through sports.”

Greg Otolski, The Criterion’s associate publisher, said the award recognition was well deserved.

“We are especially happy that Archbishop Buechlein was recognized for his strong commitment to his newspaper and the Catholic press,” he said. “It is also always affirming when our staff is honored for their excellence in journalism and dedication to the evangelizing mission of the Church.” †

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