Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.
And in the "Religion Category," the winner of the Emmy is … Audrey Sommers for Stories of Faith: Meghan’s Miracle!
Applause, applause, as the Emmy Awards got something really right a few weeks ago at the 34th National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Michigan Chapter ceremonies. The academy gave the Emmy to Sommers for her moving film of family love, courage, prayer and conversion.
Stories of Faith: Meghan’s Miracle aired on EWTN on Aug. 15, 2011. It was also shown on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s cable station, CTND.
EWTN will again air Stories of Faith: Meghan’s Miracle on Friday, Aug. 3, at 3am and 6:30pm ET.
The truly touching and inspiring story of the Salter Family and their 8-year-old daughter Meghan, who can’t speak and who needs 24-hour care, but who has brought countless souls back to prayer and to Jesus, appeared here before the film aired.
So when a story like this gets a major award, there’s a light shining on what television could be and should be.
Sommers knows because she has worked not only behind the camera, but in front of it, too. She was once a news anchor at a Detroit TV station. During that time, she was nominated several times for an Emmy for her work on crime stories.
“After 20-some years in secular media, I had submitted so many entries, crime stories, for Emmy nominations while at a Fox affiliate,” Sommers told me while talking about this Emmy win. But she never won. Until now.
Because God had other plans for her talents.
“It wasn’t until I got into Catholic media that I started winning the awards,” she emphasized.
Sommers joined the staff of the Michigan Catholic newspape,r then the archdiocesan Catholic TV station in Michigan.
Sure enough, she picked up a couple of Telly Awards, plus another professional society award for a TV special called Angels in the Caribbean. It presented the work of Food for the Poor.
The Telly Awards, which receives many thousands of entries from 50 states and five continents, is a premier award for outstanding film and video productions.
Then Sommers shot a TV show in Rome for World Youth Day 2000 that was another award winner.
As producer/writer/host of her own Sommers Productions, she then filmed Meghan’s Miracle.
This time, the Emmy nomination itself was a surprise. She recalls being in the library when she spotted online that she was nominated.
“I was crying; tears were coming down my eyes — for such a beautiful story like Meghan’s Miracle,” she said.
With a little speech in mind, just in case, she attended the red-carpet event in Detroit.
“When they announced the title of my show, I jumped up, forgot grace and poise, went jumping up the steps, and put my whole speech aside,” she said.
Beaming, she held the Emmy high.
“The first thing I blurted out was, 'Thank You, God! This one’s for you!'”
Sommers made sure to add that she sees this as an honor for Catholic television.
And Meghan shares in the Emmy, too.
Detroit’s Catholic network did a two-week rerun of the program after the announcement. And, best of all, Meghan's story is reaching more people again. Watch it directly here on at Meghan’s Miracles website, where you can learn more about Meghan and see many photos.
“Meghan brings people to the faith, and she brings people to prayer,” Sommers says.
Sommers hopes this show will lead to a series of like-minded spiritual stories focusing on Catholics’ faith through trials and tribulations.
She wants each show to confirm how God is working in the lives of people and families in their times of need and how their faith sustains them and even grows in these trials.
To film similar quality Catholic-themed programs, she needs to get the necessary sponsor or sponsors to help her (email her) in the work.
In the wings, there just might be another Emmy, along with all the inspiration.