I’m delighted to share with our readers some significant kudos: Last week EWTN and the Register received recognition by the Catholic Press Association for journalist excellence in several categories. The awards were announced at the CPA annual convention held this year in Charlotte, NC. Judging is conducted “by a group of experts and Catholic press professionals,” according to CPA guidelines.

Most notable was the first place award for Best Front Page (broadsheet) for the Feb 24, March 10, March 24 print editions, which highlighted coverage of the papal transition (pictured). They were put together by our Managing Editor Tom Wehner, Associate Editor Amy Smith, News Editor Tom McFeely and Graphic Artist Melissa Hartog.

Also, recognized as equal in excellence were Rebecca Taylor’s columns on bioethics. Describing the reason for choosing this first place winner judges wrote that Taylor’s work provides an “informed, interesting approach to this very complicated topic, written in a way that most readers can digest and learn from.”  Here is the sampling of Taylor’s work that was submitted: “Three-Parent Embryo Modifying Future Generations,” “The Church Is Not Backward, But Forward,” “Orphaned at Conception.”

Marriage isn’t an easy topic to cover these days, as the lobby to change the institution is ferocious. That’s why it is a particular honor to have been recognized in second place for Best Coverage of Marriage. Here’s the coverage that was exemplarily in explaining the Church’s position: “In Paris, an Uplifting Show of Support for Marriage: Hundreds of Thousands March in Protest of Government’s ‘Marriage for All’” by Edward Pentin; “Protecting Marriage: Common Myths About Wedlock and Divorce” and “Creating Communities Centered on Marriage” by Father Juan Puigbó and Hilary Towers.

One sweeping award for General Excellence (third place) produced this praise: “Page after page the Register delivers thoughtful news feature articles coupled with great art. The articles delve in depth on news features for a satisfying portrait of important people and issues in the Vatican and the U.S.”  This description hits upon a core part of our mission, which in the words of our publisher Michael Warsaw, is to recognize that there is an “important catechetical opportunity at the intersection of faith and culture.”   Contributing to that mission are our bloggers. In that category, Jimmy Akin’s blog took home a third place award. (Sarah Reinhard also received an award for her work at Catholicmom.com. And frequent Register writer and EWTN TV show host Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle was recognized for her book Catholic Mom's Cafe: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year.)

Other honorable mentions include recognition for best in: Coverage of Religious Liberty with writing by Joan Frawley Desmond and Benjamin Wiker; Editorial on and international issue for “Who’s Practical Now?” and Coverage of Pope Francis’ Election and the Transition Process with writing by Peter Jesserer Smith, Edward Pentin and Scott Hahn.

Additionally, EWTN took home a Gabriel Award for Religious Television Station of the Year and EWTN News Nightly reporter Wyatt Goolsby’s work on “Catholic School Going Back to the Classics.”

While the staff, to a person, isn’t primarily in this business to collect accolades, it’s nevertheless gratifying for us to receive notice from our peers in the Catholic Press for the positive impact we’re making. Congratulations Register staff, correspondents and bloggers for the fine journalism in service to the Church.