IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz MuthBy GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) -- Julie Asher is the recipient of the
2018 St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association of the
United States and Canada.
award recognizes "outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism"
and is the highest honor given by CPA. It was presented during a June 15
luncheon at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay.
It's overwhelming," said Asher after she was handed the award.
can confirm there was no Russian collusion on this -- I had to say that coming here
from Washington," she added.
thanked her CNS colleagues, led by editor-in-chief Greg Erlandson, and his
also want to thank all of you, my colleagues in the Catholic press, for what you
do every single day and what you contribute to CNS. We are all workers in the
vineyard; we do it every single day to tell the story of the Catholic Church,"
noted that she didn't come from a journalism family but said she had some ink
in her blood because her father was an ink salesman and sold ink to several
small newspapers in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska.
always wanted to be a journalist and to tell stories," she said, adding
that she loves what she does.
love what we all do in the Catholic press: We tell stories of people's faith in
action, explaining what the church teaches and why, what the church says in
response to the issues of the day -- immigration, racism, the environment and
all manner of other things."
pointed out that some stories are difficult to cover, for instance, the sex
abuse crisis, telling the stories of the survivors and how the church is
addressing it or stories of parish closings and what that means to those who
call those parishes home.
also said there are plenty of stories that are more positive, such as what Catholics
do for the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant and refugees; stories about
Catholic agencies, volunteers who are there for those suffering through a
natural disaster or other calamity; stories about outreach to people in the
inner cities; and about the richness of Catholic life in mission dioceses.
has been national editor of Catholic News Service for more than 20 years,
coordinates all national coverage and book reviews. To many client editors, she
is the first person with whom they come in contact at CNS.
to working at Catholic News Service, where she started as a general assignment
reporter, she was a reporter at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald daily in Nebraska
and the Denver Catholic in her home state of Colorado.
has been a member of the Society for Professional Journalists for more than 30
years, joining as a college student. She has had many leadership roles in the
group and has been an awarded by the group for her achievements. She has
presented workshops at Catholic Media Conventions and served on nominating
committees for the Catholic Press Association.
She is also
the CNS intern coordinator and has mentored dozens of young college students,
many of whom now work at Catholic publications.
about her internship for Asher's nomination submission, Colleen Dulle, former
CNS intern who now works for America magazine, said Asher's "mentorship
was invaluable," noting that not only did she make time for weekly
meetings with interns but she also made sure they got what they hoped to
experience from their internships.
example, I told her I wanted to report in a press pool at a large event, so
Julie assigned me to a White House summit. She also pushed me out of my comfort
zone, in one instance assigning me a political story that landed me my first
byline in America magazine, where I am now an O'Hare Fellow. "
also said Asher "never turned down any of my requests for letters of
recommendation, showing how committed she is to helping me continue to succeed
in journalism."The other two finalists were:
Steve Landregan, who retired in 2016 from the Dallas Diocese, was a longtime
editor of the Texas Catholic, diocesan newspaper of Dallas, and served as
director of pastoral planning and research as well as diocesan archivist and
historian in a career that spanned more than 50 years.He was
a founding member of the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America and in 1979
and directed the Archbishop Sheen Center for Communications, producing Catholic
television and radio programming. His wide variety of Catholic communications
contributions include: newspaper editor, weekly columnist, books, magazine
articles, radio, television, educational television, web content, online blogs,
and social media.
Wilkinson, who took on the role of editor emeritus of The Tablet, diocesan
newspaper of Brooklyn, New York, earlier this year. Wilkinson began as The
Tablet's sports reporter in 1970 and was named editor in 1985.
1995, his column anticipating the papal visit to New York led to a personal
meeting with St. John Paul II. In 2016, the CPA honored Wilkinson with first place
for best editorial page or editorial section. Wilkinson also produced the
television segment "The Tablet Week in Review" for 18 years. In 2011,
he became the news director for the daily news show, "Currents," and
four years later spearheaded live coverage of Pope Francis' visit to Cuba and
this year, Wilkinson won the St. Francis de Sales Distinguished Communicator
Award at the Brooklyn Diocese's celebration of the World Communications Day,
year's St. Francis de Sales Award winner was Matt Schiller, outgoing CPA president and advertising and
business manager of Catholic New York.
St. Francis de Sales winners from Catholic News Service include: Tom Lorsung,
editor-in-chief, (1995); Jerry Filteau, reporter (2003); John Thavis, Rome bureau chief, (2007); Tony Spence, editor-in-chief (2010) and Jim Lackey, web editor
Erlandson, current CNS editor-in-chief, won the award in 2015, a year before joining the news service.
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to this report were Cindy Wooden in Green Bay and Carol Zimmermann in
Washington.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago CatholicBy Joyce DurigaCHICAGO (CNS) -- When world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma
brought his Concert for Peace to St. Sabina Church for the second time June 10,
there was a special feature -- five original works written with family members
who lost loved ones to gun violence as a tribute to the people who died.
are among 24 original songs created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's
Negaunee Music Institute and Purpose Over Pain, a St. Sabina organization of
parents who have lost a child to gun violence. All songs are available at
idea to create the songs came after Ma saw the memorial board outside the
parish that features photos of all the people connected to the parish killed by
first visited St. Sabina in spring 2017 on a Sunday in between morning Masses. The
senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, was told a man saying he was Yo-Yo Ma
was in the church and wanted to meet him, which he thought was a joke. It wasn't.
stopped by the church on his way to the airport saying he followed the priest's
work against violence and wanted to help.
lot of people tell me they want to help and do nothing. I always get my hopes
up and wonder what's next. About two weeks later I got a call and they said 'Yo-Yo
is serious. He wants to help,'" Father Pfleger said during a pre-concert news conference. "The only thing better than his talent is his spirit. He
used his gift to invite people -- not to come downtown, not to the Symphony
Center, not to Grant Park - but to 78th Place."
is the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant for the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra, said he now feels part of St. Sabina and even though he doesn't live
in Chicago, when he reads about the gun violence in the city he feels the pain.
and the Negaunee Music Institute asked people who lost family members to gun
violence to share the stories of their loved ones and their grief and pain with
songwriters and composers. The families and songwriters wrote the lyrics and
composers wrote the songs. It wasn't just mothers who wrote songs but siblings
and children too. Families gave some advice on the sound saying they wanted the
songs to be slow and jazz-like.
the songs are available to hear along with photos of those who died at
notesforpeace.org. In some cases, family members sang the lyrics themselves.
Desiree Smith recorded a rap song about her dad, Dontee Smith.
case of Rolanda Lakesia Marshall, who died in 1993 at 14, her song was the lyrics
of a poem she wrote.
anyone from the musicians and singers to the audience members would be
unaffected when hearing the five songs performed, Ma told reporters.
of the singers said to me: 'You know I'm going to be a mess today, but every
time I sing the 'Song for Terrell,' gradually I realize that my job is to
deliver the message and I have to do it in a way that is very clear,'" Ma
said. "That's the musician's role. You first empathize with someone but
then you actually have to deliver the message clear so someone else gets it."
on the songs for their children was another step in the healing process, said
Pamela Bosley, founder of Purpose Over Pain. Bosley's son Terrell, who loved to
play the bass guitar, was shot and killed in 2006 at age 18.
most of the parents, music is a way of healing," Bosley said, whose son
Trevon wrote the lyrics for "Song for Terrell," which Ma performed
with members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
lot of times we hold our pain within, but if somebody sits you down and says: 'Tell
me about your son and what you feel,' that allows you to express it and let it
out," she said. "There were a lot of emotions with this project, a
lot of crying but we made it through and with the help of God we were able to
always wanted to travel the world as a musician and now he will do that through
this song, Bosley said.
believe in my heart that Terrell and the rest of the children are looking down
on us and are happy that the orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma thought enough to write
songs on behalf of our children," she said.
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is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Abedin Taherkenareh, EPABy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The theory that well-being will
automatically flow down to everyone from the riches of the few is "a
lie," Pope Francis said.
The beatitudes show the way, he said, because they show
that holiness doesn't concern just the soul, "but also the feet -- for
going toward our brothers and sisters, and the hands -- for sharing with
May the beatitudes "teach us and our world to not be
wary of or leave at the mercy of the ocean waves those who leave their land,
hungry for bread and justice; may they lead us to not live in excess, devoting
ourselves to the advancement of everyone, kneeling with compassion before the
weakest," he said June 15.
This approach, he said, comes "without the easy
illusion that, from the lavish table of the few, well-being automatically 'rains
down' for everyone," he said.
The pope's remarks came in an address to people taking
part in a national congress of an Italian federation of expert artisans and
craftsmen known in Italian as "maestri."
Pope Francis reaffirmed how important work and making a
living are for each person, but he noted how so many are still excluded from
today's "economic progress" and are, therefore, deprived of future
prospects and hope.
"The first and most fundamental human right, for
young people most of all," is hope, he said, "the right to
A community that does not concretely promote jobs and
cares little for those who are excluded from employment opportunities
"condemns itself to atrophy" and will see increasing inequalities,
the pope said.
On the contrary, a society that is guided by a spirit of
subsidiarity, that seeks to bring to fruition the potential of every man and
woman "of every origin and age, will truly breathe with full lung power
and be able to overcome even the biggest obstacles."
To do this, work and life must be lived
"like a mission" and love for one's brothers and sisters "must
burn inside us with 'spiritual fuel,' which, unlike fossil fuels, never runs
out, but increases with use," he said.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy Dennis SadowskiFORT
LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- A planned pastoral letter addressing racism is on
schedule for a November vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Sheldon J. Fabre of
Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the bishop's Ad Hoc Committee on Racism,
said during the bishops' spring general assembly June 14 that the document
would reflect recommendations from the various audiences that have reviewed
drafts of the document.
said the document will focus on contemporary concerns affecting Native
Americans and African-Americans and the "targeting" of Hispanics with
racist language and actions.
components, he added, the document will:
"grave concerns for the rise in racist expressions" in American
society, public discourse and social media.
-- Address ways
racism affects institutions and public policy.
racism and raise awareness of its impact "on all of us."
-- Assist pastors,
educators, families and individuals in confronting racism.
Encourage honest self-reflection.
that recommendations that the document be "not too long" will be
letter will be rooted in the clear message of Micah 6:8, which calls on the
faithful "to act justly and to
love mercy and to walk humbly with your God," the bishop said.
Plans are being developed to implement
the document in dioceses and parishes so that people witness "the healing
hand of God through it," Bishop Fabre said.
After the report, retired Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San
Angelo, Texas, suggest that the committee incorporate listening sessions
in schools beginning this fall so that young people are "aware of this
When it comes to implementation of
the pastoral letter, Bishop Pfeifer stressed, "we want people to read it,"
urging that supporting documents that summarize its content be
prepared and distributed for families and individuals.
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on Twitter: @DennisSadowski- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Father Sean RaftisBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON
(CNS) -- A group of Catholic high school friends has kept in touch -- literally
-- since graduating more than 30 years ago from Gonzaga Preparatory School in
The way they've stayed connected
-- through essentially continuing a version of tag they started in high school
-- has received mixed reaction from people over the years, but that all changed
five years ago when The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article about them.
The piece gave the group almost
instant notoriety, as it was followed up by an ESPN segment and a slew of other
interviews. The group of 10, who call themselves the "tag brothers," hired
an agent and started talking about movie potential.
Fast forward years later and now,
they're "it" -- to use a tag expression -- because the story of the elaborate
ways they've sneaked up on each other, sometimes in disguise, for one month of the
year -- as per their signed agreement -- is now on the big screen in the movie "Tag,"
which releases nationally June 15.
The movie takes the story of this
group and runs with it, so to speak, with a fictionalized account. The original
10 friends -- nine graduated in 1983 and one in 1984 -- includes one priest, Father
Sean Raftis, pastor of St. Richard's in Columbia Falls, Montana. At a reunion,
the group was talking about their competitive high school tag and came up with
a plan to continue it long distance every February.
In the movie, the group is made
up of five friends who have been together since elementary school played by Ed
Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress. Like real
life, the movie tags occur at unlikely places including a funeral home and the hospital
The tag game, like what kids play
at recess, involves tagging someone and making them "it" until they
tag someone else. This grown-up version isn't so much running around as it is sneaking
up on people who live in different states and have careers, families or
ministries. The last person tagged at the end of February is "it" for
The Wall Street Journal story that made
this group famous points out that "players get tagged at work and in bed.
They form alliances and fly around the country. Wives are enlisted as spies and
assistants are ordered to bar players from the office."
The story highlighted one of the tags
in the 1990s that involved Father Raftis hiding in the trunk of a Honda Accord
waiting for Joe Tombari, who lived in California at the time but now teaches
math and physics at Gonzaga Prep where the game began.
Mike Konesky, another tagger, drove the car over to Tombari's with the idea of showing
him new golf clubs in his trunk. When the trunk opened, the priest reached his
hand out to tag Tombari but didn't realize he actually reached his friend's wife
who was shocked to see a hand reach out of the trunk, fell backward and hurt
When everyone attended to Tombari's
wife, Tombari, of course, was tagged.
In a June 10 interview with Father
Raftis from Montana days after he returned from the premiere of "Tag" in Los Angeles,
the priest told Catholic News Service that the 15 minutes or so he was in the
trunk felt like hours. He also felt bad that it involved an injury.
A decade or so later after this
tag, Tombari and Konesky went to Montana to nab Father Raftis at church. The
two sat in the front row and when the priest saw them he ended up mentioning
the game in his homily, stressing the importance of friendship. His friends
waited until Mass was over to tag him and then they went out for coffee and
doughnuts with parishioners after.
The best tag Father Raftis remembers
was when his friend since first grade, Mark Mengert, dressed
up like Gonzaga's mascot, except in the high school's costume, and tagged Brian
Dennehy with a note while he was attending a Gonzaga University basketball game
with his wife, all while the real mascot looked over and raised his arms in
confusion and security questioned the fake mascot.
All of this sneaking around, at
its core, is about friendship and staying connected, said Father Raftis, adding
that our whole faith is based on friendship with the communion of saints and angels.
The movie, he said, "gets
the friendship thing right." He notes that it has an age-appropriate R rating
for language but the "overwhelming arc of the movie is on the beauty of friendship
and staying friends."
The CNS classification for "Tag" is O-- morally offensive. The reviewer said the film had "skewed moral values, physical violence, drug use, partial nudity,
references to aberrant sexuality, fleeting profanities and pervasive rough
language." The end of the movie features a clip of the original group. But this moment of fame
isn't stopping them. Father Raftis said they plan to keep playing "indefinitely,
as long as we can."
All of the tag brothers attended
the movie's premiere in Los Angeles June 7 and they joined several members of
the cast the night before at a dinner at Renner's home.
This has all been pretty surreal
for the Montana priest, who was surprised to see "Tag" on billboards
and bus advertisements in Los Angeles. When there was initial talk about a
movie about the group, he said he thought it would be for DVD release or on the
Hallmark Channel, which is fine, he added.
The movie openings, including one
June 12 in Spokane where the original tagging began, is providing a rare chance
for the group of tag brothers to be together.
And that's where the movie comes
full circle because, as he put it, the point is: "Get a hold of someone
you haven't been in touch with for a long time and rekindle the friendship."
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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter:
@carolmaczim- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.