Finney receives Catholic press’ highest honor

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   DENVER – The Clarion Herald took home several major awards at the 2013 Catholic Media Conference hosted June 19-21 by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.
    Clarion Herald executive editor Peter Finney Jr. won the association’s highest individual honor for 2013 – the St. Francis de Sales Award.

   Finney also won second place among Catholic press editors for the Cardinal John P. Foley Award for Excellence in Catholic Journalism and first place in newswriting on an international issue with a report on the Louverture Cleary Catholic School in Haiti (“A song for Haiti, from the heart”)
    Kids’ Clarion editor Beth Donze also won first place in headline writing for the headline on a story about plenary indulgences: “Pardon me: What is a plenary indulgence?”
    In conferring the St. Francis de Sales award, the CPA said: “The vocation of a Catholic newspaper editor is a difficult one because it requires elite professionalism that stands upon and yet is separate from stout faith.
    “Sadly, many promising editors quickly discover deficiencies in one area or the other and move on to jobs that better suit their skills. However, no one in the history of the Catholic press could have better suited the vocation of news editor than Peter Finney.
    “No one can dispute his journalism skill. His clear, concise and unbiased reporting make his stories and columns the exemplar for professional journalists.
    “His gritty determination, innovative eye and subtle optimism served this publication proudly when the Clarion Herald would not be put down by Hurricane Katrina.
    “Rather, his savvy call to put the newspaper out and on the streets gave Catholics in the Crescent City real comfort that their church not only survived nature’s best blow, but was already reaching out and rebuilding.
    “A man of faith and father of a priest, Peter’s life could not offer a better testimony to the quiet, stalwart faith that permeates it.
    “All this is done with unequaled class, steady encouragement and enduring grace.”
    In commenting on the international story on Haiti, the judges wrote: “Peter Finney knows how to bring the world to our doorstep. In a time when it is too easy to forget about the long-struggling Haiti, he presents us with the vision of Cassandra and the dedication of Deacon (Patrick) Moynihan to revive us and get us moving again.”
    The Cardinal Foley Award for Excellence in Catholic Journalism was based on five columns, including one about the decision of Regina and Kenny Heine to carry their baby to term despite severe developmental difficulties. Their baby lived for 47 minutes but changed their lives.
    The judges said: “‘Forty-seven minutes and a life filled with meaning’ is an inspiring story that the writer told masterfully!”
    To read some of the winning entries, click here:

• 47 minutes and a life filled with meaning

• Amazing Grace: How God turned hatred into love

• A half-century of love and passing on the faith

• A father's iron will, deep faith a recipe for success

• In her home, Betty Matherne prays up a storm

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