Archdiocese of Denver publications honored with 16 Catholic Media Awards

Last year was a big year for the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico. The challenges of shifting our team to a remote work environment while covering the many happenings within the Archdiocese of Denver and transitioning from a newspaper format to a magazine seemed insurmountable at times, but by God’s grace (and with a lot of coffee), we did it. At the same time, Catholic media all over the country faced challenges of their own, and we have been inspired by how other Catholic publications have shared the Gospel and told the amazing stories of the many faithful who make up the greater universal Church.

How humbled we are, then, to be recognized on a national level by the Catholic Media Association with 16 Catholic Media Awards. Between the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico, the recognitions included seven first place awards, five second place awards, three third place awards and an honorable mention. Beyond awards for our publications, some of the Archdiocese of Denver’s wider communications efforts were also recognized.

“A big congratulations to the team for their efforts and these achievements!“ said Kevin Greaney, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for the Archdiocese of Denver. “Transitioning from a newspaper format to magazine format, shifting the style and tone of our content and design, and losing the ability to work in-person during COVID presented challenges none of us could’ve predicted.  However, with the Lord’s help we were able to persevere and are grateful for the opportunity to continue spreading the Good News! I’m exceptionally proud of the team, and appreciate YOU — all our readers who give us a reason to keep writing. Thank you!”

See below for a list of all the awards won and links to the winning stories.

Denver Catholic

First place
Best Seasonal Issue or Section: Easter 2020 Together We Will Rise – Marketing and Communications Team

First place
Best Reporting on Vocations: A perpetual profession behind closed doors – Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

First place
Best Social Media Campaign: Pass the Basket – Marketing and Communications Team

Second place
Best Layout or Article Column – Diocesan Magazine: Fall on your knees: Where words fail, “O Holy Night” prevails – Simona Fava

Second place
Best Coverage – Religious Liberty Issues: Religious Freedom is More Than You Realize – Joshua Karabinos, Michel Therrien, STL, STD 

Third place
Communications Director of the Year: Joshua Karabinos

Third place
Best Interview: Signs of hope for the suffering – Aaron Lambert

Honorable Mention
Best Regular Column – Racial Inequities: Jesus desires to heal the wounds of racism – Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila

El Pueblo Católico

First place
Best Cover; Newspaper: El asombro de la Navidad; Dec 2020/Jan 2021 Christmas issue – Filippo Piccone, Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

First place
Best Interview: “Yo decía: ‘Nos van a matar’” – Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

First place
Best Writing In Depth: Tradiciones de Adviento (Corona de Adviento, Árbol de Navidad, Nacimiento, Posadas); Dec 2020/Jan 2021 – Rocio Madera

First place
Best Essay Reflecting on Faith Formation: La Virgen: Elemento central de la historia de la salvación (Enseñanzas, “Nueva Eva,” “Arca de la Alianza,” “Reina del Cielo y de la tierra,”) ; April/May 2020 – Rocio Madera and Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

Second place
Best Reporting on Family: Familia: Alcanza la felicidad, alcanza a Cristo; Feb/Mar 2020 – Vladimir Mauricio-Perez and Rocio Madera

Second Place
Best layout of an article: Consideraciones para el votante católico (p. 20-21) – Filippo Piccone

Second place
Best In-Depth Analysis: Navegando la liturgia eucarística (“En memoria mía,” Ritos iniciales, Liturgia de la Palabra, Consagración, Padre Nuestro, Comunión, Conclusión); Aug/Sep 2020 – Vladimir Mauricio-Perez and Rocio Madera

Third place
Best Feature Writing: Una verdadera celebración navideña; Dec 2020/Jan 2021 – Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

COMING UP: Moral courage and the many cultures of death

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CRACOW. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been two years since I was last in Cracow, where for three decades I’ve done extensive research and taught great students while forming friendships with many remarkable people. It was wonderful to be back in one of the world’s greatest cities, and soon after I arrived in late June, I took a long walk to see what had changed. The first major difference I noticed was that the plaza in front of the central railway station (named for my late friend Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, a World War II courier for the Polish Home Army and the man from whom the future John Paul II got real news via Radio Free Europe’s Polish service) has a new, strikingly modern memorial, dedicated to the memory of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński.

That name is not well-known throughout a western world that has largely forgotten the meaning and lessons of the Cold War. But if Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was right when he spoke about the Polish colonel in the mid-1990s, Ryszard Kuklinski was a genuine hero of the long, twilight struggle against communist totalitarianism — the man who helped prevent a bloody Soviet invasion of Poland to crush the nascent Solidarity movement.

An accomplished officer in the communist-era Polish Army, Ryszard Kukliński began to doubt the truth of what he had been told about the West when, as a member of an international commission, he met American military men in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. His doubts about communism and its purposes intensified by orders of magnitude in 1968, when the brutal Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia ground the Prague Spring to dust under the treads of Soviet tanks, and in 1970, when the Polish army shot Polish workers during labor strife. Privy to some of the Warsaw Pact’s most confidential strategic plans, he became convinced that, if the Cold War turned hot and the east bloc attacked the West, the Soviets would sacrifice Poland as retaliatory western tactical nuclear strikes hit the second wave of Warsaw Pact troops pushing west. So, in 1972, Kukliński, risking his life and his family’s safety, offered his services to the United States and for the next nine years was the West’s most important intelligence asset behind the iron curtain.

His greatest service to Poland and the cause of freedom came in the later months of 1980. Thanks to his efforts, the United States knew the entire order-of-battle the Soviet Union had organized to stamp out Solidarity, which had held its first formal congress in September 1980. With that information, and working in concert with the incoming Reagan administration, outgoing national security adviser Zbigniew Brzeziński, with the help of the AFL-CIO’s Lane Kirkland, was able to organize a comprehensive western response to a potential Soviet invasion of Poland: an international economic blockade that would have severely damaged the already-staggering Soviet economy. Faced with economic ruin, the Soviet leadership backed down and the Warsaw Pact divisions that had surrounded Poland withdrew.

Colonel Kukliński and his family were exfiltrated to the West; two of his sons later died under dubious circumstances that may have involved Russian retribution, and Kukliński lived out his life under an assumed name in the United States, dying in 2004. There was public controversy when he returned to his native Poland for a 1998 visit, with some charging that he had violated his officer’s oath by working for American intelligence for a decade. John Paul II, through various intermediaries, quietly passed the word that Kukliński was to be regarded in Poland as a national hero. Zbigniew Brzeziński, who held the exact same view, put it brilliantly, in a comment that appears on the Kukliński Memorial in Cracow: Colonel Kukliński was “the first Polish officer in NATO.” 

Communism was a distinctive form of the culture of death, for the effort to create “Homo Sovieticus” was a lethal assault on souls. Colonel Ryszard Kukliński took a courageous stand against that particular culture of death, knowing as he did that freedom is never cost-free: freedom lived nobly always requires sacrifice. His example should be pondered by Catholic citizens and Catholic public officials throughout the West today, who are called to resist, with similar moral courage and effect, that form of the culture of death that masquerades as the ideology of “choice.” May we and our elected officials be as principled and brave as the Polish officer who took what John Paul II described at the United Nations in 1995 as the “the risk of freedom.”