The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada presented nine awards to the Diocese of Burlington — including the prestigious top diocesan “Magazine of the Year” Award — during the Catholic Media Conference in June St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ellen Kane, the diocese’s executive director of the Office of Development and Communication, was recognized with a third-place award in the Communications Director of the Year category.

Other awards were:

+  Personality Profiles — Laity, second place, for “Finding Christ in the check-out line”

+ Best Regular Column — Spiritual Life, third place, for “Planting the seeds of faith,” “Gazing at the heavens above” and “Having faith”

+ Best Diocesan Appeal — Fundraising, first place, for the 2018 Bishop’s Annual Appeal: Love is Always a Gift from God

+ Best Diocesan Pastoral Message — Audio or Video, first place, for “Year of the Family Bishop Video”

+ Best New Website, first place, vermontcatholic.org

+ Best Social Media Campaign, first place, “Snapshots of the Priesthood”

+ Best Website — Diocesan, honorable mention, vermontcatholic.org.

“I could not be prouder of my communications team,” Kane said. “There is no ‘I’ in team, and every award we received is a result of the outstanding collaborative effort of each member of the team.”

The team includes: Cori Urban, content editor and staff writer; Stephanie Clary, assistant communications director and assistant magazine editor; Mary-Margaret Carroll, graphic designer; Alayna Masker, communications coordinator; Nancy Lamothe, development and communication coordinator; Steve Giroux, videographer; and regular and guest columnists.

“In less than four years we redesigned our magazine, website, online news, eNews, social media and print publications. None of this would be possible without the full trust and faith of our leader, [Burlington] Bishop Christopher Coyne,” Kane said.

This is what the judges said about each of the Diocese of Burlington’s winning entries:

+ Magazine of the Year given to Vermont Catholic staff. “Beautiful format. Well-crafted magazine. Excellent topic choices — a very forward- and outward-looking perspective, from an editorial standpoint. Seems like it would be very effective on multiple levels. This publication is legit. Great work!”

+ Communications Director of the Year. Ellen Kane “has led high-quality execution of diverse creative materials to pull in audiences that will value the messaging provided in them.”

+ Personality Profiles — Laity. Cori Fugere Urban’s story on Benjamin Winzenburg had a “great lead.” The story began, “Benjamin Winzenburg knows that ‘God moves in very mysterious ways and that anything can happen at any moment,’ even beginning the journey to becoming a Catholic in a grocery store check-out line.”

+ Best Regular Column — Spiritual Life. Columns were written by Kay Winchester on “Planting the seeds of faith,” “Gazing at the heavens above” and “Having faith.” The judges’ commented, “Peas out of snow; as preparation for resurrection? Very nice. ‘It is no accident that when we speak of God and heaven, we instinctively look up.’ ‘I’m just going to have faith in your faith’ vs. a No Trespassing sign. Nice images. Very smooth, elegant writing. Quite poetic and a joy to read. The photos are perfect.”

+ Best Diocesan Appeal — Fundraising. The diocesan Communication Department was recognized because, as the judges said, “First three sentences are so important and do a good job of explaining the need and why I should care. ‘Bishop’s Annual Appeal’ is front and center and a good tagline. The overall message of the materials is clear and concise and the visuals are a nice addition to the overall theme. The team did a good job at making the visuals really prominent in the overall message. The team did a nice job on the infographic — lots of good information that is reader friendly. The materials are easy to navigate, [and] the message is consistent throughout. Nice call to action at the end.”

+ Best Diocesan Pastoral Message — Audio or Video. The Communication Department was recognized for its Year of the Family Bishop Video: “The bishop’s message is relevant and timely. The video is highly produced and is an engaging call to action. The message is a good walkthrough of the Church’s mission and commitment to family. The central message of faith and family is consistent and clear through effective imagery and a powerful, inspirational message delivered by the bishop. Great job all around.”

+ Best New Website. The judges commented on the work of the Communication Department: “Colorful home page picture immediately draws in the viewer, but the true beauty of this site is its simplicity. Large, bright images are easy to navigate and invite exploration. Site anticipates needs of viewers with information (such as coming events), but also anticipates that viewers appreciate easy-to-read formatting. And the site also fulfills two final, most important needs — quickly getting readers to information they are seeking and to encourage exploration. This has it all.”

+ Best Social Media Campaign on “Snapshots of the Priesthood” by the Communication Department: “’Snapshots of the Priesthood’ is a creative idea that had one goal — increase vocations to the priesthood. This submission soars with its level of stories. The creators of the series didn’t settle for a typical, predictable story that we’ve seen before, they wanted the characters to be memorable and inspire. Father Gratton’s story was particularly compelling. Each story stays with you and makes you appreciate every journey. The target audience engaged with the content through a good number of shares and comments. Overall a well-done campaign. Exceptional content.”

+ Best Website — Diocesan. The judges did not comment on honorable mentions in this category. This entry was submitted on behalf of the diocesan Communication Department.

The Catholic Press Association has nearly 225 publication members and 600 individual members. Member print publications reach nearly 10 million households plus countless others through members’ websites and social media outlets.

The CPA vision affirms that effective communications lie at the heart of the Church’s mission to preach the Good News to all.

To receive the award-winning Vermont Catholic magazine in your mailbox, donate $24 or more to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Copies also are available at every parish.

CPA members’ print publications reach nearly 10 million households plus countless others through members’ websites and social media.

—Originally published in the Fall 2019 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.

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