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May 4, 2016

For the second year in a row, the Western Catholic Reporter has been named the top regional Church newspaper in Canada.

The Canadian Church Press, which gave the general excellence award, as well as eight other awards to the WCR, has honoured the WCR as the first or second best regional newspaper eight out of the last 10 years.

The CCP announced its award winners April 30 at its annual conference in Toronto. All the awards were for publications in 2015.

The CCP also gave first place awards to the WCR for the best news story and the best opinion article.

Reporter Thandiwe Konguavi won the award for the best news story in any Church newspaper for her report in the June 15 issue on Edmonton’s St. Thomas More Parish’s mobilization to welcome Syrian refugees.

Austin Mardon, an advocate for the mentally ill, won the award for the best opinion article for the second consecutive year. His article in the Feb. 23 issue – Ruling will Increase Suicide Temptation for the Mentally Ill – commented on the Supreme Court decision legalizing assisted suicide.

The WCR also won two second place awards.

Reporter Ramon Gonzalez and editor Glen Argan were honoured in the category of in-depth treatment of a news event for their coverage of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ in the paper’s June 29 issue.

Argan also won second place for the layout and design of an entire issue of the newspaper.

Konguavi, Gonzalez, Argan and former WCR editor Douglas Roche received third place awards for their contributions.

Konguavi’s article, Youth Find Life in the Bible in May 18 issue, surveyed the efforts of schools and parishes to help young Catholics learn more about the Bible.

Gonzalez’s obituary of Father Denis Hebert, an archdiocesan priest who served for decades in Nicaragua and founded the Roots of Change Foundation to fund his work, appeared in the WCR’s May 4 issue.

Argan’s editorial in the Jan. 26 issue focused on the true nature of satire in the wake of the bombing at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people.

Roche’s column, Peacemaking Today, appears monthly in the WCR. Three of his columns were selected as part of the nomination for the best regular column.

They covered Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, the awarding of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize to the Tunisian organization, National Dialogue Quartet, and a column suggesting ways ordinary people can work for peace.

Other major awards went to the Anglican Journal as the best national Church newspaper and Geez as the best national magazine.