The Diocese of Trenton’s monthly publication, The Monitor Magazine, has been recognized with three awards from the Catholic Press Association.

The awards were announced during the annual Catholic Media Conference, which was held July 4-7 in Portland, Ore.

The Monitor staff and its freelance partners received a Second Place award for Best Sports Reporting; a Third Place recognition for Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues – Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, and Honorable Mention for Best Reporting on a Special Age Group.

For Best Sports Reporting, the judges applauded contributing editor Rich Fisher’s December 2021 story, “Finding joy amid grief: RBC’s Alex Brown shares his emotional journey to the state title,” which focused on a Catholic high school student’s athletic achievements and perseverance during his mother’s illness and death.

The judges stated, “Well-written story focusing on sports and how it helped a young man negotiate the tragic death of his mother. Good use of multiple sources to tell the story.”

For Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues – Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, the judges recognized contributing editor Mary Morrell’s January 2021 story, “Social service agencies rise to meet pandemic’s cascading effects,” which highlighted how various agencies were stepping up to assist those in need during the global pandemic.

The comment from the judges: “Amazing expose about the hardships of helping the homeless, and the hardships of being homeless.”

For Best Reporting on a Special Age Group, The Monitor Magazine’s August, 2021 issue was presented with an Honorable Mention for its “Young Disciples – Young people living their faith” package, which highlighted a mix of stories about children and teens engaging in service endeavors – the diocesan Mission: Jersey service program, efforts of the LIFT Youth Group in St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, and NeXt Level of St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville – as well as other activities and programs such as parish Vacation Bible Schools. The award recognized the efforts of the entire staff and freelance contributors who compiled the Young Disciples package.

Rayanne Bennett, associate publisher of The Monitor Magazine, commended the talent and hard work that those who contribute to The Monitor demonstrate with every story and every issue. She said, “We are always pleased when our work is recognized, and particularly when stories on such compelling and important topics, as these gain positive feedback. We are truly blessed to have a team of staffers and freelancers who work very hard, who embrace collaboration and who always keep service to the faith at the center of all that they do.”

Along with The Monitor, other local Catholic communicators from the Diocese were also presented with Catholic Press awards.

Jeff Bruno, a longtime freelance partner of The Monitor and a member of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, had three works recognized.

For his photography work for Aleteia, the international Catholic news digital platform, where he had served as a photojournalist, Bruno earned an Honorable Mention in the Best Photograph – National/International Event category for his “March for Life 2021” entry.

For his photography work for Columbia, a publication of the Knights of Columbus, Bruno earned an Honorable Mention in the Best Photo Story – News category for his “We March On” coverage and a Second Place Award in the Best Photograph – General News Photo category for his “Supreme Convention Business Session” submission.

In the book category, three works published by Clear Faith Publishing, LLC, were recognized with awards.

In the book category for Liturgy Father William J. Bausch was awarded first place for his book, “Lay-Led Liturgies for Prophetic Times.” Father Bausch is a retired priest of the Diocese.

The judges remarked, “This collection of liturgical celebrations that can be led by a lay presider is an excellent resource and should find its way into the liturgical library of every faith community. The current need for lay-led liturgies has touched every liturgical assembly. The liturgies are very well organized; the prayer texts are theologically sound; the music selections are appropriate, and the reflections are thoughtful and evocative. A second collection is eagerly awaited!”

Second place in the books on Liturgy category went to “Thirsty and You Gave Me Drink,” a collection of homilies and reflections for Cycle C, edited by Deacon Jim Knipper, owner of Clear Faith Publishing and deacon in St. Paul Parish, Princeton. The publishing company also took home third place in the category Gender Issues – Inclusion in the Church for “Search Me: A Way of the Cross in Solidarity with the LGBTQ Community” by John T. Kyler.

Of the three book awards, Deacon Jim Knipper, who serves in St. Paul Parish, Princeton, and is publisher of Clear Faith Publishing, noted that Clear Faith is in its ninth year and "we are always grateful when our work, and that of our authors, is publicly recognized as being best-in-class.

"It reaffirms the work we are doing is exceeding the standards that the industry has set," he said. He added that the foundation of Clear Faith Publishing has been its homiletic series that inaugurated the start of the company. 

"Now with five volumes released and the next one to follow this Advent, each book, containing the great works of some 30+ contributors, have all received recognition from the industry," he said. 

"But more importantly, our books have helped evangelize our readers so that they have a deeper understanding of the Gospel message," Deacon Knipper said. "Over the years, as the company has expanded, it has allowed us to publish other works that we feel will enrich our readers and help them grow in their faith."