KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Bishop Herbert Hermes, OSB, possesses a passion that took him from the farm fields of Kansas to impoverished areas of Brazil, where today he works tirelessly for human rights.
Now his story — and the Leaven reporter who shared it — received recognition and honor from the Catholic community across the United States.
The recognition comes in the form of a first-place Archbishop O’Meara Award for Leaven senior reporter Joe Bollig, who wrote “Prophet of Hope.”
The article, which appeared in the Oct. 21, 2011, edition of The Leaven, was “a superb profile,” wrote one of the judges in the “Interviews with Missionaries” category for diocesan/archdiocesan newspapers.
Through the Archbishop O’Meara Awards, the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States recognizes excellence in reporting on the worldwide mission of the Catholic Church.
Another judge described the article as “an impressively told story of a faithful missionary,” and it was called “warm and well-told.”
“I was very glad to see Joe Bollig’s piece on Bishop Herbert Hermes receive national attention,” said Anita McSorley, The Leaven’s managing editor. “I think the fact that this monk of our own St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison still works — even in retirement — in very dangerous mission territory in Brazil, is a tremendous inspiration to all of us here at the paper, and hopefully to our readers as well.”
Bollig’s award was presented at the Catholic Media Convention this summer in Indianapolis.
The three-day convention, which ran June 20-22, also featured the Catholic Press Association Awards, during which The Leaven was recognized for production manager Todd Habiger’s front-page design and for a special issue featuring the 2011 World Youth Day in Spain.
The Leaven received a second-place award in the tabloid category for Best Front Page for three consecutive issues — Aug. 26, Sept. 9 and Sept. 16, 2011.
“I’m very pleased with winning second place for best front page,” said Habiger. “That is always a tough category, since we compete with every Catholic paper in the nation and have done very well. It’s always been my goal to make The Leaven the best-designed paper in the Catholic press.
“Design is just one piece of the puzzle here at The Leaven. Without great writing, editing and photography, great design wouldn’t mean a thing. We work very hard at all those things and strive to make The Leaven the best Catholic newspaper out there.”
Judges in the competition also commended the time and resources spent on the topic of youth in the Sept. 16 special issue entitled “Kansas Youth.”
“Great use of quotes to highlight youth voices,” reads the judges’ commentary.
“Seminarian Nathan Haverland and youth minister Nancy Ruoff deserve most of the credit for our win in the Special Issue category,” McSorley said. “Those two did a great job on coordinating the World Youth Day coverage for us. Through them, and the other participants, our readers got a true feel for this global event.”