Witness to Hope Award

In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s celebration of World Communications Day on June 5, more than 250 people attended the second annual Light of Faith Awards Ceremony and Communications Expo held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park on May 12.

Photo: Father David Scotchie sitting next to his father, Larry Scotchie, reacts to receiving the Witness to Hope Award, the highest honor bestowed at the Light of Faith Awards Ceremony on May 12 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. Photo by Frank Weber.

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By Robyn Kurth

In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s celebration of World Communications Day on June 5, more than 250 people attended the second annual Light of Faith Awards Ceremony and Communications Expo held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park on May 12.

Photo: Father David Scotchie sitting next to his father, Larry Scotchie, reacts to receiving the Witness to Hope Award, the highest honor bestowed at the Light of Faith Awards Ceremony on May 12 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. Photo by Frank Weber.

Bishop John Noonan presented more than 40 awards to highlight the many ways in which the Good News is communicated throughout the Diocese of Orlando. 

“I congratulate all of you. Seeing what you have done and your talent, I am happy to be the bishop of this Diocese,” Bishop Noonan said during the awards ceremony. “All of these are a message of hope and that is the greatest gift of Christ of to all us. Thank you for the inspiration and sharing the message of hope.”

The event included two award ceremonies. The first one recognized students who participated in the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Multi-Media Youth Arts Contest and the Diocese of Orlando Vocations Poster Contest as well as students who joined a video collaboration project between Annunciation Catholic Academy and Bishop Moore Catholic High School.

The second ceremony recognized parish, school and diocesan representatives who submitted entries in 12 categories related to communications, such as websites, videos and printed materials.

“We commend the people responsible for the day to day efforts at our parishes, schools and entities for their creativity and dedication in proclaiming the Gospel message using multiple communication channels, such as bulletins, newsletters and worship aids – and welcoming the community into our parishes and schools via attractive and meaningful use of the web, video, mailers, advertisements and campaigns,” said Dan Hardester, Diocese of Orlando’s Secretary of Evangelization, as he addressed the audience.

Both ceremonies included video segments with individuals speaking about their entries and sharing insight into the creative process, goals and results. All the entries submitted were on display in the Communications Expo along with vendor displays. Participants could also attend roundtable discussions about the importance of church bulletins for evangelization and the value of websites for improved communication.

“We got a lot of great ideas about how we can further our parish and really evangelize and do what we’re put here to do—what we’re called to do,” said Scott Morris, Communications Coordinator of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Lakeland. Morris attended the bulletin roundtable discussion and St. Anthony also received a first place award for a medium sized parish in the print/weekly bulletin category.

Carol Brinati, Diocese of Orlando Chancellor, emphasized the importance of using a wide variety of methods to communicate the Good News.

“We are each called to deliver a message of faith, hope and love using the communication tools and methods of our day. No matter what department or office we represent, we all work in the field of communications.” said Brinati. “In this way, we illuminate, with the light of faith, the darkness in our world.”

The Witness to Hope Award was the highest honor presented at the award ceremonies to recognize outstanding achievement in the area of communications and evangelization. This year, the student recipient was Dean, who served as an ace reporter for Morning Star Catholic School and wrote about school experiences from a faith perspective for the diocesan website, Faith News Online.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, Avalon Park also received the Witness to Hope Award with Father David Scotchie accepting on behalf of his parish.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is a young parish established only in 2006. However, the parish received first place Light of Faith awards for a campaign to welcome new parishioners and a stewardship resource manual. The parish also received an award in the events category for planning a trip to the Dominican Republic so parishioners could visit a school St. Maximilian Kolbe built with parish donations.  

Describing his approach to communications, Father David said, “I want people to know how much God loves them and they’re not going to hear that from the TV, they’re not going to hear that from the Internet, they’re going to hear it from their church. We want to let them know in our words and what we do and through our ministries we seek to communicate how much God loves them.”

The Light of Faith Communication Awards Program was organized by the Diocese of Orlando Communications Office and award ceremony emcees were Carol Brinati and Dan Hardester.