The Tidings received a first place and two honorable mentions during the 2013 Catholic Press Association Awards ceremony held June 21 in Denver, which concluded the annual conference organized by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.“Christmas Joy in Lynwood: Brother Cesar’s Profession,” by Doris Benavides, won first place for Best Coverage of a Routine, Sacramental Event. Published on Dec. 21, 2012, the article on Brother Cesar Galan’s conversion from gang member paralyzed in a shooting to a member of the Friars of the Sick poor drew praise from judges who called it a “beautiful story, simple and well told — powerful stuff.”Editor Mike Nelson and Archbishop José Gomez each received an honorable mention for Best Newspaper Headline and Best Regular Column by a Bishop or Archbishop, respectively. The headline was for “How Do We Get the ‘Nones’ Back in the Habit?” for an Oct. 19, 2012 article by Paula Doyle on reaching out to those claiming no religious affiliation. Archbishop Gomez received his award for his columns of March 16 (“Work Is a Sacred Thing”), Oct. 5 (“The Duty of Faithful Citizenship”) and Dec. 21, 2012 (“Christmas in the Year of Faith”). “One of the better writers in the competition,” the judges stated. “Good stories, great sources, profound message and effortless flow.”A former auxiliary bishop of the host city, Archbishop Gomez was also the keynote speaker of the award banquet and celebration. He told journalists they are “absolutely vital to the Church’s mission of the new evangelization,” that they have a “special responsibility” in society, and he encouraged them to continue in their “noble vocation of witness and service to the Church.”Addressing immigration, the archbishop told communicators that “now is the time” to promote and support a comprehensive immigration reform and called them to “be part of it to help our brothers and sisters. We are talking about souls, not statistics,” he said. “It is the moment to set the tone for the future.” Elisabeth Deffner, editor of the Orange County Catholic that is published monthly by The Tidings Corp. for the Orange Diocese, received two awards, including first place in the new category of Best Coverage of Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life and Diaconate for her article, “Orange’s Priests: Behind the Scenes.” She also won a third place for Best Feature Writing (circulation of 17,001-40,000) for the story “Ministry and the Law.”The 2013 Catholic Media Conference included a series of workshops on several tracks, including editorial and design, communications, digital media, advertising and business, and general interest. Representatives of nearly 300 Catholic media outlets participated in the event held at the Marriott Denver Tech Center.Peter Finney Jr., executive editor/general manager of the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the New Orleans Archdiocese, received the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the CPA. John Thavis, former Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service, received the Clarion Award from the Catholic Academy of Communications Professionals. Bishop David D. Kagan of Bismarck, N.D., received the Bishop John England Award from the Catholic Press Association.For more information about the Catholic Press Association Awards, visit{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0628/cpa/{/gallery}