John Feister of Glenmary Challenge wins St. Francis de Sales Award

John Feister, assistant editor of the Glenmary Challenge, poses for a photo outside of the Glenmary Home Missioners headquarters in Fairfield, Ohio. (CNS photo/Cassie Magnotta, courtesy John Feister)

By Chaz Muth 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — John Feister, assistant editor of Glenmary Challenge, is the recipient of the 2020 St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award — named for the patron saint of writers and journalists — recognizes “outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism” and is the highest honor given by the CPA.

The announcement was made July 2, via a pre-recorded video released as a premiere on social media during the 2020 Catholic Media Conference, which was held virtually using digital technology due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s an honor to receive this prestigious award,” Feister said in his video acceptance message.

He spent much of the message thanking family, friends and colleagues who had supported him over the decades in his craft in print, broadcast and digital media.

“In a media environment where ongoing change becomes our new normal, there is someone who has for more than a quarter century led the charge to make the media organizations he has worked with better and has collaborated with and shown his colleagues in the Catholic press ways forward,” said Mark Lombard, the 2019 winner of the St. Francis de Sales Award, in his nomination of Feister.

“From his work as editor of both St. Anthony Messenger magazine and the 200,000+ circulation Catholic Update newsletter, founding AmericanCatholic.org, and guiding audiobook and online efforts including ‘Saint of the Day’ at Franciscan Media and leading online video efforts at Glenmary Home Missioners, co-authoring seven books and launching American Catholic Radio,” Lombard said, “John Feister has demonstrated his commitment to effectively reach and faithfully impact Catholics throughout the world.”

Feister was one of four finalists for the 2020 St. Francis de Sales Award, often nicknamed the Franny.

The other three finalists were Michael F. Flach of the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia; George Matysek Jr. of Catholic Review Media in the Baltimore Archdiocese; and Garry O’Sullivan of The Irish Catholic.

Though Feister expressed his gratitude for receiving the award, he said his achievements were not solely dependent on him.

“It is the people you work with who make your career,” Feister said. “Along with loving family, they make you who you are. Yes, you have to cooperate, you have to shine, you have to pour your heart and mind into anything you expect to be excellent. But, we all share the award.”

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