Salt and Light Awards
December 7, 2018
On Friday evening, December 7, 2018, in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton, we had the privilege of presenting three annual awards during the intermission of the Christmas cantata The Birth of Christ.
Distinguished Journalist Award
Rosa Flores of the Cable News Network (CNN)
From our earliest days, we have developed close working relationships with the secular media. This has included major television and radio networks as well as print journalists. Among them we have found many colleagues who have modeled professionalism, goodness and great openness to the Church. The first award was presented in 2017 to Scott Pelley of CBS Network in the USA. This evening we wish to honor Rosa Flores of the Cable News Network (CNN) in the USA with this year’s Distinguished Journalist Award.
Rosa Flores earned a Bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and business administration, and a Master's degree in accounting at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the Cable News Network, she anchored the evening newscast at WBRZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge. Starting in September 2007, she reported for KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston and started her career in TV reporting at KWTV–TV in Oklahoma City. She joined CNN in 2013 and was based in New York City for two years and Chicago for two years.
Rosa Flores is currently a CNN correspondent based in Miami. She has covered domestic news stories across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and international news stories in over 10 countries for CNN’s TV and digital platforms. Rosa has traveled with Pope Francis aboard the Papal plane during his visits to the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Chile and Peru. She also traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay to cover Francis’ first visit to his native South America. She will be with the Pope on his upcoming visit to Panama for World Youth Day 2019 in January.
In 2014, she spent more than two weeks in Mexico's southern state of Guerrero covering the disappearance of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa. Her coverage landed her the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Large Market Television Hard News Award. Flores also worked with CNN's Documentary Unit on a one-hour CNN Special Report called "A Miner Miracle, Five years after the Chilean Rescue." She traveled to Chile in 2015 to revisit the stories of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine for 69 days in 2010.
Rosa’s project "Disappearing Front Porch," which gave a voice to children in Chicago who are caught in the crosshairs of violence was awarded the "Online Project: News" by the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2017, she was awarded the John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Center on Media, Crime and Justice Reporting Fellowship. Rosa was the narrator of Canada’s premiere presentation of The Birth of Christ.
The Lover of Life Award
Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI and Gillian and David Kantor
In 2011, Salt and Light Television inaugurated a special award honoring persons who play an important role in promoting the consistent ethic of life and the sacredness of the family life. The “Lover of Life" was the title given by then-Milanese Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ, to a remarkable, young, Italian woman, mother of a family and medical doctor of his diocese. Cardinal Martini described Gianna Beretta Molla as a “woman, doctor and lover of life” at the time of her beatification in 1994. Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized by St. John Paul II on May 16, 2004. Gianna’s was the last canonization of Pope John Paul II. We chose St. Gianna as the patron saint of our network at our foundation in 2003.
Our first “Lover of Life” award was presented to Vince and Joanne Verduci of Brampton, Ontario for their leadership and tremendous efforts in caring for young pregnant women in crisis. They modeled their efforts on the example of charity lived by St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
In 2012, the “Lover of Life Award” was presented to Bosco Chan, who was instrumental in establishing the Chinese department of Salt and Light Teleivsion. Bosco and his wife, Melissa are parents of five children. Bosco is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation.
In 2013, the Lover of Life award was presented to Alex and Mary Banga of Regina, Saskatchewan. The Bangas are an extraordinary Catholic couple deeply committed to the cause of human life and have been eloquent witnesses to the consistent ethic of life and family.
In 2015, the Award was presented to the well-known Leahy Family of musicians and singers from Lakeville, Ontario. This Canadian family, headed by the late Frank Leahy and his wife Julia, passed on to their children traditional, Celtic instrumental music and step- dancing in the Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, and Cape Breton traditions.
In 2017, the “Lover of Life Award” was presented to the family of Laurent and Florence LeBourgeois of Versailles, France. They are parents of 12 children and their son, Charles, has been a producer in the French Department of Salt and Light Television since 2012.
In 2018, at the conclusion of our 15th anniversary year, we are proud to present two “Lover of Life” awards to the Diocese of Hamilton and Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, OMI, in recognition of this dioceses clear, consistent and joyful presentation of Pope Francis’ teaching on the dignity of human life, from conception to natural death, marriage and family life.
The second Lover of Life award this year is presented Gillian and David Kantor. Gillian worked on our Salt and Light staff as writer and producer for five years. Prior to her time with us, she served as youth editor of the Catholic Register and also coordinated volunteer activities on the National Staff of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto and World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. She continues to write freelance for Salt and Light Television. She and her husband David, an environmental engineer, are very involved in their home parish of St. Matthew in Oakville, in this diocese. Gillian and David are now parents of six children.
The ‘Ecce’ Award
Salt and Light Television Network has established an award that to be given out each year to a Catholic journalist and communicator. We have named this award the ‘Ecce’ award. We frequently translate the word into English with ‘Behold.’ It conveys a deeper meaning than the rather simple ‘this is.’ ‘Behold’ carries a connotation of contemplation and wonder. We use the word when confronted with a thing of wonder or great beauty. ‘Behold’ is also an affirmation of fact, but it also contains within it an invitation, to focus on the other. An authentic Catholic journalist and communicator never draws attention to himself or herself but serves the truth in charity. An authentic Catholic journalist is a professional who always sheds light on the other, and never on himself or herself. The first award in 2017 was presented to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, former director of the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Television Centre and Vatican Radio. Fr. Lombardi is now the President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict Foundation at the Vatican.
This year’s award is presented to Joseph Sinasac, publishing director of Novalis and past President of the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada. Joe is one of the most accomplished and well-known Catholic journalists in North America today. A native of the Hamilton diocese, Joe served as editor and publisher of Toronto’s Catholic Register prior to becoming editorial director of Novalis. One of his most significant accomplishments at the Catholic Register was the establishment of the “Youth Speak News” page and program for young journalists. A recipient of numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association and Canadian Church Press, Joe’s stellar and creative work in the area of writing, editing, authoring, broadcasting, publishing and management of Catholic media operations has gained for him great respect and admiration around the world.
Congratulations to Rosa Flores, Joseph Sinasac, Bishop Douglas Crosby and Gillian and David Kantor for your wonderful witness. We are blessed to know you and work closely with you. God bless you all!
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, CEO
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation