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TMC1008 0208 RededicationWindow at St. Thomas More Chapel. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

NEW YORK (CNS) – America, the national Catholic weekly magazine run by the Jesuits, and the St. Thomas More Chapel at Yale University, have announced the creation of the George W. Hunt Prize.

The aim is to recognize "the finest literary work of Roman Catholic intelligence and imagination" and the winner will receive $25,000 in prize money.

Judges will consider works in a variety of genres, including journalism, fiction, poetry, drama, music, memoir, biography, history, art criticism and academic scholarship.

The prize is named for the late Jesuit Father George W. Hunt, whose 14-year tenure as editor-in-chief of America, from 1984 to 1998, made him the longest-serving editor in the magazine's 105-year history. He died Feb. 25, 2011, at age 74.

Nominations will open on Father Hunt's birthday, Jan. 22, and will close on a date announced by the selection committee. A person may nominate himself or herself. Nominations will be submitted electronically at

The George W. Hunt Prize will be awarded to a single individual in recognition of his or her literary work, the announcement said.

"The recipient's work should demonstrate those literary qualities that Father Hunt valued most: rigor, order and discipline of thought, as well as honesty, sympathy and optimism," it said. "The recipient's creativity, style, prose, and analysis should also demonstrate originality, intelligence, imagination, elegance, and the promise of further achievement.

"The quality of the works is more important than the quantity of works published."

Father Hunt first joined the America staff as its literary editor; he held the post from 1981 to 1984.

Full details about the prize's mission, the criteria, including a list of topics, eligibility and the nominations process available at

Members of the committee that will select the winner are: Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor-in-chief and president of America Media; Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, professor and poet at Fordham University; Kevin Spinale, a Jesuit scholastic, who is the moderator of the Catholic Book Club; Maura Ryan, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame; and Cathleen Kaveny, professor of law and of theology at Boston College.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.