ACP Announces Finalists of the 2023 "Excellence in Publishing Awards"

Posted By: Therese Brown ACP Member News, Awards,

BALTIMORE, MD — The Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP) is pleased to announce the finalists for the Excellence in Publishing Awards. The goal of these awards is to recognize the best in Catholic publishing.

Awards will be given for books falling into 16 categories: Biography, Children’s Books: Young Readers, Children’s Books: Picture Books, Children’s Books: Teens, General Interest, Inspirational, Music: Distinguished Catholic Composer of the Year, Music: Distinguished Mass Setting, Music: Song of the Year, Prayer, Resources for Liturgy, Resources for Ministry, Scripture, Spanish, Spirituality, and Theology. A “Resource of the Year” will be named from among the first-place finishers of the 16 categories.

“This past year continues a trend that we saw in last year’s finalists—women including Mary, saints like St. Monica, and contemporary women—are the focus and inspiration for a number of this year’s best titles,” commented ACP’s executive director Therese Brown.

The 94 finalists represent 17 different publishers. Over 59% of the finalists come from 6 publishers—OSV (15), Ascension (11), GIA Publications, Inc. (9), and Ave Maria Press, Loyola Press, and OCP with 7 each.

“There seems to be greater parity in the quality of the titles this year. Last year, three publishers represented over 50% of the finalists, but no one publisher dominates the list of finalists this year,” Brown noted.

Each category was judged by a three-person panel, which reviewed and evaluated the entries, reducing the number of finalists to 6-9 titles, all of which will move on to the final round of judging. First, second, and third place winners will be announced in June.

The finalists by category are:


America's Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help (Marge Steinhage Fenelon, OSV); Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor (Dawn Eden Goldstein, Orbis Books); Fathers of the Faith: Saint Augustine (Mike Aquilina, OSV); Fathers of the Faith: Saint Irenaeus (Mike Aquilina, OSV); Francesco: A Story of Saint Francis of Assisi (Madeline Pecora Nugent, Pauline Books & Media); Mother Teresa: The Saint and Her Nation (Gëzim Alpion, Bloomsbury); Our Lady of Hot Messes: Getting Real with God in Dive Bars and Confessionals (Leticia Ochoa Adams, Ave Maria Press); Pedro Arrupe (Brian Grogan, SJ, Loyola Press).

Children's Books: Picture Books

Anyone But Bear (Written by Suzy Senior; Illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic, Ascension); Louie's Lent (Written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam; Illustrated by Michael Rogers, Ascension); Our Lady of Guadalupe and Her Dear Juanito (Written by Marlyn Evangelina Monge, FSP; Illustrated by Amy Rodriguez, Pauline Books & Media); The Curious Christmas Trail (Written by Haley Stewart; Illustrated by Betsy Wallin, Pauline Books & Media); The Women Doctors of the Church (Written by Colleen Pressprich; Illustrated by Adalee Hude, OSV).

Children’s Books: Young Readers

Donuts After Mass: A Tale About Walking with Jesus (Joann Bradvica, Rafaela Bradvica, and Daniela Bradvica, Ascension); Light of the Saints (Cory Heimann, Word on Fire); OSV Kids Stations of the Cross (Written by Colleen Pressprich and illustrated by Adalee Hude, OSV); Remember Us with Smiles (Gary Jansen and Grace Jansen, Loyola Press); Seven Clues (Scott Hahn and Maura Roan McKeegan, Loyola Press); The Real Presence (Author: Claudia Cangilla McAdam  Illustrator: Gina Capaldi, Ascension); What's a Deacon? (Irene Kelly, Clear Faith Publishing).

Children’s Books: Teens

Beckoning (Claudia Cangilla McAdam, OSV); Elizabeth Visits the Abbey (Phyllis Zagano, Clear Faith Publishing); God's Superheroes Amazing Catholic Men (Mary Bajda. Illustrated by Melinda Steffen, OSV); God's Superheroes Amazing Catholic Women (Mary Bajda. Illustrated by Melinda Steffen, OSV); The Merchant's Curse (Antony Barone Kolenc, Loyola Press); Venture: The Bible Timeline for High School (Mark Hart, Ascension).

General Interest

A Garden Catechism: 100 Plants in Christian Tradition and How to Grow Them (Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB; Illustrated by Mary Sprague, OSV); Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ascension Edition (Ascension); One Church: How to Rekindle Trust, Negotiate Difference, and Reclaim Catholic Unity (Charles C. Camosy, Ave Maria Press); Reclaiming Motherhood from a Culture Gone Mad (Samantha N. Stephenson, OSV); Redeeming the Time: Gospel Perspectives on the Challenges of the Hour (Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire); The New Apologetics: Defending the Faith in a Post-Christian Era (Matthew Nelson, Word on Fire).


A Prisoner and You Visited Me (Contributors include Richard Rohr, OFM; James Martin, SJ; Phyllis Zagano, PhD; Greg Boyle, SJ; Brian McLaren; et al., Clear Faith Publishing); Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal (Christine Valters Paintner, Ave Maria Press); Dearest Sister Wendy . . . A Surprising Story of Faith and Friendship (Sister Wendy Beckett and Robert Ellsberg, Orbis Books); Madonnas of Color (Bro. Mickey McGrath, Clear Faith Publishing); The Freedom of Missing Out (Michael Rossmann, SJ, Loyola Press); The Way of Beatitude: Living Radical Hope in a World of Division and Despair (Fr. Casey Cole, OFM, Ave Maria Press); What Would Monica Do? (Patti Maguire Armstrong and Roxane Beauclair Salonen, Ascension).

Music: Distinguished Catholic Composer of the Year

By Our Love (Tom Kendzia, OCP); Jesus, I Trust In You (Josh Blakesley, co-written by Sarah Hart and Sarah Kroeger, OCP); M. Roger Holland II (M. Roger Holland II, GIA Publications, Inc.); Simple Psalter for Year A (J. Michael Joncas, Liturgical Press).

Music: Distinguished Mass Setting

Mass of St. Catherine of Siena (Lorraine Hess, arranged by Ed Bolduc, GIA Publications, Inc.); Mass of the Goodness of the Lord (Tom Kendzia, OCP); Mass of the Sun of Justice/Misa Sol de Justicia (Peter M. Kolar, GIA Publications, Inc.).

Music: Song of the Year

All of Me (Ode to Sr. Thea) (M. Roger Holland II, GIA Publications, Inc.); Diverse in Culture, Nation, Race (Text by Ruth Duck, arranged by Mark Scozzafave, GIA Publications, Inc.); Make Us One (Jeffrey Bonilla and David Lockwood, OCP); Oh, Who Can Know the Mind of God (Justin Wedgewood, text by Genevieve Glen, OSB, OCP); Rejoice, Be Glad! (Blessed Are the Poor) (Kate J. Williams, Text by Adam Tice, GIA Publications, Inc.); There Is a Season (Tom Kendzia, OCP); You Are My Refuge (Christopher Walker, OCP).


A Fresh Look at the Our Father: Rediscovering the Power of the Lord's Prayer (David M. Knight, Twenty-Third Publications); Come to Mary's House: Spending Time with Our Blessed Mother (Shawn Chapman, OSV); Forgive Everyone Everything (Gregory Boyle, SJ, Loyola Press); God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us (Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC, Pauline Books & Media); Imagine You Walked with Jesus: A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer (Jerry Windley-Daoust, OSV); The Holy Hour: Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration (Matthew Becklo, Word on Fire).

Resources for Liturgy

Catholic Women Preach: Raising Voices, Renewing the Church (Elizabeth Donnelly and Russ Petrus, editors, Orbis Books); Gloriosi: Music of the Paschal Triduum/Música del Triduo Pascual (Tony Alonso, GIA Publications, Inc.); Lectionary Psalms: The Abbey Psalms and Canticles (Various, GIA Publications, Inc.); Participation of the Heart: Deeper Engagement in the Mass (Vicki Klima, GIA Publications, Inc.); Preaching with Children (Ann M. Garrido, Liturgy Training Publications).

Resources for Ministry

Engage Every Family: A Parish Guide to Integrated Faith Formation (Denise Utter, Twenty-Third Publications); God's Works Revealed: Spirituality, Theology, and Social Justice for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Catholics (Sam Albano, Paulist Press); Handbook for Ministers of Care, Third Edition (Marilyn Kofler, sp, Kevin E. O’Connor, csp, Liturgy Training Publications); Invitation and Encounter: Evangelizing Through the Sacraments (Timothy P. O'Malley, OSV); Rising: Learning from Women's Leadership in Catholic Ministries (Carolyn Y. Woo, Orbis Books); Shaping the Future of Catechesis Together (Kathy Hendricks, Twenty-Third Publications); The Four Ways Forward: Becoming an Apostolic Parish in a Post-Christian World (Susan Windley-Daoust, OSV).


Between Heaven and Earth: New Explorations of Great Biblical Texts (Gerhard Lohfink, Translated by Linda M. Maloney, Liturgical Press); Food for the Soul: Reflections on the Mass Readings (Cycle A) (Peter Kreeft, Word on Fire); The Great Story of Israel: Election, Freedom, Holiness (Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire); The Holy Spirit in the Bible (George M. Smiga with Little Rock Scripture Study Staff, Liturgical Press); Threshold Bible Study: Hebrews: New Covenant Worship (Stephen J. Binz, Twenty-Third Publications); Threshold Bible Study: Music, Hymns and Canticles (Stephen J. Binz, Twenty-Third Publications); What Does the Bible Say About Inclusion (Donald Senior, C.P., New City Press).


Abramos Nuestros Corazones (Hermana Donna L. Ciangio, OP  Padre Thomas B. Iwanowski, RENEW International); Manual para ministros de la pastoral de enfermos (Marilyn Kofler, sp, Kevin E. O'Connor, csp, Liturgy Training Publications); María: Caminata por la Biblia con la Santísima Madre (Edward Sri, Ascension); My Daily Visitor: Eucharist, Spanish (Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP, OSV).


Braving the Thin Places (Julianne Stanz, Loyola Press); Fat Luther, Slim Pickin’s: A Black Catholic Celebration of Faith, Tradition, and Diversity (Marcia Lane-McGe, Shannon Wimp Schmidt, Ave Maria Press); Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Clearing Your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord (Fr. Christopher S. Collins, SJ, Ave Maria Press); Introduction to the Devout Life (St. Francis de Sales, Translated by Matthew K. Minerd, Ascension); Love Him Ever More: A 9-Day Personal Retreat with the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, Ave Maria Press); Rejoice! An Advent Pilgrimage into the Heart of Scripture (Year A) (Fr. Mark Toups, Ascension).


A History of Catholic Theological Ethics (James F. Keenan, SJ, Paulist Press); A Theology of Migration: The Bodies of Refugees and the Body of Christ (Daniel G. Groody, Orbis Books); Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression (Jessica Coblentz, Liturgical Press); Our Faithful Departed: Where They Are and Why It Matters (Leonard J. DeLorenzo, Ave Maria Press); Synodality (Paulist Press).