On September 16, 2023, the 11th annual Cardinal Michele Giordano Award ceremony took place at the Madre del Buon Consiglio di Capodimonte Basilica in Naples, Italy. The ceremony was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Naples and the Order of Journalists of Campania. During the ceremony, the Most Reverend Domenico BATTAGLIA, Archbishop of Naples, presented Friar Vittorio TRANI, OFM Conv., with the Cardinal Giordano Award. Friar Vittorio has served as a chaplain at the Regina Coeli prison in Rome since 1978.
The ceremony took place before a large audience that included His Eminence Cardinal Crescenzio SEPE, many priests, civil authorities from Naples and the honorees receiving awards, who came from all over Italy.
Awards were given to three authors for their respective books, namely:
– Vita di Cristo [Life of Christ] (Piemme Press) by Andrea TORNIELLI, Director of the Editorial Directorate of the Dicastery for Communications of the Holy See, with an introduction by Pope Francis.
– Come è in cielo, così sia in terra [On Earth, as It Is in Heaven] (Paoline Press), by Friar Vittorio TRANI, with a preface by His Eminence Cardinal Pietro PAROLIN, Vatican Secretary of State.
– La Chiesa nel digitale [The Church in the Digital World] (Tau Press) by Fabio BOLZETTA, TV2000 correspondent, Director of the Communication Office of the Pontifical International Marian Academy, with a preface by Pope Francis.
Archbishop BATTAGLIA, honorary president of the award council, explained why Friar Vittorio was given the award: “His book is a very human conversation with journalists Stefano NATOLI and Agnese PELLEGRINI on how Jesus still visits prisoners today. The book gives an account of life in prison and shows the reader the human and spiritual side of those serving sentences. Friar Vittorio proclaims the Gospel of Jesus through the bars of the jail cells, where he listens to the stories of the inmates, where the encounter with God is perceived as liberation from the heavy burdens that life places on the shoulders of the weakest. This book will be read by many and will serve as a balm, a record, and a denunciation of the way those serving sentences are treated. This is a book full of personal experiences, where the encounter with different ethnicities and faiths becomes a new field of apostolate for prison chaplains. As one of those chaplains, Friar Vittorio puts into practice the counsel we read in the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in a mortal body’” (Heb.13:1-3).
Other special awards were given to Fabio MARCHESE RAGONA, Father Giuseppe COSTA, Father Armando SANNINO, and Marcello FIGUEORA.
Friar Paolo FIASCONARO