October 11, 2022 | On the annual World Day Against the Death Penalty, more than 200 people joined Catholic Mobilizing Network for the Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration to celebrate three anti-death penalty champions and staunch advocates for life.
CMN presented Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, with the “Archbishop Fiorenza Dignity & Life Award” for his longtime commitment to raising awareness of capital punishment as a critical life issue among Catholics in the United States. The award is named in memory of the late Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, a staunch advocate for life and death penalty abolition, who passed away in September 2022 at the age of 91.
The “Reimagining Justice Award” went to Vicki & Syl Schieber, who after losing their daughter, Shannon, to murder in 1998, went on to oppose the death penalty for her killer and to successfully advocate for the abolition of capital punishment in their home state of Maryland and beyond.
The event was held at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, under the gracious hospitality of the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. In his welcoming remarks, Archbishop Pierre urged CMN and its community of advocates to "be bold" in their anti-death penalty advocacy and invoked Pope Francis' 2018 revision to the Catholic Catechism, which calls capital punishment "inadmissible" in all cases.
During the event, CMN also invited Katherine Scott, the first-place winner of the inaugural Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Catholics, to recite her poem, "Terre Haute, Again."