Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — The feature film The Way Back, a documentary on Father Patrick Peyton, and a Christmas special featuring Dolly Parton were among this year's Christopher Award winners.

This is the movie poster for Dolly Parton's Christmas
on the Square. Parton starred, wrote the music and
served as an executive producer for the updated
retelling of A Christmas Carol.
CNS photo/courtesy The Christophers

          ABC News also claimed two awards among the 22 overall winners announced in New York by the Christophers, whose motto is, "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

          The Way Back, which starred Ben Affleck, one of four feature film winners, told the story of a former basketball star mired in alcoholism who returns to the Catholic high school where he first found fame to coach the team.

          Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton tells the tale of the Holy Cross priest who founded Family Theater and coined the phrase: "The family that prays together stays together."

          Clouds dramatizes the final six months of 17-year-old Zach Sobiech's life as his faith inspires him to pursue his musical dreams despite his cancer, living all his days to their fullest with the people he loves most.

          Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation shows young people ages 11-26 who juggle school and work while lovingly caring for family members enduring medical problems or injuries sustained in war.

          Of the six TV-cable-streaming awards, ABC's pair were for World News Tonight With David Muir and Nightline, both of which featured stories on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

          PBS also earned two awards. One was for Extraordinary: The Bill Atkinson Story, which chronicled one man's efforts to become the first quadriplegic Catholic priest. The other was for "Broken Places," which examines why some children are damaged by sexual abuse, parental rejection or poverty, while others are able to thrive and move beyond the trauma.

          Parton starred, wrote the music and served as an executive producer for Christmas on the Square, a modern-day retelling of A Christmas Carol.

          The History Channel's Black Patriots: Heroes of the American Revolution, hosted by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, explored the little-known role Blacks played in fighting for U.S. independence.

          The awards also chooses a number of book winners, both for children of various ages and for adults.

Father Patrick Peyton and Bing Crosby are seen in this
undated photo. The movie Pray: The Story of Patrick
Peyton profiles the priest whose gratitude for a
healing led him to create a media ministry
that popularized 
the life-changing idea, “The family
that prays together stays 
CNS photo/courtesy, The Christophers

          The winners in the books for adults category were: After the Last Border by Jessica Goudeau, A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett, Nothing General About It by General Hospital star Maurice Benard with Susan Black, Voyage of Mercy by Stephen Puleo, Wheels of Courage by David Davis and Grace from the Rubble by Jeanne Bishop, which chronicled the unlikely friendship that developed between Bud Welch, who lost his daughter, Julie, in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and Bill McVeigh, whose son, Timothy, carried out the bombing.

 Winners in the children's books categories:

— Trying by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Elise Hurst, preschool and up.

Tiara's Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, kindergarten and up.

Fauja Singh Keeps Going by Simran Jeet Singh, illustrated by Baljinder Kaur, ages 6-up.

Nacho's Nachos by Oliver Dominguez, ages 8-up.

Five Things About Ava Andrews by Margaret Dilloway, ages 10-up.

— Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, young adult.

 The Christopher Awards were created in 1949 to celebrate writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work, according to the organization, "affirms the highest values of the human spirit."