By Catholic News Service     10/11/2016

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The remake of “Ben-Hur,” the cable-TV drama “Ray Donovan” and the documentary series “The Story of God” were named winners of the 2016 Catholics in Media Awards, presented annually by Catholics in Media Associates.

The awards will be given at an Oct. 9 brunch in Los Angeles following a Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles as celebrant.

“Ben-Hur” is the third film version of the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace. Although it has done poorly at the box office, it is the second Catholics in Media Award for the husband-and-wife executive producer team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who also won in 2014 for “The Bible.”

“They make every effort to bring together fine storytelling with the highest production values that inspires and uplifts the human spirit,” Sister Rose Pacatte, a Daughter of St. Paul and president of Catholics in Media Associates, said in a Sept. 19 statement announcing the winners. “Ben-Hur” is receiving the organization’s Motion Picture Award.

The Television Award goes to “Ray Donovan,” seen on the pay-cable channel Showtime since 2013, stars Liev Schrieber in the title role as a “fixer” for the rich and famous in Los Angeles who can solve everyone’s problems except his own family’s.

“The Donovans, especially Ray, are a Catholic family of mobsters that struggles with faith and conscience in every episode,” said a statement by Catholics in Media Associates vice president Haskell Vaughn Anderson. “Their flaws, sins and violence are outward signs of their inner conflict between temptation and the impulse to be decent and caring human beings. Their redemption is in the struggle to do choose good over evil, to not give up. Where there is darkness there is also the action of grace in ‘Ray Donovan.’”

Receiving the Documentary Award is “The Story of God,” a five-installment documentary series on cable’s National Geographic Channel featuring actor Morgan Freeman, chronicling how the power of religion touches everyone and how our beliefs connect us all. “Morgan Freeman is exceptional as the host,” said Sister Pacatte. “He brings gravitas, intelligence and humor through the questions he asks. His respect for people of all faiths is a model for us all.”

Catholics in Media Associates will give its first Communicator Award to Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles, who started Word on Fire Catholic Ministries in 2000. “Word on Fire” has been broadcast on cable TV, radio, YouTube, podcasts and its own website.