Spirited Catholic Weekly photographer Giovanni Portelli took out first prize in the best original photograph category at the Australasian Religious Press Association awards on 3 September.
The winning photo, published on the front page of the 2 August, 2015, edition of The Catholic Weekly, depicted Fr Lewi Barakat performing his first baptism.
Recalls Giovanni: “I had just finished an assignment at St Mary’s Cathedral and noticed Fr Lewi standing at the Baptismal font, reading through a book. I just had to say hello.
“Fr Lewi said that he was going to celebrate his first baptism and he was going through the sacrament book.
“I said I’d love to take a few photos for The Catholic Weekly and spoke to the parents, who agreed,” he said.
“I’ve photographed many baptisms for parents and it’s always a joy to help a baby celebrate a moment that sets in place a Catholic destiny for life with Christ.
“The photo itself was a delight to photograph, it’s nice and wide, bright, clear and crisp, fully demonstrating the sacrament of Baptism in action with all the key elements of joy and new life.”
Giovanni said he was “so happy” the photo had been recognised by ARPA.
“But I’m even happier that my secret mission to evangelise through photography is actually working.”