Jaclyn Lippelmann, the award-winning photographer for the Catholic Standard newspaper and website of the Archdiocese of Washington, began creating art on a new canvas on Feb. 1, when she became director of digital media for the archdiocese.

“The Office of Digital Media oversees the archdiocese’s digital and social media platforms and provides parishes with tools and assistance in developing their digital presence,” she said in an interview. “I’ll be leading a team in developing digital strategies for evangelization and helping ensure that Archdiocese of Washington parishioners have access to digital tools and resources that keep them connected to the Church of Washington.”

Lippelmann hit the ground running when she became the Catholic Standard’s photographer in the summer of 2014, covering events related to the archdiocese’s celebration of its 75th anniversary. In her final assignment for the Catholic Standard in January 2019, she documented Pope Francis’s World Youth Day in Panama, which involved more than a week of marathon hours capturing that celebration of faith involving young adults from around the globe. We showcased her photos and reporter Kelly Sankowski’s articles in our most recent edition.

As the Catholic Standard’s photographer and later photo editor and coordinator, Lippelmann earned a trophy case full of honors, including being named as the Photographer of the Year for the Catholic Press in the United States and Canada in 2017. And just before she flew off to Panama, Lippelmann shepherded the late December launch of the Catholic Standard’s redesigned website, a project that she helped coordinate over this past year. The user-friendly website at www.cathstan.org, with its vibrant look and expanded features, is a credit to her talent, faith and dedication.

Ed McFadden, the secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said Lippelmann proved to be the right person for her new job.

“As I have told my colleagues, there are very few jobs as a Catholic where one’s faith and God-given gifts intersect in such a fulfilling both professionally and spiritually than working in communications for the Catholic Church,” he said. “The archdiocese has been blessed with a digital office that has had talent and vision; finding a leader to fill those shoes would be tough, but Jaclyn’s talents go well beyond the artistic, so it was actually a seamless transition.”

Lippelmann said she is excited by this new opportunity and will build on the experience that she’s had photographing the story of how people live and share their faith in the Archdiocese of Washington.

“For nearly five years, I’ve enjoyed bringing the beauty of our Catholic faith to life through photography,” she said. “Here in the Washington area, we’re blessed with so many beautiful places of worship and vibrant faith celebrations. I can’t think of a better place for a photographer to be! I’ve also very much enjoyed the opportunity to help expand Catholic Standard’s digital platforms. Our digital reach has greatly increased over the past few years, allowing us to share stories of hope and joy with even more people.”

She added that “as the Catholic Standard photographer, it’s been an incredible privilege to be warmly welcomed into parishes and schools and to witness so many joyful moments in the Church of Washington. Experiencing our vibrant, diverse faith community through this work has deepened my faith in ways I never could have imagined.”

Lippelmann, who grew up on a farm in Kansas, is along with her husband Mark a convert to the Catholic faith. They are parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Washington, where they both serve on the parish council, and where Mark helps lead the RCIA program and Jaclyn serves as the parish’s wedding coordinator. 

When I nominated Jaclyn as the photographer of the year in the Catholic press, I noted that her “photos that are technically beautiful and get to the heart of each story, (and) she captures the moment with images that show how our Catholic faith unfolds every day in quiet and in unforgettable ways.”

This past year, the Catholic Standard earned a record 17 awards from the Catholic Press Association, with Jaclyn earning seven herself and contributing to nearly all the other awards. Her individual awards included honors for best front page, news photo story, online photo gallery and online content, feature photo story and feature photo.

Her photography has been a true blessing to the Catholic Standard and its readers, and her photos in our archives will continue to illustrate our paper and website as we seek a new photographer and social media coordinator. But for the Catholic Standard staff, our greatest blessing has been having Jaclyn as a friend and colleague, and she will continue to be that in her new job down the hall. Her great talent and the witness of her faith will continue to inspire us. Thank you Jaclyn, and God bless you in your new work.

(Mark Zimmermann is the editor of the Catholic Standard newspaper and website of the Archdiocese of Washington.)