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Cecile Holmes, longtime religious journalist, dies at 67

(RNS) – Cecile Holmes, a veteran religious journalist, editor, journalism professor and interfaith champion, died in Columbia, South Carolina, on Thursday (September 29) following an illness. She was 67 years old.

Holmes was a longtime correspondent for Religion News Service and served as a religious editor for The Houston Chronicle. She then taught journalism at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of South Carolina. Earlier in her career, she was a religion and food reporter for the Greensboro, North Carolina, News and Record.

Holmes was dedicated to her craft and an inexhaustible source of joy to her colleagues, friends, sources and students. She was president of the Religion News Association from 1996 to 1998. In 2016, RNA presented her with the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Being a religious writer gave me a deep respect for beliefs and belief systems,” she said after receiving her award. “It taught me to never stop asking questions, to not be afraid to ask other journalists for help – so many journalists have guided and encouraged me from the start.”

Holmes traveled to Italy, Israel, Jordan and Mexico for reporting, writing about popes as well as ordinary believers. She has written two books, “Witnesses to the Horror: North Carolinians Remember the Holocaust” and “Four Women, Three Faiths: Inspiring Spiritual Journeys”.

His work has endeavored to inform both believers and non-believers.

She was curious and kind, making friends easily, even in crowded elevators.

“Cécile was a special light in the world,” said Kim Sue Lia Perkes, a friend and former journalist. “His talent, his humor, his curiosity, his effervescence, his kindness and his love are without equal.”

In her native Columbia, South Carolina, Holmes helped found Women of Many Faiths, an interfaith group. She was active at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral where she served on the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Task Force of the South Carolina Christian Action Council.

A few years ago, she began studying for a doctorate in ministry through the Graduate Theological Foundation of Indiana.

Holmes was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and retired from teaching to focus on her health. She was predeceased by her husband, Jace Holloman, a freelance photographer, who died in 2009.