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On March 27th, four Sixth Grade students from our Catholic Elementary Schools rendered enlightening and edifying messages.  Their essays truly reflected off the stars of our saints in heaven.  After preparation began last September among boys and girls within seventeen schools, steady composition and research were developed in these thoughtful essays.

Kristina Erksina, first place among the girls, from Holy Spirit Catholic School, read her persuasive essay, emphasizing Jesus’ words from the Gospel to show how He called the disciples to spread the word, administer the sacraments, and show care for the poor and needy.  Kristina very clearly explained the roles, duties, and opportunities of vocations that should appeal to discerning young Catholics.

Isaac Winkler, first place among the boys, from Ascension Catholic, stressed the need to live as Jesus did, sharing His body and blood with us each day.  Isaac also quoted the Gospel to support his message. Jesus’ call of Zacchaeus and dining with him shows great interest on Jesus’ part in often seeking out socially undesirables to lead the Church, all the while emphasizing the need for special vocations to show the way to lead the Christian life.

Julie Jefferies, second place among the girls, from Nativity Catholic School, referenced Pope Francis’ words, “to ensure that God’s grace may touch the heart of every man and woman.”  She stressed that through the Mass, priests bring the Gospel and Eucharist to millions of people, while Deacons assist in clerical duties such as Baptism.  Religious sisters and brothers fulfill the mission of the Church by teaching and health care, and by their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Finally, she reminded us that we are all called to sainthood.

Edward Ludwikowski, second place among the boys, from St. Ann’s Catholic School, did a fine job of highlighting the role of each special vocation, explaining carefully the duties and opportunities of a priest, deacon, sister, and brother. He emphasized a common but often overlooked point:  the joy and peace that those with special vocations experience each day of their lives, as they do God’s work for others.  This last point is so important in attracting people to special callings.

Following the presentation of the awards, Msgr. Michael Mullen made praiseworthy comments on each student essay, a practice he has maintained for many years.  The four stars became silent, but their messages burn bright in the Kingdom of God.

 Co-Chair Dr. John Coakley gave thanks to his Co-Chair George Dirnberger and praise to our eight judges: Frank Dodd, Al Hoff, Bill Kidder, Jack Lawrence, Will Miller, Ed O’Malley, Don Oswald, and Dan Meara.  Larry Ruder and Fritz Vertz were thanked for the fine luncheon.

 The event closed with Msgr. Mullen leading us in the Serra Prayer:       Perseverance Among vocations.