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home : news : respect life August 16, 2017


4/21/2017
Moved by Mercy -- 2017 Respect Life Essay, Poster and Video Contest winners
 
 

Essay Contest Winners
1st Place • Grades 3-5: 
Kaitlyn Hanlon, Fifth grade, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, Monmouth County

Four years ago, my Poppi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Poppi was always smart, fun, and loving. He liked to play baseball with my cousins and my brother. My favorite memory of him is playing games together.

Little by little, Poppi began to change. He lost his memory. He lost his ability to walk and do the most basic and simple things in life. Nana, my grandmother, loved Poppi. Nana refused to put Poppi in a nursing home. Poppi always said that the only way he wanted to leave home was “feet first.” So Nana made sure that he stayed in his home until he passed away.

Nana took good care of Poppi. Nurses and my aunts and uncles helped her. They set up a bedroom for Poppi in the family room so that he did not have to go upstairs. They fed him. They bathed him, brushed his teeth, and dressed him. They had a special piece of medical equipment that they used to help him get up out of bed and into a wheelchair.

When we visited Poppi, we held his hands and said hello. Nana always told us, “put your face where he can see you.” Sometimes he smiled when we did that. We showed Poppi pictures. We talked to Poppi but sometimes he wasn’t able to talk back.

I think it was nice that Nana took care of Poppi and kept him at home. I think it would be lonely to go to a nursing home because you would not have your family there with you. Poppi loved his house and he loved Nana’s cooking. I think he was happy that Nana kept him at home and took such good care of him.

My Nana showed me what it means to have mercy on another human being in the way she cared for my Poppi.

1st Place • Grades 6-8
Faith Wittstruck, Seventh grade, St. Veronica School, Howell, Monmouth County

Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Each child that is conceived is a gift, a gift from God and a gift that is not to be wasted. In our world many people find themselves in a difficult circumstance where they feel lost and think an abortion will solve everything, but it won’t. The pain left by an abortion is like a scar, something you can never get rid of. There is a loving choice; that choice is adoption. I can relate first-hand to this choice because I am adopted. My birthparents knew they were not ready to be parents so they decided to make an adoption plan for me. I was loved into being. Without the love and mercy of God and my birthparents I would not be here and would not be able to take a stand against abortion. When I tell people this they think I am crazy, but I want to adopt a child from every continent. I want to give other children the same chance to live and to be loved that I have been given.

The Church teaches life is sacred and to be respected from conception until natural death. Over the summer I heard quite a bit of talk about assisted suicide. When I first heard this I was shocked and horrified all at the same time. At the ages of four and six my grandma and grandpa passed away. Daily I wish I could have them back. I thought why would someone ever want to end someone’s life or even their own. Sometimes a person is in so much pain they want to die so they tell their doctor and their doctor or nurse will distribute the fatal medicine. Although it is difficult to watch someone suffer it provides an opportunity for grace. When we care for the sick and the dying we have the chance to be Jesus for someone. We are given a chance to be love and mercy in action which then allows us to experience God’s grace too.

Our Lord is always waiting. He knocks on our door and we just have to open it. Many times people are afraid to turn back to God. God is all knowing, loving, and merciful. His arms are open and waiting for us to come back to him. If you are in a difficult situation, turn to God. Come back to him and say I’m sorry. He gave us the Sacrament of Confession out of love because he knows we make mistakes; use it. The priest you see in Confession is Jesus himself. As you confess your sins you speak with Jesus, you give him your sufferings, pain, and mistakes. He makes all things new.

 


Using “mercy” as the driving inspiration, students of Catholic schools, parish religious education programs and youth groups sought to express their visions of life’s intrinsic value, entering the annual Diocese of Trenton Respect Life Poster, Essay and Video Contest.

“Moved by Mercy” was this year’s theme, reflected in the students’ creative efforts throughout the Diocese’s four counties. The theme was based on that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ respect life packet for 2017.

Entries were grouped by the following grade levels: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, and sixth through eighth grade. After judging at the parish or school level, top entries were posted online for judging by the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care’s Respect Life Ministry.

This year, six diocesan winners were chosen overall, with first and second place runners-up in each grade group by county. The winners were:

Diocesan Winners:

Grades K-2 Poster Ella Rani Paoni, St. Veronica School, Howell, first grade

Grades 3-5 Poster Jessica Wojnar, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, fifth grade

Grades 6-8 Poster Joshua Arriola, Trenton Catholic Academy, seventh grade

Grades 6-8 Videos Group entry, Trenton Catholic Academy, sixth grade

Grades 3-5 Essays Kaitlyn Hanlon, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, fifth grade

Grades 6-8 Essays Faith Wittstruck, St. Veronica School, Howell, seventh grade

Runners-up:

Burlington County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster
There were no entries from Burlington County

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster
First runner-up: Group Entry, St. Charles Borromeo Religious Education, Cinnaminson, fifth grade

Second runner-up: Layla Joseph, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, fourth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster
First Runner-up: Leah Rottler-Gurley, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, seventh grade

Second runner-up: Catherine Garvey, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, eighth grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays
There were no entries from Burlington County

Category 5: Grades 6 -8 essays

First Runner-up:  Justin Seo, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, eighth grade

Second runner-up: Brianna Wojnar, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6 -8 Videos

First runner-up: Group Entry, St. Charles Borromeo Religious Education, Cinnaminson, seventh grade

There were no other Burlington entries.

Mercer County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster

First runner-up: Jailyn Kruk, Trenton Catholic Academy, first Grade

Second runner-up: Danielle Self, Trenton Catholic Academy, kindergarten

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster

First runner-up:  Fernando A Luna-Torres, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Jeffrey Merendino, St. Paul School, Princeton, fourth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up:  Isabella Sagarese, St. Paul School, Princeton, sixth grade

Second runner-up: Nicole Morilla, St. Ann School, Lawrenceville, sixth grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 essays

First runner-up:  Alijah Christian Rivera, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Anthony Arriola, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays

First runner-up: Anthony Arrirguzoh, Trenton Catholic Academy, seventh grade

Second runner-up: Erin Stout, Trenton Catholic Academy, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos
There were no other Mercer entries.

Monmouth County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster
First runner-up:  Karina Minall, St. Rose Religious Education, Belmar, third grade

Second runner-up: Alexa Koopman, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, fifth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up: Diego Palayo, St. Veronica School, Howell, sixth grade

Second runner-up: Maura Lennon, St Mary, Middletown, seventh grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays

First runner-up: Lily Loftus, St. Veronica School, Howell, fourth grade
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos
First runner-up: Christopher Medeira, St. Veronica School, Howell, seventh grade
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Ocean County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster

First runner-up: Mary Clare Kennedy, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, first grade

Second runner-up: Raeli Kolber, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, first grade

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster

First runner-up: Brady Ballou, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Elysee (Ella) Jacinto, St. Luke Religious Education, Toms River, third grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up: Ava Carabetta, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, eighth grade

Second runner-up: Jeffrey Frankenburg, St. Dominic School, Brick, seventh grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays

First runner-up: Zoe Petrella, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fifth grade

Second runner-up: Summer Bruce, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fourth grade

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays

First runner-up: Nicole Jimenez, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, eighth grade

Second Runner-up: Claudia Magahis, St. Dominic School, Brick, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos

First runner-up: Kenny Malloy & Jake Mullins, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, sixth grade

There were no other Ocean County entries.






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