Winners of the annual essay contest of the Serra Club were recognized at a luncheon recently at a Tucson restaurant where the first-place winners read their compositions to an audience that included Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas.
There were three entry categories: Grades four through six, grades seven and eight, and grades nine through 12.
Winners in grades four through six were:
First – Jorge Andres Armenta, Lourdes Catholic School, Nogales; second – Kaitlyn Roeder, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School; third – Guillermo Ruiz, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School; fourth – Rylee Kuglitsh, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School.
Winners in grades seven and eight were:
First – Alejandro Castro, St. Ambrose Catholic School; second – Valeria Dabdoub, Sacred Heart Catholic School; third – Mariajose Moreno, Lourdes Catholic School; fourth – Marlene Cabrera, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School.
Winners in grades nine through 12, all from St. Augustine Catholic High School were:
First – Abigail Kelly; second – Ruben Alderete; third – Mariela Encinas; fourth – Alana Erchull.
The first-place essays follow:
By Jorge Andres Armenta (Grade 5)
St. Francis of Assisi is a true example of compassion for everyone. Francis was the son of a wealthy merchant, a vision made him lose his taste for wordly life. He dedicated his life to help those who were poor.
Today, Francis would be a great example. Many people right now are dying from lack of food or shelter. Francis inspires us to help them.
He is also a great example of respect for all the living critters around us. Francis respected nature as we should. Global warming and pollution are slowly destroying our planet. St. Francis taught us that if you’re good with nature it will reward you.
I also admire him because he founded the Franciscan Order. They preached and made pilgrimages all over Europe. They spread the Good News and converted many into Catholicism. St. Francis’ accomplishments should be our goals.
By Alejandro Castro (Grade 7)
When you are an adult you can show your Catholic faith by going to church every Sunday. You can also show your Catholic faith as an adult by going to nursing homes and visiting. You can talk to the people there. Going to the park and talking to people is another great way to spread Catholic faith.
You can visit people in hospitals that are ill and say a prayer with them. Visiting people that are in jail and are in rehab is another way we can show our Catholic faith as an adult. Some people show their Catholic faith as an adult by writing books about Catholic faith. And authors sometimes write books about people that showed their Catholic faith by doing something in their lifetime.
Some of the other ways you can show your Catholic faith as an adult is by visiting veterans’ hospitals and talking to veterans there. Decorating at the nursing homes and veterans hospitals and talking to people there is another great way you can show your Catholic faith as an adult.
Volunteering at homeless shelters is a great way you can show Catholic faith. You can help make food, sort clothes, donate old clothes and pass our plates to the people at the shelter.
The ways that we can show Catholic faith in our daily lives is, say “I will pray for you” when a friend shares a personal difficulty. Respond “thank God” when someone has shared a success story. Display a religious article in your room. Offer to help a neighbor in need of assistance. Spend time with people that are suffering or are in need.
Invite friends to a school function in your parish. Donate money to your church or to any functions. Warmly greet people who are new to the parish. Send a get-well card to a neighbor that is sick.
Share a smile or personal greeting to those who seem down. Wear a cross or religious article to show your Catholic faith. Do not judge others, do not speak unkindly. Forgive someone who has wronged you. Treat everyone with dignity no matter how much they drive your patience because everyone is a body of Christ.
By Abbey Kelly (Grade 11)
When I am an adult, I can show the world that I’m a Catholic by keeping myself fully involved in the Church. I will help out at a local food kitchen in all my spare time and do it unconditionally.
I would also participate in walks for the cure for cancer or diabetes as much as I possibly can. I could visit elderly people in nursing homes specifically just to keep them company or to make their day a little better. I want to help in every way that I can, no matter how large of a task it may be.
I would be involved in as many groups as I can that help a cause for people who are sick, or just in need of help because they could always use an extra set of hands for something. At the store, I could buy double of all the produce I purchase and give the extra to the food kitchen every week.
Every time I go on a walk for something meaningful, I will try to make my presence be a positive influence on others but never try to make myself seem better than the rest.
Older people in nursing homes usually don’t have anyone to come see them so I would keep them company to let them know that there’s somebody out there that cares for them and wants to make their day because human touch is the ultimate healer.
I would be the person who’s always there no matter what. I believe that there is a deeper and better meaning behind helping quietly in the small ways as opposed to making yourself obviously known in the big ways. I would never try to be conceited by doing all these things to make me seem like a better person, I would do it to help the community because there’s so many people that don’t help the people in need. I would help those who cannot help themselves.
I currently do participate in aiding the people in need in Tucson almost weekly. I often go to community elderly homes, when I am able to, and give them Eucharist since they are unable to travel to a local church and receive it themselves. I usually go with my friend’s grandmother, who is a Eucharistic minister, and she administers it to the people who would like to receive the Body of Christ.
I also travel to a food kitchen every Saturday evening and donate all leftover produce from a farmer’s market, which they use throughout the week to prepare meals for the homeless. I love to help out in every little way that I can because the little things are what make the biggest difference in society.