Winners of Vocation Essay and Poster contest named

Record Staff Report

The Archdiocese of Louisville’s Vocation Office and Serra Club have announced the winners of their annual Vocation Essay and Poster Contest.
Essay writers were asked to respond to one of the following prompts:

  • “Describe how your relationship with a priest, consecrated religious, deacon or seminarian has enriched your life as a Catholic.”
  • “How have you learned to be a disciple through the ministry of a priest, deacon or person in a religious life?”

Rylee French, an eighth-grader at St. Gregory School in Samuels, Ky., won with an essay on the late Deacon Joe Livers. Her essay appears below.

Second-place went to Cecilia Stromberg, a seventh-grader who is homeschooled and attends Immaculate Conception Church in La Grange, Ky.

Ophelia Lorenz, an eighth-grader at St. Agnes School placed third.

The second- and third-place essays can be read below.

Poster competitors were asked to create a poster that “promotes vocations to the priesthood, consecrated religious life, permanent diaconate, married or single life.”

Bryce Green, a sixth-grader at St. Albert the Great School, won the poster contest.

Olivia Diamond, also a sixth-grader at St. Albert, placed second.

And Trevor French, a sixth-grader at St. Gregory School, placed third.

The top posters are published below.

The annual contest is meant prompt young people to think about and learn about vocations. It is sponsored by the Vocation Office and the Serra Club, an organization dedicated to promoting vocations.

First-place winners will be recognized at the March Serra Club luncheon and all top finishers will receive a monetary prize.


Deacon Joe Livers taught me to be a disciple
by Rylee French

Rylee French

How would I live as a child of Jesus? How would I grow to be a faithful disciple of Christ?

How would I live as a child of Jesus? How would I grow to be a faithful disciple of Christ?

I began asking myself these questions after I participated in my First Communion. For a long while, I felt greatly bewildered, until one crisp Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Deacon Joe calmly proceeded down from the altar, ready to present his homily. He shocked me by the words, “You can be Jesus’ disciple.”

I think this astonished my younger self simply because up until that point, I had always looked at the term “disciple” as one of the 12 Apostles who followed Jesus during his time alive, not as a child looking for consolation in Christ.

Deacon Joe taught me the great value of hope, guidance, and purpose, that maybe I could be Jesus’ disciple too!

From that point onward, I tried significantly harder to fulfill this name, this expression. I now enjoyed helping others, appreciated my blessings and talents, and acknowledged my parents’ sacrifices for my good education and athletic opportunities.

I learned to show kindness and love to those around me. I learned to try to fit the difficult title, “a disciple of Christ,’ through Deacon Joe Livers” example.

Sorrowfully, Deacon Joe passed recently. Although he is deceased, I hope he knows just how much he has impacted the people around him, how much he has impacted me. I hope he knows that we will always miss his incredible influence on our hearts and minds, his influence on our parish.
Thank you, Deacon Joe, for your religious sacrifices, your contributions to St. Gregory School, your ministry in St. Gregory Parish, and your Catholic inspiration in my life. Thank you.

Rylee French is an eighth-grader at St. Gregory School.


Bryce Green is a 6th grader at St. Albert the Great School.











Living a Virtuous Life
by Cecilia Stromberg

Cecilia Stromberg

My oldest sister Elizabeth, also my godmother and a consecrated Catholic missionary, is the one who has most enriched my life as a Catholic. Although I was only two years old when she took her vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, she always encouraged me to go to Mass, stay close to Jesus through prayer and to be more reverent.

Once I asked Elizabeth what she did when she was my age to discern her vocation. She said, “When I was ten years old, I had my first experience of Jesus. I was in Mass after communion. I was looking at the crucifix, seeing how much Jesus suffered for love for me, and in that moment I knew that Jesus was a real person who loved me and was present in the Blessed Sacrament.”

I find it inspiring that she always gets excited about everything Catholic like saints and Mass. I once asked her why. She said, “I love Mass because when I was younger my brother John once said, ‘it is the most jammed packed moment of the day. If you think about it– God comes from heaven to earth and into our heart– what could be more exciting than that?’” This helped me love Mass so much, which enriches my life as a Catholic.

Elizabeth helps me practice virtue as well, especially generosity, patience, love of God and neighbor, humility and piety. She works in a Catholic school and she teaches these virtues by living them. She believes that learning by example is best. She shares stories about striving to live the virtues in her own life. She uses St. Francis of Assisi’s words: “Preach always and when necessary use words.” Using her example, I hope to model my life on hers in order to become a better Catholic.


Olivia Diamond is in 6th grade at St. Albert the Great School.










My Spiritual Relationship With Father
by Ophelia Lorenz

Ophelia Lorenz

I feel that my relationship with our Priest, Father David, has augmented my Catholic faith. I would be lost without him, because if he wasn’t there to teach us, I would wonder what the point of my Catholic faith is or how to get closer to God. There are many times when my Catholic Faith is strengthened through my relationship with Father David. As eighth graders, we are invited to serve at Mass. Besides having the astonishing feeling that I am serving my Savior, serving is a great experience because it brings me closer to God. While I am serving, I get this great feeling inside. As I watch Father consecrate the bread, I think, “Wow. I helped set that up. I played a role in the miracle of the Eucharist. I get to stand close by and watch it happen.” I think this proves how strong my relationship with Father is because through him, I can experience God, and through him, my faith is strengthened. It also gives me some down time with Father. Surprisingly enough, my relationship is strengthened with him not only during Mass, but before and after. After serving, we must clean the dishes and put them back. In this five minute period when Father and I are washing the dishes, I get to have a conversation with Father. It is not at all stressful because of how great he is, nor is it a fake conversation in which we only talk about the Catholic faith or any sins I’ve made. It is a real and true heart to heart conversation, like one I would have with a friend or family member. It makes me feel secure and stronger towards the Catholic faith because I know that I will always have a Father, mentor, and friend.


Trevor French is a 6th grader at St. Gregory School.








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