High school juniors, seniors invited to enter USCCB religious liberty essay

A bald eagle and U.S. flag are seen in an illustration for religious liberty. (OSV News Illustration by Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, along with the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute, is hosting a religious liberty essay contest for high school juniors and seniors.

The contest, titled “Witnesses to Freedom,” requires participants to “share the story of a witness to freedom.” “Participants should choose one person or group, such as an organization or community, who is important in the story of religious freedom,” according to the contest rules, posted on the USCCB’s website.

Essays are due March 24. Winners will be announced in May. The first-place essay will be published by Our Sunday Visitor, the newspaper of OSV, and the author will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Second place will receive a $1,000 scholarship and third place will receive a $500 scholarship.

The USCCB’s general information about the contest (found at usccb.org/religious-liberty-essay) urges contestants to consider these questions: “Was there a key moment in the person’s life that bears witness to freedom? Or was it the life as a whole? Did the person articulate important concepts for religious freedom, and if so, what arguments did she or he make? Why is this person a witness to religious freedom? What lessons can we learn from this person’s witness?”

“Religious freedom is a fundamental right,” the USCCB said. “But the truth of religious freedom has needed, and continues to need, witnesses. Philosophers and statesmen have articulated key principles and ideas. Advocates have stood up for the freedom of others. Saints have suffered persecution and even martyrdom. These witnesses to freedom show us what it means to promote religious freedom and what it means to be truly free.”

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