Jack Stevenson, a seventh-grader at St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky., won first place for his essay “My day as a priest.” It imagines a day in the life of a priest from his morning alarm to bedtime prayer.
Jack’s essay, printed below, “shows that he has been observing a very good priest and he has also been asking questions,” said Father Chandler, director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Vocations Office. “I pray that there are some vocations from many of our participants this year.”
Winners of the annual contest, sponsored by the Vocation Office and the Serra Club of Louisville, were announced last week. The contest received 137 entries this year.
Eleven schools participated in the poster contest and seven participated in the essay contest.
Essay writers were asked to respond to one of the following prompts:
- “How could my family’s life foster and encourage a positive response to God’s call to a religious vocation?”
- “Imagine yourself for a moment as a priest, deacon or religious sister or brother. How would you spend your day?”
Second-place in the essay contest went to Felicity Kaufman, an eighth-grader at Holy Angels Academy.
Campbell Meumann, a seventh-grader at St. James in Elizabethtown, won third place.
All essays appear below.
Poster competitors were asked to create a poster that “promotes vocations to the priesthood, consecrated religious life, permanent diaconate, married or single life.”
Katie Wancket, a fifth-grader at St. Agnes School, won first place.
Second-place went to Wade Carter, a sixth-grader at St. Catherine Academy in New Haven, Ky.
And, Brecken McKiernan, a fifth-grader at St. Agnes, won third place.
The posters can be viewed below.
Winners will be recognized during a Zoom call in their classrooms. First-place winners received $100, second-place winners received $75 and the third-place winners received $50 in addition to a certificate.
Vocation Essay Winner
My day as a priest
By Jack Stevenson
Beep..beep..be. I slowly roll out of bed after turning off my alarm clock. 6 a.m. is an early time to get up. However, I need the quiet time to pray to God before I start my day as a parish priest. Then I get dressed and prepare my breakfast before heading out to church for morning Mass.
At Mass I listen to the readings, give a sermon to help people truly understand what the reading is telling us, and consecrate and administer the Eucharist. I stay behind after Mass to help clean up and greet people as they leave. After morning Mass I visit a sick member of my congregation at the hospital. I keep granola bars in my car, because sometimes I do not have time for lunch. Today is one of those days. I say grace and then eat my granola bar in the car before driving back to the church for a funeral service.
After returning from the cemetery I check in with the Parish Office. After a short afternoon reflection with the office staff, they inform me that there are several meetings this afternoon with topics including marriage counseling, spiritual guidance, school issues, church issues. At 4 p.m. I hear confessions at the church, and I enjoy helping my parishioners grow closer to God.
From 5-6 p.m. I have dinner and some time for contemplation. Then I head back to the church where I can visit with my church community as they arrive for our parish council meeting. At 9 p.m. I head home to unwind and prepare for tomorrow. Sometimes I watch TV, listen to music or read. Before going to bed I always pray, “Protect us Lord as we stay awake, watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep rest in His peace.”
Jack Stevenson is a seventh-grader at St. James School, Elizabethtown.
Vocation Essay second place
Imagine yourself as a priest, deacon or religious sister or brother. How would you spend your day?
By Felicity Kaufman
If I were a religious sister I would want to be able to venture out in the world that God created and help people. I would wake up before the radiant sun has time to rise. I would dress in my habit with a cheery smile on my face. Why shouldn’t I be happy? God created this day for me to enjoy! After I had dressed myself I would hurry down to the chapel, hoping to catch the earliest Mass. Once the best part of my day has been completed, I would head to the kitchen to make my fellow sisters a breakfast, my smile still on my face. Following my hopefully edible eggs, I would head to the chapel once again, praying for everyone I love, those I don’t know, and for a fruitful day. After this, I would head out to where my afternoon is usually spent: school!
Usually, I would loathe walking to school at any hour, but since I’m the teacher this time, I’m happy to attend. I would be a math teacher, for it is my favorite subject. If God has other plans, though, that’s fine with me. After torturing my students with some algebraic terms they don’t understand yet, I would get to the actual teaching part. On Fridays, I would turn the math lesson into a game. After the math class had been completed I would also teach art, for that is also a favorite subject of mine. I would teach them to draw God’s beautiful creations with enthusiasm.
After saying goodbye to students and staff jovially, I would walk back to my convent. On my walk home I would help an unsuspecting person or two. As the sun starts to set, I would once again thank God for everything. Once I have recited my prayers of thanksgiving, I would head to the dining room, praying I’m not too late to quench my hunger and thirst after a long prosperous day.
Felicity Kaufman is an eighth-grader at Holy Angels Academy
Vocation Essay third place
By Campbell Meumann
As a Christian, it is important to learn how to live a life for God in a multicultural society. Growing up in a military family we are constantly moving and subjected to a lot of different experiences. Sometimes it becomes a challenge when knowing what choices God wants for my life. There are several verses in the Bible where God calls us all to “live a life above reproach.” In Proverbs 22:6, the bible also says to parents, “Train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I believe that this verse provides clear guidance to parents as how to foster a child towards the calling of God.
In my family, it is very important to sit down in the evenings and have our devotions. Being in the Word of God is how we learn about God’s wisdom for our life. Daily prayer is where we humble ourselves speaking and sharing with God. This fosters the intimacy of our relationship with God, 1 Corinthians 1:9, “For God is faithful through whom you were called in Fellowship with His Son Christ Jesus.” Therefore it is most important to have a willingness to listen, be patient, and seek God’s guidance through his Word to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct His will in our lives. This is the fostering that led me to my own personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and to be baptized.
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us as individuals to, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19-20. It is here in these verses that Jesus speaks to us that it is now our individual responsibility to transition from being fostered to begin fostering those who are unsaved so that they may come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
As a military child my family moves almost every two years. I have moved six times in 13 years. We have lived in different states and in different countries. Each new place provides a new set of challenges. Learning about different cultures, ethnic groups, religions, and gender topics. My family helps educate me, reminding me to always be kind and to show compassion towards others but to remain strong in my faith and personal relationship with God and His Holy Word. These challenges help me foster my personal relationship with God because it challenges me to prove what I know and believe. In conclusion, my military family has helped foster me into the Kingdom of Heaven and has provided me with the Full Armor of God, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11.
Campbell Meumann is a seventh-grader at St. James School, Elizabethtown, Ky.