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Priest calls winners of Christmas contest ‘missionaries through their art’
WASHINGTON (CNS) — This year’s winners of the Missionary Childhood Association’s annual Christmas artwork contest “are missionaries through their art, as their drawings proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth,” said Msgr. Kieran E. Harrington, national director of the New York-based Pontifical Mission Societies.
“The mission Church is blessed by the enthusiasm shown by these young artists — and by their commitment to mission, in prayer and sacrifice,” said the priest.
Msgr. Harrington was in Washington with several of the winners for an awards ceremony and a special Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 3.
Twenty-four elementary school-age students won this year’s contest and their artwork will be on display at the national shrine throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.
The winners are from the archdioceses/dioceses of Boston, Chicago, Green Bay, Wis., Greensburg, Pa., Harrisburg, Pa., Los Angeles, Metuchen, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Springfield, Illinois, St. Louis, Trenton, New Jersey, and Venice, Florida.
Eleven of the winners attended the awards ceremony at the national shrine, followed by Mass celebrated by Msgr. Harrington. Others in attendance included the directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies and the coordinators of the Missionary Childhood Association in the 11 archdioceses and dioceses with the winners present.
Each award plaque was individualized for the winner and showcased his or her winning work.
The drawings depicted scenes of the Christmas story: shepherds and angels, the Three Kings and the Holy Family, the animals present by the manger and the Infant Jesus.
Hundreds of submissions were received, both through the mail and online, for this annual competition, which dates back to 1933.
Back then, the Missionary Childhood Association used children’s artwork on Christmas seals. Christmas cards were introduced in 2005, and in 2007, eGreetings were launched using the winning art.
The eGreetings featuring this year’s winners were launched on the first Sunday of Advent at egreetings.missio.org.
The contest’s two grand prize winners — Jacob Cruz of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Emily Shapeero of the Harrisburg Diocese — also will have their artwork featured on the official Pontifical Mission Societies Christmas card this year.
“This contest is just one opportunity for young people to be missionaries today,” said Msgr. Harrington. “MCA is blessed to be able to introduce children here at home to their brothers and sisters in the missions, and to encourage that relationship of ‘children helping children.'”
The association’s 2021-2022 Christmas artwork contest is now open. Details are posted at https://info.missio.org/2021entryform.
The Missionary Childhood Association is one of four Pontifical Mission Societies, active in some 120 countries throughout the world.
The four organizations “work to animate the faithful to a universal missionary spirit” and to gather support for the efforts of the church in some 1,100 mission dioceses in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and parts of Latin America and Europe.
The four societies and their respective areas of responsibility are:
— The Missionary Childhood Association directs its efforts to elementary school-age children to raise awareness about the missions, and to seek prayers and support for outreach to mission children.
— The Society for the Propagation of the Faith encourages prayer and support for pastoral and evangelizing programs of mission dioceses from adults, as well as high school and college students.
— The Society of St. Peter Apostle is concerned with encouraging prayer and financial assistance for seminarians and religious novices in the missions.
— The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious is a spiritual apostolate “to form and to deepen the missionary spirit among those called to animate all the faithful in the missionary task.”
More about the Pontifical Mission Societies can be found online at www.OneFamilyInMission.org.