Serra Club of Reading salutes winners of student essay contestArticle from AD Times page 21
The Serra Club of Reading invited all the parochial schools of the Berks Deanery to participate in its third annual Vocation Essay Contest. The competition was open to seventh- and eighth-graders who responded to the prompts provided by local seminarians.
For seventh grade the theme was Jesus' words found in John 15:13: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."
The eighth grade theme was from the prophet Isaiah: "I have called you by name, and you are mine."
Essays were graded at the schools, and two from each class were submitted for judging by the Vocations Committee.
The winner was Lynette DeGabriel from St. Margaret School, Reading. Principal Sister Michele Smith presented her award during Sunday Mass at the parish celebrated by Father Angel Garcia Almodovar.
Second place, along with two honorable mention awards, was earned by students at St. Peter School, Reading.
Eighth-grader Nathan Perez earned second place, and eighth-grader Lillianna Roman and seventh-grader Stefany Rosas received honorable mentions.
In his homily during Catholic Schools Week, Father David Kozak, assistant pastor, highlighted the joy we have as Christians for the gifts God has given to us, and how we are sent to share these gifts with others.
The Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Thomas Orsulak, pastor, for the 270-strong student body, religious and lay teachers, and staff.
During a presentation after the liturgy Serran Mike Boylan related to the students that his father attended St. Peter School many years ago. He shared his father's often-stated lesson that with all the success and blessings of his long life, the gift of faith nurtured at St. Peter School is the most precious treasure he had ever received.
Third place winner Ciaran Giles was recognized after the Catholic Schools Week liturgy at Sacred Heart Parish celebrated by Father Keith Mathur, assistant pastor.
Just as the first apostles were sent out with Jesus' instructions in the Gospel message, Serran Scott Kos recalled St. Junipero Serra's leaving his native Spain for the New World. Father Serra's trust in God's plan, dedication to Our Blessed Mother and tireless zeal were the motivations that made his establishment of the California missions possible.
Despite physical ills, including an ulcerated foot that plagued him his whole life, St. Serra trekked from the Baja to San Francisco founding and building missions, many of which would become the state's modern-day cities.
The Serrans extended a special "thank you" to all the teachers who worked with the students and graded the essays, along with the principals and pastors who participated.