The theme of the annual Respect Life Contest was “Christ Our Hope In Every Season of Life.”
The theme of the annual Respect Life Contest was “Christ Our Hope In Every Season of Life.”
Youngsters from around the Diocese had an opportunity to express their respect for life in all its stages in essays for the annual diocesan Respect Life Contest. The theme of the contest was “Christ Our Hope In Every Season of Life.”

Here are the first place essay winners:

1st Place Essay Grades 3-5

Steven Malato Jr., fifth grade, St. Joseph School, Toms River

Life is a privilege, a gift from God. He created us and saved us from sin just to share his love. God created a beautiful world with animals, cliffs and even oceans. Why would you give up the chance to live in this beautiful world that God has made for us and his creatures? If you make a bad choice in life God will always forgive you. If you are diseased, make the best out of your time.

When I was five, my mom died of breast cancer. Although she was diseased for four years, she still had more fun than me. She would still be happy no matter what. Life is amazing, don’t give it up! You can do whatever you put your mind to. If you want to invent something, just do it. If you fail, just try again until you succeed. Live up to your dreams. If you can’t, don’t get upset. Just be proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished.

God has done so much for us. He made the world, he made us. He really doesn’t want us to just speed up life, no matter how hard or bad it is. God is fighting your battles with you and arranging things in your favor, so why would you not want help when you need it? God will always be there for you. He will help you, give you signs if you look for them, and do what’s best for you.

Christ is our hope. Whenever you are having trouble with something or if you need help, just pray. God and Jesus have the power to do anything if you have faith in them. Believe in God and great things will happen. You only get one life and it’s short, so make the best of it. See natural attractions like canyons, oceans, or mountains. Do what your heart desires. If you’re sick, pray to God, even if you have sinned, he will do what he can. If you have a problem where you’re sick, or you have a disease, don’t make it end right away! Keep fighting, because when you eventually die, you will live forever with God in heaven.

If you believe you have sinned too much or too badly, go to Confession. If you want to learn more about God, then go to church. If you just don’t like your life, then do something different, don’t end it. One of the Ten Commandments says “You Shall Not Kill” and that means don’t kill people, creatures, spirits and yourself. Because if you die your entire family will be in despair.

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1st Place Essay Grades 6-8

Brandon Grossman, seventh grade, St. Catharine School, Spring Lake

No matter how we think of it, from the moment we are in our mother’s wombs to the moment when we take our last breath, every second in our lives is a precious gift from God.

Just as a liturgical calendar has its own unique seasons, so do the lives of every human being on this earth. While each season of life has its own unique challenges, it also gives us the unique opportunity to experience God in ways that we have never experienced him before.

Each season gives us extraordinary ways to grow in our relationship with God and become one with our faith. However, in the world that we live in today, there are many obstacles that get in the way and threaten the gift of life. Our society seems to forget the fact that the elderly and the unborn, who need our protection most, aren’t getting the same rights and care as most people in our world today. God put everyone in this world for a purpose, and it is impossible for people to fulfill their purpose if someone else decides their fate for them.

People often view Christianity’s hope in our Lord as just a word, but it is so much more. Hope gives us perspective. Our hope reaches back to the very beginning of our faith and really helps shape us and teach us how to live as followers of Christ. Just as everyone else, Jesus Christ was born from his mother’s womb. Could you imagine what life would be like if Mary didn’t believe that all life was sacred and chose not to give birth to our Lord and Savior? The world as we know it would be in a state of denial, chaos would arise, and no one would be forgiven from sins. However, Mary decided to put her faith and hope into God, and God fulfilled his promise. If Jesus Christ was given the chance to live on earth, then why can’t everyone else? Who knows what capabilities someone has in their heart and what special connections that person has to God.

I always like to think about Sister Carole, a beloved nun in our parish community. She has affected hundreds of lives in Uganda and always puts others first. Imagine if she wasn’t born into this world. Hundreds of helpless children would be in need of salvation and wouldn’t be able to share in the same hope and joy in Christ that Sister Carole has. No matter what season or period of time, there will always be hope. That hope will change our lives and help us live as better people. It will promise us salvation in heaven and help us overcome whatever hurdles life throws at us. We will be able to persevere through the tough times and see God in every moment of life. Everyone in the world should experience the same feeling of hope from the beginning to the end of their lives.