Winners of an annual Christmas card contest sponsored by the Missionary Child Association of the Pontifical Missions Societies display their artwork at the Extraordinary Year of Mission and World Mission Sunday Mass, celebrated Oct. 20 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. (Photo by Sarah Webb)

With Advent just a few weeks away, several area students were recently recognized by the Archdiocese for original artwork they created as part of a Christmas card contest.

Ten artists from area Catholic schools were commended by Archbishop Charles Chaput during the celebration of the Extraordinary Year of Mission and World Mission Sunday Mass on Oct. 20 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. Each student had submitted a hand-drawn image depicting the Nativity scene, Mary and the infant Jesus, or a related moment from Christ’s birth, such as the annunciation to the shepherds or the visit of the Magi.

The winners’ artwork, which was displayed at the Mass, will be reproduced in the archdiocesan Pontifical Mission Societies’ Christmas card and on that office’s website at phillymissions.org. The pieces will also be staged in the lobby of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center throughout the Advent season.

The initiative is part of the Pontifical Mission Societies’ Missionary Child Association (MCA). Through membership in the MCA, children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and throughout the world learn about their baptismal call to evangelize. In addition, the MCA works to enhance understanding about the lives of children in the developing world, while encouraging its members to become missionary disciples through their own witness, prayer and sacrifice.

(Related: View our photo gallery of the winning images.)

Children craft Christmas art with missions’ theme

The archdiocesan MCA office provides a number of prayer resources, catechetical materials and presentations for home, parish and school use.

Entrants in the archdiocesan artwork contest were also automatically entered in a national MCA contest that selected 24 winners from across the United States. Two grand prize winners will see their work reproduced as the official Christmas cards of the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

Although no archdiocesan entrants were selected for national recognition, their efforts remained successful, said Alixandra Holden, mission education manager for the archdiocesan MCA prorgam.

“To be a missionary is to share your time and talents with the world, as the artwork winners did so beautifully,” said Holden.

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The following students were recognized by Archbishop Charles Chaput for their artwork submitted to the Missionary Child Association:

Scarlett Barker (Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, Collegeville)
Hailey Padlo-Castro (St. Cornelius, Chadds Ford)
Kelly Finan (St. Francis of Assisi, Springfield)
Leo Fiore (St. Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia)
Emily Gouge (St. Anastasia, Newtown Square)
Dale Hernani (Maternity BVM School, Philadelphia)
Moira Larkin (St. Francis of Assisi, Springfield)
Casey McDonough (St. Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia)
Paul Osada (Regina Coeli Academy, Abington)
Caitlin Small (St. James Regional Catholic School, Ridley Park)