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‘Every life is worth living’

Students’ winning essays reflect ‘personal investment,’ belief in core life issues

The U.S. bishops are asking Catholics to take part in 9 Days for Life, a nationwide novena leading up to the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on Jan. 22. The novena runs from Monday, Jan. 14 through Tuesday, Jan. 22. Each day of the novena highlights a different intention while providing daily reflections, educational information, and suggested acts of reparation. Participants can visit www.9daysforlife.com to get the novena by downloading a free mobile app (with customizable daily reminders), or by signing up for daily email or text messages.

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The U.S. bishops are asking Catholics to take part in 9 Days for Life, a nationwide novena leading up to the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on Jan. 22. The novena runs from Monday, Jan. 14 through Tuesday, Jan. 22. Each day of the novena highlights a different intention while providing daily reflections, educational information, and suggested acts of reparation. Participants can visit www.9daysforlife.com to get the novena by downloading a free mobile app (with customizable daily reminders), or by signing up for daily email or text messages.

MIAMI | Proving that the Church’s life teachings encompass much more than abortion, the winning entries in this year’s Respect Life Essay Contest cited chastity, suicide, the death penalty and the fact that “every life has a path constructed perfectly by God.”

The four winning essays “were characterized by creative voice and personal investment in the core life issues and topics chosen,” said Juan Guerra, executive director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office.

He said all the submitted essays “were evidence of these students’ trust in the teachings of the Church” and that respecting all life “is a core Catholic belief that they hold as young individuals.”

That includes defining life in an all-encompassing way, Guerra said, including “those who are disabled, those in the womb, those who are immigrants, as well as respecting themselves and their own bodies.”

The winning essays were selected by the staff of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office, which seeks submissions every October from students in grades six through eight in archdiocesan schools.

Winners received a monetary prize — $100 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third — as well as seeing their essays published in the Florida Catholic and the archdiocesan website.

The 2018 winners are:

Here are their essays.

 

SAY ‘YES’ TO LIFE

Lauren Espinosa
St. Brendan Elementary

Lauren Espinosa

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Lauren Espinosa

Each day, we take our lives for granted. We forget how much our lives are worth, and how much love God has put in us. Some people also forget that God is always there. Everyone has been through rough times. During these rough times, we desperately search for an answer, even though our answer is there the entire time. God is our answer. We call on God for support. He keeps us safe and guides us.

As Catholics, we can say, “Yes” to life in many ways. For example, if a woman is pregnant with a child, but does not know if she can keep the baby, we can help her. We can pray to God to guide her in making the right decision. If she wishes to keep the baby, we ask God to keep them both safe. However, if she chooses not to keep the baby, we must make sure an abortion will not happen. She could give the baby to an orphanage, a family member, or even a friend. No one should choose abortion. Taking the life of anyone, especially a precious unborn child, is wrong. God put everyone on this Earth for a reason. He created us to enjoy the great, beautiful lives he gave us. As Catholics, we can say, “Yes” to Life by deciding against abortion.

Every life is worth living. Even if you feel that the weight of the world is falling on your shoulders, you need to remember that God is always there. He will never desert us. When people feel anxious or depressed, they don't feel like living and take their own lives. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When we are faced with a challenge, we shouldn't give up and end our lives. There is always a rainbow at the end of a rough challenge. We need to know that we will make it through, with God.

 

 
CHASTITY IS WORTH LIVING

Hailey Quiej
St. Lawrence

Hailey Quiej

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Hailey Quiej

The Chastity Challenge is known by many, but not followed by the majority. The concept of being chaste is not just because the Bible said it’s what’s right; the truth is being chaste is more for ourselves than for others. We can choose what we can do and what we can’t do, the same as choosing being chaste or not. Being chaste doesn’t just mean that we will reserve ourselves until marriage. It means we have more respect for ourselves than others. People who are chaste have a say in what they do and say; they do not let others take advantage of them.

Chastity is not something that stops you from having the feeling of love. Chastity is a way for young women to believe in true love. If you say no to sex to someone you are in a relationship with, and they understand, that is a sign they are willing to stay with you under any circumstance. True love is not that easy to find, but knowing that they will understand you is a sign they are the one. Women wear white to signify they are pure while walking down the aisle; if being chaste women don't lie to that tradition.

 

 
TO BE CATHOLIC IS TO BE PRO-LIFE

Yen Truong
All Saints

Yen Truong

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Yen Truong

As Catholic Christians, we are to be pro-life. Life begins when the mother is pregnant, however, death can be the biggest action that we as Catholics are against. The death penalty is one example of what we as Catholics are to be against. Life is what we are to respect the most, as it is God’s peak of creation. Taking someone’s life is only up to God. Killing or taking someone’s life is breaking the fifth commandment: You shall not kill. Pro-choice is the opposite of pro-life.

The death penalty is not a natural death, nor is any type of death that is not chosen by God. We don't expect everyone to be pro-life like us, however, we as Catholics should be pro-life. Taking someone’s life is completely wrong. Even if the person has done something wrong, we should not agree or encourage the punishment of death. There are consequences to things that we do, but death is never the answer. That answer is always up to God. We as Catholics must always respect each other’s lives, no matter what.

As a Catholic Christian, I believe that killing or taking someone’s life away is evil. It’s downright evil because even though the person did wrong, taking their life is even more wrong. We should respect God’s creations. He created us humans in His own image and likeness. Killing them is like taking God’s gift and tearing it to pieces. We respect God and each other always.

 

 
EVERY LIFE: CHERISHED, CHOSEN, SENT

Gena Escanaverino
Blessed Trinity

Gena Escanaverino

Photographer:

Gena Escanaverino

Doctors, teachers, priests, artists, boys, girls, blonds with blue eyes, red heads with brown eyes, all have one thing in common. They were all made in the loving image of God and placed gingerly in the wombs of their mothers. For nine months, those babies are eagerly awaited by grandparents and cousins, but mostly by their parents.

Every life has a path constructed perfectly by God. Every stone in this path carved with every hardship, victory, and accomplishment that he/she will overcome. Every stone that will be stepped on is painted with different colors, in all shades. Every stone is in one’s path customized for that path alone.

God has a path for everyone. Each beautiful child has a right to begin their path. No child is a mistake; they were created in the image of God. When you abort a child, you are stripping them of the life that God created for them. God carefully placed that miracle in the womb of an unsuspecting mother. This child is truly a blessing and a gift. That little baby has a mission that only God knows. That baby needs a chance, to know that he or she will soon be in the arms of a loving family, and that the first steps that baby will take will be the first steps on his path of life. Let us always remember to cherish this.

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