Project Hope Draws 748 Submissions on “Holy Year of Mercy”

After volunteering at a food pantry for the homeless, high school freshman Madison Wagner perfectly captured the essence of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis in an essay:

“The one sight that will stay with me forever was a mural painted on the wall that displayed lines of hungry people waiting to be fed, and among them was Jesus. This painting connects to one of my favorite Bible verses: ‘Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.’ (Hebrews 13:2)”

The essay by Wagner, a student at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, OH, won the grand prize for Project Hope 2016, an annual contest sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross to recognize outstanding themed essays, films, music and art produced by middle and high school students at Holy Cross schools.

This year’s contest drew 748 submissions from 12 Holy Cross schools in the United States. To reflect this year’s theme, “Holy Year of Mercy,” students were asked to reflect on how they have witnessed mercy or been the recipients of mercy in their lives.

For her efforts, Madison received a $500 award. On the high school level, the Brothers also awarded six $250 first prizes, seven $100 second prizes, 10 $50 third prizes and eight $25 fourth prizes, along with two $50 middle school prizes. In addition, Justin McClain, a theology teacher at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, MD, was recognized as the teacher with the most student entries.