Project Hope

This year’s Project Hope was an amazing success! With nearly 600 entries representing 10 Holy Cross schools from California to Connecticut, we received brilliant essays, films, artwork, and music all centered on this year’s theme: “Wake up the World!” This was Pope Francis’ challenge to men and women religious – brothers, priests, and sisters – in this Year of Consecrated Life. And, it is a challenge that we presented to our Holy Cross students who, based on their submissions, did indeed call all of us to follow Jesus in service to others, especially those who are poor and suffering. Check out a few of the winning entries for their message of faith, holiness, and hope.

In original Grand Prize song, she tells us, “If you believe, don’t be afraid to Kathleen O’Neill’s say what you want to be heard. Put your hands together, let’s pray. If you want to see change, you got to do it yourself. You have to lead the way …” Kathleen is from Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, IN.


“Tree of Testimony”, by Alexandria Artino

Alexandria Artino’s artwork, “Tree of Testimony,” describes our faith in God –

“Strong and sturdy, rooted in love, the Tree stood tall and watched from above … And for those who were broken, consumed in their sorrows, yearned for His touch and a better tomorrow. He welcomed them back, bandaged their parts, they transformed their ways and gave Him their hearts.”

Alexandria is a student at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, OH.

Nick Tamplain of Holy Cross School in New Orleans, writes,

As children of God, we are all called to our own individual vocation. Some people find their true calling in the early stages of life, others may take longer to find what God is calling them to do. Finding our true calling is always a journey. We must go through challenges in order to truly determine how God is calling us to serve him. As a person of faith, I believe that I am presently still being called to explore life in order to find my vocation. Figuring out my vocation is something that worries me but also excites my imagination.


Fr. James Keenan, SJ

Lastly, Johnny Neuenfeldt, Holy Cross High School, Flushing, NY, interviewed Fr. James Keenan, SJ, a Jesuit priest and friend of Johnny’s family. He writes about how this one man, who consecrated his life to God, influenced him, “Fr. Keenan is a very special person in my life. He taught my dad at Xavier High School in New York City and has always remained close to my dad and my family. He was one of the three priests from Xavier who said the Mass when my parents were married. He gave Last Rites to each of my dad’s parents, and he was at two very special occasions in my life, my communion and my confirmation. We still are very close to him.”

If you feel inspired by these Project Hope entries, check out the other winning submissions at And, don’t forget that you, too, can “Wake up the World!”