Lilah Monserrat, a St. Thomas the Apostle School student and first prize winner in the grades one-two division in the 30th Annual Respect Life Essay Contest, looks up at Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian, OP, during the awards ceremony Feb. 10 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. (Photo by Debra Greenblat/Office of Human life and dignity)
February 28, 2019
The theme of this year’s 30th Annual Archdiocesan Respect Life Essay Contest, “The Unborn Child: One of Us,” highlighted the essential humanity of the baby in the womb – and God’s personal love for these smallest of all human beings.
This essential humanity is understood by the students. The students’ essays exhibit an empathy and intuitive grasp of the immorality of abortion that contrasts sharply with the mental abstractions that politicians create to justify their support for abortion.
In their essays, the students demonstrate that they understand that unborn babies are human beings who are born, become toddlers, school children and finally adults. These babies-turned-adults are the people who change the world. “Think,” one student wonders, after listing Apple founder Steve Jobs, Pope St. John Paul II, and Italian singer and songwriter Andrea Bocelli, “of what we would have missed had they been aborted?” Another student challenged the reader to “picture the faces of the individuals you have befriended … those you hold dearest in your heart,” before asking what would’ve happened if they were never given the chance to exit the womb.
All of the potential and future of each individual life, our students grasped, begins in the womb, because we all began in the womb. And if this is the case, then how horrendous is it to snuff out growing popes, CEOs, and opera singers as if they are truly nothing more than a “clump of cells” with no future? Our students understand this disconnect – and we are proud and honored to have had their involvement, and their excellent essays, in this year’s contest.
We thank all who attended the Feb. 10 Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian, OP, and the awards ceremony that followed. Thank you to the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women who helped host the reception, and United for Life of Northern California for donating the funds for the prizes. Thanks especially to Vicki Evans, who recently stepped down as volunteer respect life coordinator and wrote the essay questions for this year’s contest.
This year’s 80 winners and honorable-mention recipients, chosen from the 318 essays submitted by our Catholic schools, religious education programs and homeschooling families, are listed below.
Mitchell Tu is social action coordinator, Office of Human Life and Dignity, Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Grand-prize winners in the archdiocese’s 30th Annual Respect Life Essay contest gathered with Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian, OP, for a celebratory picture during the awards ceremony Feb. 10 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. From left, Louisse Bella (Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory); Matthew Gonzalez (St. Catherine of Siena); Elise Lau (Star of the Sea); Sammy Ariyoshi (St. Isabella), Hudson Hertel (St. Anselm). See Page 5 for an article on the contest and a photo of the first-prize winners. Students wrote on the theme, “The Unborn Child: One of Us.” (Photo by Debra Greenblat/Office of Human life and dignity, archdiocese of San Francisco)
Grand Prize: Hudson Hertel, St. Anselm.
First Prize: San Francisco, Lilah Monserrat, St. Thomas the Apostle; San Mateo, Olivia Moyer, St. Catherine of Siena; Marin, Cecilia Mitchell, St. Isabella PSR.
Honorable Mention: Timothy Zhu, St. Mark; Primrose Powers, Our Lady of Angels; Owen Burns, Our Lady of Angels; Tina Caraluggio, St. Isabella PSR; Matthew Warmby, St. Anselm; Beatrice Pheatt, St. Isabella; Alexan Rodkewich, St. Monica; Jakob Lee, St. Monica; Adam Botones, Mission Dolores Academy; Chloe Suggitt, St. Finn Barr.
Grand Prize: Sammy Ariyoshi, St. Isabella.
First Prize: San Francisco, Mario Argueta Jr., Epiphany; San Mateo, Layla Apour, St. Catherine of Siena; Marin, Conner Baird, St. Anselm.
Honorable Mention: Audrina Castro, All Souls; Ava Legaspi, Epiphany; Francesca Manalastas, Holy Angels; Jennifer Gutierrez, Mission Dolores Academy; Isabella Castro, St. Monica; Sally Hu, Our Lady of Mercy; Bianca Pascual, Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Miguel Picasso, Our Lady of the Visitacion; Chiara Machotka-Farley, St. Anselm; Grace Basso, St. Anselm; Emily Wade, St. Catherine of Siena; Gia Belforte, St. Gregory; Morgan Graziano, St. Isabella; Charlotte Maloney, St. Isabella; Roselle Asunka; St. Mark; Kenzeey Ramos, St. Monica.
Grand Prize: Elise Lau, Star of the Sea.
First Prize: San Francisco, Kylie Abrego, Star of the Sea; San Mateo, Brianna Niizawa, St. Catherine of Siena; Marin, Hadley Hodges, St. Isabella.
Honorable Mention: Evangelina Alba, All Souls; Javier Kinney, Epiphany; Julian Rodriguez, Holy Angels; Alejandra Rosales, Mission Dolores Academy; Katie Kockos, Our Lady of Angels; Aliana Patel-Chang, Our Lady of Mercy; Julia Flores, Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Ruby Hernandez; Our Lady of the Visitacion; Jay Leder, St. Matthew; Alexander Buick, St. Gregory; Dempsey Boone, St. Anselm; Lana Trehan, St. Catherine of Siena; Matteo Gambelin, St. Gregory; Natalie Jaworski, St. Isabella; Mia Anibale, St. Isabella; Megan Low, St. Monica; Robyn Lau, St. Thomas the Apostle; Olivia Dziadzia; Star of the Sea.
Grand Prize: Matthew Gonzalez, St. Catherine of Siena.
First Prize: San Francisco, Tess Fernandez-Gotico, Epiphany; San Mateo, Hillary Marie Jimenea, Holy Angels; Marin, Alessandra Alioto, St. Anselm.
Honorable Mention: Lauren Fitzgerald, St. Gregory; Paloma Sangervasi, St. Catherine of Siena; Sofia Tocchini, Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Colby Wright, St. Matthew; Faye Crow, Our Lady of Mercy; James Urrutia, St. Catherine of Siena; Samantha Bianca Suarez, All Souls; Elyse Greany, Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Christian Bejar, Holy Angels; Sonia Ko; St. Thomas the Apostle; Cynthia Ortiz, Mission Dolores Academy; Madeline Santos, Mission Dolores Academy; Miguel Hernandez, Our Lady of the Visitacion; Won Kim, St. Monica; Brian Rauda, Epiphany; Vivian Tran, Our Lady of the Visitacion; Gracyn Lovette, St. Anselm; Gabby Bailey, St. Isabella.
Grand Prize: Louisse Bella, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory.
First Prize: San Francisco, Lorenzo Bolls, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
First-prize winners in the 30th Annual Respect Life Essay Contest are pictured with Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian. Back row from left: Allesandra Alioto (St. Anselm); Conner Baird (St. Anselm); Brianna Niizawa (St. Catherine of Siena); Halley Hodges (St. Isabella); Bishop Christian; Hillary Marie Jimenea (Holy Angels); Tess Fernandez-Gotico (Epiphany); Lorenzo Bolls (Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory). Front from left: Layla Apour (St. Catherine of Siena); Mario Argueta Jr. (Epiphany); Cecilia Mitchell (St. Isabella PSR); Olivia Moyer (St. Catherine of Siena); Lilah Monserrat (St. Thomas the Apostle); Kylie Abrego (Star of the Sea). (Photo by Debra Greenblat/Office of Human life & dignity, archdiocese of San Francisco)