The winner of the Friar’s Essay Contest will receive an iPad2 Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Christian unity the goal of the Friar’s Essay Contest

  • December 7, 2011

Contemplating Christian unity could get you an iPad 2 as part of this year’s Friar’s Essay Contest.

Submissions are currently being accepted for the 10th annual contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity co-sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement-Graymoor in Toronto.

The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “We will all be changed.” Students are asked to submit a 500-word essay answering the question: What must be changed in order to attain Christian unity in the Church?

Fr. Damian MacPherson, one of the judges, hopes the contest helps students become more aware of their call to Christian unity.

“It’s the responsibility of all of us to be aware of and to do what we can to overcome the division of Christianity,” he said.

And since the essay requires students to further reflect on the biblical text, the contest offers a good way for youth to get in contact with the Bible, he said.

“It’s a challenge for all those who want to take it on and it’s rewarding especially for those who are chosen as the winners,” said MacPherson.

The top three essays will be edited and published in The Catholic Register.

Adanna Chigbo, a first-year student at the University of Toronto Mississauga and last year’s second-place winner, said having her essay published in a national newspaper made her feel like her voice was being heard on a subject she was passionate about. She noted that last year’s contest coincided with a period where the killing of Egyptian Christians was making news.

“This contest makes you question things you usually take for granted,” she said, referring to why divisions in the Church exist in the first place.

“It is sort of like the spark that changes your perspective — not your beliefs — as to why you think the way you think and what solutions you can propose to address issues long after the essay is done,” said Chigbo. “Hopefully regardless of whether you win or not.”

Following the contest, Chigbo went on to become one of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News writers for this year’s team.

Aside from the first place prize of a 16 GB iPad 2, the second place winner will receive Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

To enter, contestants must be between 14 and 18 years old and enrolled in a secondary school in Ontario or equivalent program. Deadline for entries is Jan. 9, 2012.

Essays can be submitted to For more information, visit

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