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Young artists ‘express the joy of Christ’s birth’

Each year the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) hosts a National Christmas Artwork contest, in which each diocese across the country is invited to have their students in grades K-8 participate. This annual contest, a tradition since 1933, encourages children from elementary schools and religious education programs to express the joy of Christ's birth through art.

The Diocese of Birmingham’s Missionary Childhood Association Office recently announced that one local student, Hannah Ceasar, from Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School in Birmingham was chosen as one of the winners. In total, fifteen winners from across the country were chosen, including two grand prize winners from Harrisburg, MS, and Venice, FL. A National celebration will take place on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Basilica of The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., where students will be honored with a plaque.

The winning artwork will be featured on the official Christmas cards of The Pontifical Mission Societies. The cards, bearing the essence of Christmas as seen through the eyes of children, will be sent to thousands, including a special handwritten seasonal greeting to Pope Francis.

The diocese also held a contest, choosing three winners. The grand prize winner, Lilly Nguyen from Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School in Birmingham, will have her artwork featured on Bishop Raica’s 2024 Christmas card. The other two winners were Luna Ortiz of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Birmingham and Lily Mae Braud of Prince of Peace Catholic School in Hoover.

Alixandra Holdren, the National Director of the Missionary Childhood Association, stated: "The Missionary Childhood Association has always believed in the power of children's creativity to bridge worlds and open hearts. This year's Christmas artwork contest has once again illuminated this belief. Seeing the world through the eyes of our young artists not only brings a fresh perspective to the story of Christmas but also connects us more deeply to our faith and to each other. These young missionary artists, through their drawings, have not only depicted scenes from the Nativity but have also woven a tapestry of hope, joy, and universal brotherhood. Their art is a reminder that even the smallest hands can create a profound impact, echoing the MCA's core mission of fostering a spirit of global solidarity among children. We are immensely proud of all the participants and grateful for the opportunity to share their inspiring work with the world."