The world continues to be torn by war in Ukraine and other horrors, but on Divine Mercy Sunday San Francisco’s Archbishop told those gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral, “it is more important than ever to be aware of the many acts of compassionate love in our midst that defend the dignity of every human person and teach us how to face the crises of our time.”

“St. John Paul II’s native Poland is certainly a leading example, with the gracious and generous welcome they are giving to refugees from neighboring Ukraine,” Archbishop Salvatore  Cordileone declared in his homily.

“But we also have shining examples here in church with us today: the young students who are the contestants in the annual Archdiocesan Respect Life Essay contest,” said the Archbishop.

“My dear young people: you are an inspiring witness to your peers, and to us, of the compassionate love so needed in the world today, love which affirms the value of every human being,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

About 400 people, children and families and friends, gathered at the 11 a.m. Mass and then attended an awards ceremony where students K-12 received their awards.

This year’s theme was “Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Americas and of the Unborn.”  More than 700 entries were received from throughout the archdiocese for the contest, which was open to students in kindergarten through high school.

A first place for each county and grade was awarded and a grand prize for each grade level K-8. A grand prize award was given to a high school contestant. The contest was sponsored by United For Life of San Francisco. This year the high school grand prize winner was Jillian Yujuico of St. Timothy Parish in San Mateo, who attends St. Francis High School in Mountain View.

In  her winning essay, Yujuico wrote, “We can apply the message, story, and image of Our Lady of Guadalupe today by praying and taking care of the unborn….”

The above comes from an April 25 release from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.