Tag Archives: John Iekel

    Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster Contest Biggest Ever, Winners Announced

    John Lilly No Comments

    The winners in the 18th annual Youth Apostles Prolife Poster Contest have been selected! The theme was “Time to Respect Life.”

    Thanks to all the participants, schools and youth ministries that took part.

    There were 626 entries, the highest number of entries in any Youth Apostles Pro-life Poster Contest ever.

    Participants came from the following schools: Paul VI High School, Bishop D.J. O’Connell High School, Angelus Academy, Holy Cross Academy, Holy Spirit School, Our Lady of Good Counsel School, St. Agnes School, St. Francis of Assisi School, St. James School, St. John Academy, St. Joseph School, and St. Theresa School. Members of Our Lady of Hope Youth Group participated, as well.

    The entries evinced not only creativity and artistic talent, but also understanding and appreciation of prolife values.

    The first place winning entries are attached so they can be printed and used during the March for Life.

    The winners are as follows:



    First Place: Margaret Mitchell, Paul VI High School

    Second Place: Shuyler Workmaster, Bishop D.J. O’Connell High School

    Third Place: Jennifer Marty, Paul VI High School


    Honorable Mention:

    Nicole Franchi, Paul VI High School

    Katarina George’s, Paul VI High School

    Emma Hitchcock, Paul VI High School

    Eunah Lee, Paul VI High School

    Christina Navarro, Paul VI High School

    Victoria Rodriguez, Paul VI High School

    Michelle Email, Paul VI High School

    Gloria Whitfield, Paul VI High School



    First Place: Julia Kupczak, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Second Place: Jasmine Moalem, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Third Place: Darby Galbraith, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Honorable Mention:

    Caroline Cristofaro, Our Lady of Hope Youth Group

    Katie Evans, St. Joesph School

    Cara Grimm, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Ella Kravitz, Our Lady of Good Counsel School

    Charlie Lamb, Holy Spirit School

    Lynn Loftus, St. Agnes Catholic School

    Nick Villazon, St. Francis of Assisi School


    18th Annual Pro-life Poster Contest

    John Lilly No Comments

    baby-feet-1527456_1280The Youth Apostles Institute is holding its 18th annual pro-life poster contest. The theme for the contest is “Time to Respect Life!”

    Through the contest, we hope to provide a means by which young people may express their pro-life beliefs and the values they have been taught at school, in ministry and at home. We also hope to provide an activity that teachers may find to be a useful supplement or complement to classroom instruction, and to provide youth ministers with something that could complement their efforts and offer a means of expression and food for discussion.

    There will be two divisions: Junior (grades 7 and 8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Prizes include first place ($100), second place ($75), third place ($50) and honorable mention certificates.


    • Entries may be on 8.5″x11″ or larger size paper, or on posterboard.
    • Electronic entries also accepted!
    • Entries must address the topic and express a view supporting the sanctity of unborn human life
    • Entries must be a participant’s original work.

    Entries must include:

    1. Name
    2. School or parish
    3. Grade level
    4. School address or home address

    Entries must be mailed or delivered by Monday, November 14, 2016 to:

    John Iekel
    Youth Apostles Institute
    1600 Carlin Lane
    McLean, VA 22101

    Entries sent via email go to jfiekel@gmail.com. If entries are to be delivered, call (703) 556-0914 to notify.

    Entries become the property of the Youth Apostles Institute and will not be returned. Questions? Call (703) 556-0914.

    2014 Pro-Life Essay Contest Winners

    John Lilly No Comments

    Junior Division First Place

    Arianna Z. Tilley

    Angelus Academy

    In Matthew 5:13, the Gospel explains that we should be “salt of the earth” but not live in the world. In other words, we must not get trapped in the world’s troubles, but rather work to draw the world to God. One of the many troubles that the world has today that prevents us from fulfilling this mission is the lack of protection for life. To help make out world a universal “culture of life,” we must reach one heart at a time through prayer and action.

    Prayer is the most important means to build a “culture of life.” During prayer, we lift our hearts and minds to God. Thus, praying for those who abuse the gift of life is a good way to reach their hearts. This will allow God’s love to penetrate their hearts.

    After all, Pope John Paul II did say that the prayers of children are very powerful. Although our prayers as the children of God are powerful, they are often not answered right away. Thus, we must pray with perseverance (always). Prayer is an indirect and powerful way of reaching many hearts; however, the right actions are also important to fulfill our mission to build a “culture of life.”

    It is often said that actions speak louder than words. We must live out our faith as Catholics, showing what it truly means to be pro-life and treasure the gift of life from God. Some ways that we can show our commitment to the culture of life include voting for pro-life candidates, having rallies, and participating in programs such as 40 days for life. Many politicians have great influential speeches, but they only go so far. For example, the candidates may have the passion, but they don’t have the strong deep conviction that we need to have in debates on the pro-life issues.

    The deep conviction that we have as Catholics has the ability to carry a far deeper meaning and it sends it into the hearts and minds of others. We can also use our powerful speech and our actions to create a culture of life in our daily lives. This can also play a great effect on our culture of life, because we are setting a good example for others who may not be pro-life and may gain interest in doing so.

    Creating a culture that is full of life and happiness, through prayer and action, will bring peace to us and everyone around us who sees and is drawn to it. Using prayer and action, along with our gifts and talents, and doing it patiently, and with loving kindness, we can ultimately build a culture of life that will endure and spread for generations to come.


    Senior Division First Place

    Courtney Check

    Paul VI High School

    A culture of life can be built in many ways because each individual and every family in the world is completely unique and, so, their pro-life views may be used much like paintbrushes in the hands of an artist to paint a beautiful picture reflecting God’s love and truth. Some families may welcome many children into the world, while others may adopt one or two or not have any children at all. It is not the size of one’s family that makes it pro-life, but rather its mentality.

    To be pro-life means to love life! A pro-life person sees God’s goodness in every single human being. It does not matter how young, old, sickly, or disabled one is. Indeed, these are the most vulnerable groups in society. Pro-life people see the beauty and goodness in these frailties and in all God’s children who they know have value and worth. They fully recognize that every human being born into this world is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. It is this behavior, loving all God’s children, that embodies and radiates God and His affection to the world. This is the only thing that will ever build up the culture of life.

    Many artists can paint different landscapes, but the one thing that they all have in common is light. For, in the dark, nothing can be seen. It is black. Likewise, in building a culture of life, each person and family must have the light of God with them. For, if they do not, it is impossible to see, to love, as one should.

    This should not cause fear. God is never far away. He said, “Knock and the door shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7). He resides in every human heart and all one needs to do is seek the Lord and He will reveal Himself, give light, so that one will understand, know, and adore Him more. Additionally, reading and studying the Bible can help one intellectually comprehend God at a deeper level – for ignorance is not a virtue. It is important to desire spiritual growth as one progresses through life.

    Yet, it is more important to “do” than to “know.” If we, Catholics, wish to build up a culture of life, it will only be done by “behaving our way to success” or loving others because of our personal love for and devotion to God. Actions speak so much louder than words. This, in turn, will open the hearts of those who disagree with us so that maybe a little seed will get in — and seeking truth themselves, they will find God who sends light and grace for them to blossom and grow.

    15th Annual Pro-Life Poster Contest

    John Lilly No Comments

            The Youth Apostles Institute Announces its…

    15th Annual Pro-life Poster Contest


    Theme: Life – The Best Choice


    Two divisions:

    1. Junior (grades 7 & 8)
    2. Senior (grades 9-12)


    1. First Place ($100)
    2. Second Place ($75)
    3. Third Place ($50)
    4. Honorable Mention certificates


    AND! First Place posters will be made available for use in the  March for Life!


    • Use 8.5”x11” or larger size paper, or posterboard
    • Electronic submissions also fine!
    • Entries must be participants’ original work
    • Info to include if participating through a school: include name, grade level, school, and school address
    • If participating through a parish or youth group: include name, grade, parish/group, home address
    • Address the theme! Entries must address the theme and express respect for unborn human life
    • Where they go: Entries must be mailed or delivered by Monday, November 18, 2013 to:
      • John Iekel, Youth Apostles Institute, 1600 Carlin Lane, McLean, VA 22101
      • Entries sent via e-mail go to: jfiekel@gmail.com


    Entries become property of the Youth Apostles Institute and will not be returned.

    Questions? Leave a message at (703) 556-0914 

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