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High School Essay Contest

Jubilee of Mercy Essay Contest

The Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, in celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, is sponsoring its first annual essay contest, which is open to all Catholic high school students in New Jersey.

The author of the winning essay will receive a $500 gift card and certificate, and the two runners-up will each receive a $200 gift card and certificate. The winners will be honored at the annual Catholic Studies Honor Society induction and reception at Seton Hall University in April 2016 (exact date to be announced later this month). Students will be permitted to bring two guests to the reception, and the winning essay will be read aloud at the reception by its author.


Pope Francis has declared December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Holy Father asks the faithful to follow the example of God the Father, who Jesus says does not judge harshly but offers love and forgiveness. “Each time that one of the faithful personally performs one or more of [the spiritual or corporal works of mercy] he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence.” (Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis, September 1, 2015)

Students are asked to write an essay sharing a real-life story of mercy that has inspired them to live out at least one of the virtues of Love, Charity and Forgiveness each day. Students' responses should show how their articular story highlights the need for mercy in our world today. The three winning essays will appear in Arcadia magazine, which is published by the Department and Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University.

Online and Hard Copy Submission Requirements

Each essay will be evaluated for originality, execution, and adherence to the following topic and format requirements:

  • Essays must be between 500 and 750 words
  • Entries must be written in English
  • Only one entry per student
  • All information requested below under “Submit your Essay” must be submitted
  • Deadline

    All essays must be submitted by March 11, 2016. The authors of winning entries will be notified by March 31, 2016.


    Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku
    Professor and Founding Chair Department of Catholic Studies
    Department of Catholic Studies
    Walsh Library 427
    Seton Hall University
    400 South Orange Avenue
    South Orange, NJ 07079

    Gloria Aroneo MBA

    (973) 275-2808

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