Sunday, July 28, 2019 - Updated: 11:59 pm
Every year the Missionary Childhood Association sponsors a Christmas Artwork Contest and chooses winning entries nationwide from children in kindergarten through eighth grade. One of those winners this year is from White Oak.
A colored pencil drawing of Mary and the baby Jesus by Connor Pawlak was recently chosen for the national honor. An 11-year-old who will be 12 in September, Connor is in the religious education program at St. Angela Merici Parish and soon will be a sixth-grader at Founders Hall Middle School in the McKeesport Area School District.
Surprised and excited about his picture being picked, Connor credits his mom, Christine Pawlak, and his sister, Sarah, 15, for encouraging him to draw. Both Christine and dad Kurt said the siblings are competitive, constantly trying to outdo each other.
Kurt explained that Connor and Sarah were inspired to create artwork commemorating their grandmother’s life after she died in January. Connor’s drawing is modeled after a drawing done by his sister.
Christine said their family was busy around the time of her mother’s funeral, and Connor noticed at the last minute that the artwork was due.
“He was kind of rushed really because we were busy with everything,” she said.
The Missionary Childhood Association, formerly called the Holy Childhood Association, was founded in France in 1843 to encourage all children to be aware of the needs of kids living in mission dioceses throughout the world.
The association is now in 110 countries and helps make Jesus known by teaching children to empathize with others who are less fortunate.
Winning artwork — judged by the Pontifical Mission Office of the United States — is displayed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington during the Advent and Christmas season each year.
A special Mass, award ceremony and luncheon are held at the shrine in early December to honor the winners. All winners receive a plaque and their artwork is available as e-greetings on the website for children, MCAKids.org.