Catholics take pictures during a 2015 "Honor Your Mother" celebration in the Diocese of Phoenix. "Who is my mother? Who are (Catholic Sun file photo)
Catholics take pictures during a 2015 “Honor Your Mother” celebration in the Diocese of Phoenix. “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers and sisters?” is the theme of an art, poetry and prose contest for grades K-12. (Catholic Sun file photo)

It the kids would welcome a creative challenge, consider discussing a pair of art and writing contests with them.

Entries for the “Try Prayer! It Works!” contest open to students in kindergarten through high school must be postmarked by Feb. 1. The national competition, sponsored by Family Rosary, attracts more than 1,000 finalist entries from approximately 22,000 contestants.

Prayer contest

Info and application


Children and teens from Catholic schools, parishes, home schooling, and other Catholic organizations use their talent to convey their beliefs. This year’s theme, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers and sisters?” focuses on doing God’s will, based on Matthew 12:46-59. Entries can be art, poetry or prose.

“It’s our hope that all the children that participate in the ‘Try Prayer’ contest this year will come to a deeper understanding of the importance of spending time listening to God’s will for them,” said Fr. Hugh Cleary, C.S.C., national director of Family Rosary. “It’s so difficult for children today as they have so many distractions in their lives with all the media that surrounds them. Through the creation of their entry, we pray they will learn to spend time each day in prayer to learn of God’s desires for them.”

The “Try Prayer! It Works!” contest asks entrants to use creativity to depict their faith. The first place winner in each category and the sponsor will each receive $100.


History Essay contest

Topic requirements for different depending on the grade level. See contest rules and guidelines for more information.


Students wanting a longer challenge can submit an entry to Catholic Textbook’s History Essay Contest. Young writers in grades 5-12 have until March 23 to reflect on a Catholic of historical significance and describe how this person influenced the times in which he or she lived. Although saints are a possible choice, the contest challenge is much wider and includes any Catholic historical figure.

Nearly 2,000 students entered last year. Winners in six separate divisions will receive a cash prize ranging from $100 to $200 each plus have their essay published online and on Facebook. Delaney McCartney, a homeschooled teen from Gilbert, was among last year’s winners.

A $400 Gift Certificate for the company’s textbooks will be awarded to the Catholic school(s) attended by each of the three Catholic school student winners. The homeschool(s) of the three Catholic homeschool student winners will each receive a free textbook of their choice from among Catholic Textbook Project history textbooks.