Father Michael J. McGivney Essay Contest 2014

The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is pleased to announce the 2014 Father Michael J. McGivney Essay Contest. Through the contest the Institute seeks to encourage deeper reflection on the themes of culture, person, God, love, marriage, and family, especially as developed in the theological work of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The contest is open to college students who are in their junior or senior years in the 2014-15 academic year.


Two passages from the documents of the Second Vatican Council recur like a refrain throughout Pope John Paul II’s writings: i.) Gaudium et spes, 22: “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man becomes clear.  For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord.  Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his high calling;” and ii.) Gaudium et spes, 24: “Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” Drawing on John Paul II’s writings (especially Redemptor hominis), write an essay commenting on how these two passages reciprocally illuminate each other.


Essays will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for articulate and well-organized essays that demonstrate an insightful and substantial engagement with the topic. Essays will be judged by faculty and associates of the John Paul II Institute in a multi-round review process.


Essays must be 1200-1500 words, prepared according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Entries must be received in hard copy format at the following address, no later than October 1, 2014:

McGivney Essay Contest
John Paul II Institute
620 Michigan Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20064

A cover page for the essay should include the following information:

The essay title
The author’s full name, mailing address, email address, and phone number
The name and mailing address of the college or university at which the author is enrolled

Each entry must be submitted with a copy of the student’s official transcript from his or her university’s office of the registrar. The transcript is intended for documentation of enrollment only; grades and course of study will not be considered in the judging process.

Results will be announced on or about December 12, 2014. Winners will be notified by email. The award for first place is $2000, and the runner-up will receive a $750 award. The text of the winning essays may be posted on the contest webpage at the time of the announcement.

If you have questions regarding the contest, please email us.

Further Details

Decisions of the judges are final.
There is no entry fee.
One entry per student.
Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state, or local taxes on award stipends.
Employees of the John Paul II Institute and their immediate family members are not eligible for the contest.
Plagiarism will result in disqualification.
The John Paul II Institute reserves the right to reward only one or none of the submitted essays, in an effort to reward only outstanding work.
All entries and transcripts become the property of the John Paul II Institute and will not be returned.
Contest winners agree to allow the John Paul II Institute to use their names in connection with the contest in future materials and agree to allow their essays to be posted, with full credit given to the author, on the contest webpage as part of the official announcement of the contest results.

Copyright of each essay remains with the author, and the essay will not be posted or published, other than on the contest webpage, without written permission from the author.