Winners of the 2012 Father Michael J. McGivney Essay Contest

The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is pleased to announce the results in the 2012 Father Michael J. McGivney College Essay Contest.

The first-place winner is Geoffrey A. Zokal, a senior at Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, IL.  Mr. Zokal’s essay is entitled “How Beautiful is the Lamb: The Use of Aesthetics and Solidarity in Aiding Secular Society’s Appreciation for the Incarnation.”

The runner-up is Martin J. Dober, a seminarian for the Diocese of Cleveland, who is a senior at Borromeo Seminary/John Carroll University, in Wickliffe, OH.  Mr. Dober submitted an essay entitled: “Predisposed to God: The Incarnation Affirms Human Freedom and the Goodness of Nature.”

The essay contest, which takes place annually, asked entrants to respond to the following question:
“The Incarnation of God the Son signifies the taking up into unity with God not only of human nature, but in this human nature, in a sense, of everything that is ‘flesh’: the whole of humanity, entire visible and material world.  The Incarnation, then, also has a cosmic significance, a cosmic dimension.  The ‘first-born of all creation,’ becoming incarnate in the individual humanity of Christ, unites himself in some way with the entire reality of man, which is also ‘flesh’—and in this reality with all ‘flesh,’ with the whole of creation” (Dominum et Vivificantem, 50).  Write an essay that discusses relationship of the “cosmic significance” of the Incarnation and just autonomy of the world.  How does this relationship affect dominant cultural, political, and legal understandings of secularity and/or scientific assumptions about materiality?

Through the Father Michael J. McGivney College Essay Contest, which is named for the founder of the Knights of Columbus, the Pontifical John Paul II 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 given academic year. The topic and details of the 2013 contest will be available in April.

As author of the first-place essay, Mr. Zokal will receive a stipend of $2000; the second-place stipend to Mr. Dober is $750.