Local student a winner in national art contest


HEAVENLY SCENE: Local student Gwen Renee Garcia Gutierrez’s artwork “Goldfield Moments” was among the winners in the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) National Christmas Artwork Contest. (Credit: Courtesy Office for the Missions)

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SAN DIEGO — A Catholic school student from the Diocese of San Diego is among the winners in the 2022-2023 Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) National Christmas Artwork Contest.

Gwen Renee Garcia Gutierrez, a freshman at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, was an eighth-grader at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in San Ysidro when she created her submission titled “Goldfield Moments.”

She used a combination of acrylic gouache, watercolor paint, markers and pens for the artwork, which was inspired by the Gospel account of angels telling shepherds about Jesus’ birth.

The artwork depicts a hand reaching down from Heaven. Light emanates from it and shines upon a shepherd leading his flock through a verdant field with a winding river. The painting’s title comes from the gold tinge that the heavenly light gives to the green field.

Gwen said her artwork represents how, even amidst “day-to-day life,” we are “susceptible to witness holy moments.”

The MCA, one of four Pontifical Mission Societies, offers a way for Catholic children to support their peers in mission lands through prayers, sacrifices and small monetary donations.

The MCA’s artwork contest is open to children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Submissions from participating dioceses are sent to the New York-based national headquarters of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

Students from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Our Lady of Grace, St. Kieran, St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Gregory the Great, Sacred Heart (Coronado) and Sacred Heart (Brawley) schools and one homeschooling program participated in the 2022-2023 contest.

“Their drawings reflect their artistic talent and their devotion to a generous God, who gave us His only Son to save us,” said Sister Eva Rodriguez, a member of the Sister Servants of the Blessed Sacrament and diocesan director of MCA.

She added, “Almost every year, we have a student selected as a finalist in this contest, and that makes me very proud.”

The 22 winning artworks will be displayed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The two grand-prize winners will see their artworks used for the national Pontifical Mission Societies’ official Christmas card.

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