(February 15, 2017-Garrision, NY) Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, Fr. Damian MacPherson, SA, and Jean Kodin of The Catholic Register, presented prizes to the 2017 Student Writing Contest winners Sabrina Quartone, Jessica Nguyen, Ruthann J. Lemonius, along with Vivian Kwok, Administrative Assistant for the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

On Sunday, Feb. 5, the Friars presented the awards at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Toronto, the parish of the First Place winner, Jessica Nguyen. Students wrote essays based on the 2017 theme chosen for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “The Love of Christ Compels Us” from 2 Corinthians 5:14-20. Ms. Nguyen won an Apple iPad mini for her essay. Ruthann J. Lemonius, 2nd place winner won a Kobo e-reader. Sabrina Quartone won third place honors and Benjamin Johnson was awarded honorable mention. Top essays will be published in the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Register.

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, a Catholic order of brothers and priests, was founded in 1898 by Servant of God Fr. Paul of Graymoor, Apostle of Christian Unity and Charity, at Graymoor in Garrison. Since that time, the Friars have worked for reconciliation and healing through “at-one-ment” — the unity of men and women with God and with one another — so that the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” might be fulfilled. They are part of the international movement to heal divisions within Christianity and among all faiths through their ecumenical outreach and research Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, in New York City, Centro Pro Unione in Rome and serving as diocesan ecumenical officers.