Local student winner of Missionary Childhood Christmas art contest

BRAINTREE -- The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. will soon exhibit artwork of Catholic school students from around the country, including a drawing by Samantha Porazinski, currently a freshman at St. Mary High School in Lynn.

Porazinski is one of 24 winners of the 2017-2018 Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) Christmas Artwork Contest, which annually invites students in grades K-8 in Catholic schools, parish religious education programs and Catholic home school programs to submit Christmas-themed artwork to the national MCA office in New York. Porazinski created the piece last school year, when she was an eighth grader at Immaculate Conception School in Revere, at the urging of her religion teacher.

More than 10,000 pieces of artwork are typically received each year, and, of those, 24 winners are chosen. Each winner is invited to attend a special Mass in their honor at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, where their artwork will be displayed during the course of Advent.

The image will also be used on the Christmas cards that will be sent out this year from the archdiocese's Pontifical Mission Societies Office and Immaculate Conception School.

While Porazinski was unable to attend the Mass in Washington, held this year on Dec. 1, she spoke to The Pilot in November about her artwork, which depicted the three wise men on their way to visit a baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Her submission, along with other submissions from those living in the Greater Boston Area, were sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Archdiocese of Boston, where they were then forwarded to the national office.

Porazinski said she developed the idea for her artwork herself, saying the Christmas-themed contest made her "think of the birth of Jesus."

"I enjoy drawing," she said, adding that she draws when she has free time.

Stephen P. Hanley, the principal of Immaculate Conception School in Revere, said, "Samantha consistently was upbeat and exuded school spirit throughout the school day."

"Her artwork clearly shows signs of her wonderful attitude towards life," he said.

Maureen Heil, director of programs and development for the Propagation of the Faith in the archdiocese, said the office is, "happy to have a winner this year."

The contest is "a great way to get kids involved in the missions using their God-given talents to promote the missionary works of the Church," she said to The Pilot, Nov. 3.

"This is a way for them to understand that they have gifts to share for the missions."