Scripture inspired contest winner

Lydia Valiga, 10, a fifth-grader at Regina Elementary in Iowa City was the winner of this year’s Catholic Messenger Christmas card contest.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Although fifth-grader Lydia Valiga knew that she was good at art and had a chance at placing in The Catholic Messenger Christmas card contest, she was surprised to win the top honor.


A student at Regina Elementary School in Iowa City, she entered the contest for the first time this year. She said she was given two days in school to create the artwork, which was not enough time for her. So she took her artwork home to complete all of the details.

Lydia said various readings in Scripture that she has heard and artwork featuring Jesus’ birth inspired her to bring various scenes together. She chose to show Mary and Joseph kneeling before the baby Jesus. Most of the animals are kneeling as well. “You usually see them sitting or kneeling when (someone is) telling about the birth of Jesus,” she noted. A crowd of people line up to see the newborn king. The angels above proclaim his birth. The wise men are on their way to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.


Her favorite medium is colored pencils or paint because colors can be blended easier. She used crayon in her artwork for the contest because she knew deeper colors would show better.

Lydia said she saw the artwork of a few fellow students and figured they had a better chance at winning. She said she was “surprised” to be called to the principal’s office to find out that she won the contest.

Principal Celeste Vincent said she loves that The Catholic Messenger offers this contest and that it is open to all youths (in grades K-6) in the diocese.

A total of 648 students from Catholic schools, religious education programs and home-school programs entered this year’s contest. Thank you for all who shared their creations. Grade-level winners and runners’ up appear in this issue as well.

To see the other Catholic Messenger Christmas Card contest winners go to

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