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The Office of Catholic Schools holds an annual competition open to all Catholic school students. The competition had four categories (Level 1 for grades K-2, Level 2 for grades 3-5, Level 3 for grades 6-8 and Level 4 for 9-11), and a panel of judges selected the top entry from each category to determine the 2024 People’s Choice Winners. This year’s theme was, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on earth we will have a foretaste of heaven,” which was a statement made by Blessed Carlo Acutis. Below is the story from the Level 3 winner, Music Dela Rosa, St. Adelaide Academy, Highland. 

Written and Illustrated by Music Dela Rosa


Sunday, April 9, 2000

“Good morning, Amelia!”

“Ugh! Yes, Mom? I was sleeping...” Amelia replied.

“I’m sorry, but we’ve got to get ready for Mass. So, hurry up! It’s already 8:30 AM.”

Amelia scoffed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t wanna go to Mass, Mom. It’s a waste of my time.”

Her Mom didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. “Amelia, you have to at least come with us to have your last communion prep class.”

“Mom, I don’t want to take that class anymore. Can I please quit? I never wanted to be Catholic anyway. I was pretty much forced to. Can you just bring Alex with you?”

Amelia’s mother got so angry and began to yell. “Amelia! You get dressed right this minute. You’re going with us. We are your parents. You don’t get to decide.”

Her Mom left the room, closing the door behind her, while Amelia begrudgingly put on a change of clothes. By the time she was ready, it was already 9:35-less than a half hour before they had to be at church.

Amelia put on her shoes and ran downstairs. She completely ignored everyone and headed straight for the car.

Soon after, her family joined her, and they all left.

Nobody spoke through the whole ride. With minutes to spare, they arrived at the church parking lot.

Amelia went one way to the classrooms, while her parents and little brother went the other way for Mass.

Amelia didn’t like going there every Sunday. She never felt Jesus was real. The lessons were all a bunch of make-believe, she thought.

Her situation made her cry. But as soon as she saw her best friend, Diana, she wiped the tear away from her cheek.

“Hi Amelia!” Diana said with a smile on her face.

“Hey...” Amelia said lightly. She turned her face away to clean up a bit more.

Just then, class started. Amelia was so unfocused that she hardly heard a word the teacher was saying.

“Amelia, if you don’t mind me asking, what time is your special event next week?” Amelia ignored her.

“Pay attention, Amelia! For those of you who don’t know, your first Communion will be at 11 AM.” The teacher said with a stern voice.

The bells of the church rang, and Amelia sighed in relief for the hour had passed. She tried to leave right away. but Diana stopped her. “Hey, wait! Our parents haven’t left the church yet.”

“I gotta go! OK?” Amelia quickly brushed her aside.

Amelia hated being there. She didn’t believe anything anyone ever told her about Jesus...mainly because He never seemed to answer her prayers. “Do you even hear me at all?” She repeated to herself many times.

As soon as her family saw her, they all reconvened in the car.

Amelia received a text from Diana as soon as she got home. “Hey. Are you OK? You seemed off today.”

Amelia wrote back, “Actually, I’m not. I have a question. Why hasn’t God ever replied to my questions or prayers?”

“I hope you feel better, Amelia. But God always answers our prayers. Not in our time, but in His. Not in our way, but in His way. He knows best.”

Amelia felt discouraged. She tried to take her mind off her worries, so she turned up the music in her room, and fell on the bed.

Sunday, April 16, 2000

“Ringggggg” Amelia’s alarm startled her.

Today was the day. Amelia didn’t really feel any different than she did a week ago, but she decided to give it a go.

She put on the dress her mom laid out for her the night before and went downstairs.

“You look stunning in that dress, Amella!” Her Dad exclaimed.

“Thank you, Da...” That’s when her Mom cut her off. “Quit the conversation, we’re going to be late.”

Amelia lifted up her dress a bit so that it wouldn’t drag itself along the ground. Again, they made it to church just in time for the start of Mass. They found a place to sit next to Diana’s family.
“Hey, Amelia. I love your dress. Are your ready to take your first Communion?” Diana said happily.

“Thanks, Di. Yours is too. Yeah, I guess.” Amelia’s heart sank down to her stomach when she answered.

The music ministry began to sing, and they all stood up. Amelia stared at the ground as the priest walked in.

Time seemed to pass quickly. Before she knew it, the homily was over, and the priest was already consecrating the bread and wine. And for whatever reason, Amelia’s heart started pumping faster and faster.

She wondered if something bad would happen.

Music started to play again, and it was time for all of them to line up to receive the bread and wine. As soon as she left the pews, everyone seemed to disappear... And the music faded away.

In the distance, she saw…

Jesus. She couldn’t believe her eyes.

“Why did you not believe?”


“Depart from me for I am a sinner. I’m unworthy. I’m broken.” Amelia cried.

With open arms, Jesus called for her. “My child, come to me. I have never left, nor will I ever leave vou. You are mine.”

Jesus continued, “Take this, and eat it. For this is My body, broken for you.”

For the first time ever, Amelia felt peace in her heart. “Amen, my Lord.”

And from that moment on, she would always believe.

Music Dela Rosa is a student at St. Adelaide Academy, Highland.