(To mark the beginning of Lent, students in the Archdiocese of Washington were invited to submit drawings and writings for the Catholic Standard's Junior Saints section, about how they planned to draw closer to Jesus during Lent. During the first four weeks of Lent, the Junior Saints feature on the Catholic Standard's website will highlight four installments of students’ writings and drawings on that topic, beginning this week with submissions from students at St. Mary's School in Bryantown, Maryland.)

“To be closer to Jesus, I will give up my laptop for Lent.” – Emma Payne, second grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

 “I can play less video games and spend more time with my family.” – Keanu Pascarella, fifth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “This Lent, I will give up YouTube. I normally watch around five videos a day, so I think restraining from watching it is a good idea. During Lent, I also want to have self-control while I give up YouTube. I can do this by doing other things like praying or reading the Bible instead. I am giving up YouTube to show how much I love God.” – Sienna Padgett, sixth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown


Drawing by Sienna Padgett, sixth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

“For Lent, I am going to sacrifice video games, chocolate and Netflix. Instead of doing this, I will spend more time in prayer and praying the rosary.” – Destiny Dudley, sixth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I have many ways I know I will work to get closer to Jesus. I will make all my prayers longer, and I will thank God for more of my opportunities. I will also be sure to go to church every Sunday and for all major holidays. I will give to the church as well as people in need this Lenten season.

“I will read inspirational Bible verses and be sure that I do it daily. I will read more of Mark’s passages because I read his passages the least.

“The final thing I will do for Lent is I will give up my favorite video game, Red Dead Redemption 2, and my favorite food, lasagna.” – Taylor Ziegler, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 Drawing by Elise McDonald, fifth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I will draw closer to Jesus by praying and going to church more.” – Elise McDonald, fifth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I have many ways I can get closer to God. I am going to start my day by thanking God for everything He has done. God is the reason we are here today, and we shouldn’t take that for granted. He is above all things and the main focus in life.

“I am also going to read a verse of the Bible a day. That would help me get through my day and keep me going. I also feel that I need to give up one of my favorite sweets. I do it every year, and it is always so hard.

“The last thing is, I want to do little acts of kindness each and every day.” – Haley Ferrante, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I will become closer to Jesus by praying and following God’s plan for me.” – Connor Collins, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 Drawing by Gabriella Payne, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

“This Lent I will draw closer to Jesus by collecting blankets and handing them out to the homeless.” – Gabriella Payne, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I will make it a priority to pray every night with my dad before bed.” – Keaton Krahling, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “During this Lent season I will draw closer to Jesus by praying daily and improving my habits of prayer. Taking time to talk to God is very important to me... Another way I can come closer with Jesus is by going to Confession. When going to Confession, you are not only admitting your sins, you are telling Jesus that you need Him. This creates a strong connection…” – Makayla Cross, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

Drawing by Camille White, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

“I will pray a decade of the rosary every day to make my relationship stronger with Jesus.” – Camille White, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “I will draw closer to Jesus by doing small things nice to my family, like making breakfast in the morning or folding laundry for them. I can also pray for them every day and help them out with things. I will spend more time with my parents and siblings instead of being on technology. I will ask them to go to Mass every Sunday and pray the rosary with them. I have learned that God is shown through family, and your family is always there.” – Anthony Stefko, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “Lent is not only giving an item up, but it is also about giving. We must give time and prayer to God. Instead of using money to buy candy, use that money to give to the poor…” – Donovan De La Cruz, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “…I like to read the Bible because it is all about Jesus and the things He did and does…” – Madalyn Earnshaw, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown


Drawing by Cayla McMahon, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“I will go to Adoration more often to pray.” – Cayla McMahon, third grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“…During Lent, we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us by dying upon the Cross. He saved every single one of us from sin, and gave us the chance to get into heaven…” – Julie Perriello, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “I will grow closer to God this Lent by praying more often, spending more time repenting and asking God to come into my heart. I will also give up time on things that I’m putting before God.” – Gavin Sherman, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“Jesus will help me to know that He is always with me, no matter what happens. He will help me with everything I go through. I need to remember that all the time. I need to always keep in mind that I am never alone. Jesus is always by my side. If I ever need someone to talk to, I can always just pray. Jesus will always be there to answer my prayers. Sometimes I forget that Jesus is with me, and I lose sight of what is important. I can come to Jesus with all of my problems and struggles, and He’ll listen. I need to remember that. I’ll draw closer to Jesus through prayer. I will never forget to come to Him in my time of need.” – Lydia Eppright, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown


 Drawing by Callyn Knapp, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“For this Lenten season, instead of giving something up, I am going to work toward a goal. My goal for Lent is to pray more and grow closer to Jesus. The Lenten season isn’t only about giving things up, but to do things to make myself a better Christian, a better friend and a better person.” – Callyn Knapp, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“This Lent, I hope to draw closer to Him (Jesus) in many ways. One thing I would like to specifically work on is opening up to Him. I struggle sometimes with just opening up and accepting Him. Every night, I hope to just open up and let Him into my heart. Whether it be five minutes or an hour, this can greatly improve my connection with God. Inviting Him into my life will strengthen and support me because Jesus will have a special place in my heart. I hope to draw closer to Him every day of my life, whether it is Lent or not. You can never get too close to God.” – Delaney Garner, eighth grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“This Lenten season, I am planning to grow closer to God by paying more attention to my faith. It’s hard to pay attention to your faith, especially right now because of the crazy stuff going on in the world today. Even with the stuff going on, if you pray to God, it can all go back to normal. God is the greatest thing in the world, and it’s important to spend time with Him.” – Louie Turner, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 “I can draw closer to Jesus by praying and spreading kindness, or I can give up something I really like but don’t need…” – Casie Pascarella, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown


 Drawing by Emma McDonald, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

“For this Lenten season, instead of giving something up, I am going to work toward a goal. My goal for Lent is to pray more and grow closer to Jesus. The Lenten season isn’t only about giving things up, but to do things to make myself a better Christian, a better friend and a better person.” – Callyn Knapp, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“During this Lent season I will pray more to God and thank him for letting me be alive. For Lent I will try my best to go to church and not spend as much time on my devices. I will give up a majority of my phone time to focus on God, school work and activities. I will try my best to act more kind…” – Libby Wilkerson, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

 Drawing by Samantha Grace, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Maryland

“During Lent, you take away the things in your life that take you away from God. Some things that take me away from God are Netflix and social media. Instead of using the time of my day to do these things, I’m going to replace it by spending time with God. I can do things such as prayer, reading the Bible and/or attending church. Jesus made sacrifices for us. During this Lenten season, we make sacrifices to help us grow closer to God.” – Samantha Grace, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

“How can we get closer to Jesus during Lent? Turn off the radio and TV, step away from your computer, put away your phone and find a quiet spot to simply rest in God’s presence.” – Jose Smith, seventh grade, St. Mary’s School, Bryantown

(For the Catholic Standard's March Junior Saints to mark the Year of St. Joseph in the Catholic Church proclaimed by Pope Francis, students are invited to draw a picture of St. Joseph and write about what they admire about him, or to draw a picture and write about a Joseph or Joe or Joey or Josephine they know. The drawings and writings should be emailed to [email protected] by March 13 to Mark Zimmermann, the Catholic Standard's editor, and they should include the name, grade and school or parish of the student printed clearly.)