“Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune, and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people.”
- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 270
Christian Service is about creating an experience for students that is designed to help the marginalized and suffering in the community. In doing so, students develop a sense of empathy and compassion for those who are less fortunate.
We are called to help the poor. We are called to goodness by sacrificing our time, minds, and souls in a variety of ways. Students can take part in the service of presence, the service of labour, and the service of talents. Service of presence involves being present to the needs of others, like visiting the sick and elderly. Service of labour involves performing good deeds for those less fortunate, such as preparing a meal to feed the homeless or working for those who cannot help themselves. Service of talents is the sharing of one’s gifts, like tutoring and coaching others who cannot afford to pay for instruction.
Students are challenged to lead self before they can help others. They are challenged to look first within themselves as they explore their own relationship with Jesus Christ and their faith. They are encouraged to reflect on how their faith compels them to do good for others. Students discover that their faith thrives within a community and that we are all called to help others in need, thus learning the importance of building genuine and authentic relationships with others.
The Christian Service component is distinguished from both community service and traditional civic engagement by the integration of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Christian Service is largely dependent on the spiritual and prayerful dimension of the work, which includes learning the importance of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Through their religious education and human formation, students learn about service and explore important themes such as social justice, respect for the human person, human solidarity, and help for the poor. The integration of the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love comes to life through their Christian service.
Our students develop their understanding of what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. This theological reflection on Christian Community Service is supported by the conviction of our role as followers of Christ in the modern world.