As I write this column, I’ve just gotten back from our 8th Grade Service Immersion. Ever since 2017 (with exceptions during the COVID years), our 8th graders spend three days in Indianapolis performing service at a variety of agencies. We spend the whole year learning about Catholic Social Teaching in the classroom, and then they get to see it in action as they perform various works of service for our brothers and sisters in need.
On Tuesday we worked at Gleaners Food Bank, which serves over 200 food pantries in 21 counties throughout Indiana. The students sorted 6664 pounds of food donations from a recent food drive, which is enough food to provide 5553 meals. On Wednesday we went to Holy Angels Academy, an inner-city Catholic school providing a quality Catholic education to at-risk children. Our students have been exchanging letters with their 3rd– and 4th-grade Holy Angels buddies all year long, and we finally got to meet them in person as we hosted a Field Day for them with plenty of fun activities. Finally, on Thursday we split the students into three groups, each visiting a different homeless shelter, including the opportunity to talk to some of the folks who were either living at the shelter or who had lived there in the past.
I am so proud of how these 8th graders represented Christ the King during this trip. They worked really hard, and the agencies we served complimented them many times on how much work they were able to accomplish. More importantly, they grew in their understanding of how to look at the faces of those in need and see the face of Christ. In doing so, they were able to grow in their ability to empathize with others and to rise above any preconceptions they may have had about the poor. The hope is that this experience of service, as the culmination of our schoolwide service program in which they’ve participated throughout their time at Christ the King, will form them into servant leaders with the heart of Jesus Christ.
I should also thank the parents and staff who chaperoned this trip and made it possible, as well as the students who remained behind and engaged in service to the school. Their sacrifice and dedication have had a terrific impact on our school community.
I am so proud of the good work that goes on in our school every day, and I hope you are proud of it, too! The school is the largest ministry of our parish, and I can’t think of many things that are more important than the investment we make to form our young people in the faith. I know the good work going on in our school today will continue to bear fruit for years to come.