By Kathy Goller on
4/3/2010 9:22 PM
Two great Saturdays in a row! Last Saturday was the Scouting Awards Ceremony at St. Joseph Cathedral. This Saturday was the culmination and commissioning service for Young Christians at Work - a five day service and justice program for teenagers sponsored by the Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministry. Fifty teenagers spent Holy Week living in community, serving others, learning about Catholic social teaching and the root causes of injustice, and praying the liturgies of Holy Week. The program provided our own version of "4H" - it challenged their Heads, Hands, Hearts . . . and provided opportunities for Holiness.
On the first night of the program, the participants were challenged to "make eye contact with others" through an encouraging letter sent by a former participant and team member who is now part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. They took that challenge to heart. Today, at the commissioning prayer service, each teen had an opportunity to say a few words about how they had changed during the program, or how they had been affected. Many of the teens spoke about the power of looking people in the eyes. They made an extra effort to look into the eyes of the people they encountered at the service sites - soup kitchens, nursing homes, refugee shelters - and many of them were struck speechless by those encounters. In an effort to bring Christ to others by making eye contact, many young people found that they instead saw Christ in the eyes of those they were serving. They found in these moments that true service is mutual . . . that it is in giving that we receive.