Ministry & Service Broadens Horizons

Opportunities offered through the office of ministry and service have been taking students places this semester to learn about vocations and live out their faith in solidarity with the less fortunate.

FLIGHT Service Project

Fifteen seniors from CJ’s non-credit service leadership class FLIGHT (Faith Leaders in God’s Hands Today) spent a day serving others at the House of Bread. The non-profit community kitchen located on Orth Avenue is open for lunch seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Students worked from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. setting up the dining area, preparing dishes and serving a five-course meal for about 150 people said senior Alyssa Young. She learned that the House of Bread prepares and serves about 200 fresh lunches each day in addition to providing about 100 bag lunches for after school programs at various places throughout Dayton.

“You could tell how grateful guests were to be served a good meal,” she said. FLIGHT members were invited to enjoy a meal as well and concluded their service learning trip by helping with clean-up.

“I love FLIGHT, we are like a little family,” Young said. “I’ve always said that I’m proud to be a member.”

Marianist Retreat at St. Meinrad
Junior Nick Nevius and senior Patrick Zopff explored Marianist brotherhood at an overnight discernment retreat in late February hosted at the St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana.

Among the retreat activities, Nevius said his favorite part was attending Mass and a special prayer service with Benedectine monks from the monastery. “One of the Benedictine charisms is to treat every guest like Christ, and I felt that hospitality,” he said.

Joining CJ students on retreat were Marianist brothers, aspirants and students from fellow Marianist high schools Purcell Marian (Cincinnati), Chaminade College Preparatory (St. Louis), St. Mary’s (St. Louis), and St. John Vianney (St. Louis). The Marianists sponsor 18 high schools and three universities across the United States.

Urban Plunge Retreat
A small group of 10 students (pictured top) spent one weekend living in solidarity with people experiencing poverty and homelessness during Urban Plunge Retreat. The retreat was hosted by St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Center for Service Learning in Cincinnati.

When the group arrived Friday morning, retreatants immediately jumped in to help visitors shop for food and personal care items at the organization’s food pantry from 10 a.m. to noon. Students primarily worked with and met community members living in areas of the city’s poverty-stricken West End and Over The Rhine neighborhoods.

Activities included a poverty simulation, tours of shelters, home visits with members of St. Vincent de Paul, and the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Food Challenge. Junior Jacob Marshall said the challenge, which tasked students with shopping for and preparing a family meal on a budget of just $5.96, opened his eyes to issues people living on assistance face every day.

“I realized how hard it is to live off food stamps,” he said. “The challenge showed me that people living in poverty can be unhealthy because they don’t have access or the means to buy fresh foods.”

Marshall added that his views on homelessness were changed by the urban plunge experience and said he has been inspired to get involved locally with the St. Vincent de Paul Dayton District Council.