Campus Ministry: Christian Service

Mrs. Susie Portz, Christian Services Coordinator
sportz@bishopgorman.org

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works is dead.”  (James 2:14-17)

The third pillar in the mission statement of Bishop Gorman is to create a community where service is valued and celebrated.  And because of the Gospel mandate to love and serve our neighbors, Bishop Gorman requires its students to participate in 100 hours of Christian service (25/year minimum) as a requirement for graduation from the school.   

As we prepare our students to enter adulthood, we challenge them to move beyond a childhood understanding of service to that which is truly Gospel centered.  In order to accomplish this goal, we must help our students differentiate between charity and justice, as the following statement does:

While charity internally perfects the agent in which it inheres, justice externally, carefully balances the relationship between one human being and another, between one human being and the community in which he lives.  In charity I am kindly disposed toward another; I am internally desirous of that person’s good (even beyond rights).  In justice, I am compelled to act on behalf of that person’s good in concert with their rights.

While justice must always be driven by charity in the Christian person, because justice is about what is owed somebody as a matter of right, it is seen as more foundational than charity in Christian action.  Justice is more foundational because it is about giving to others that to which they have a right.  Love or charity, on the other hand, is about giving someone that to which they are not entitled; St. Paul: “Christ proves his love for us in that while we are yet sinners (i.e. we have no right to redemption), Christ still dies for us…”  Charity is, in a sense, more laudable in that I am giving someone beyond what they deserve. I am going the extra mile. In justice, I am only seeking to restore or maintain a balance (scales are the right symbol of justice) with regards to basic rights.

So If I give food to the poor, which I am exhorted to in the Gospel, I am not acting in charity - We can all agree that everyone has a basic right to food (corollary: no one individual or society has a right to hoard food)– rather I am acting out of justice.               (Fr. Bartholomew Hutcherson, OP, 2011)

The goal of the Bishop Gorman Christian Service program is to help our students engage in acts of justice that promote a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In order to accomplish this goal, we ask that our students primarily engage in activities that fall under or are highly related to the following three areas:  

Corporal Works of Mercy   Spiritual Works of Mercy  Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Shelter the homeless
  5. Visit the sick
  6. Visit the imprisoned
  7. Bury the dead
  1. Admonish the sinner
  2. Instruct the ignorant
  3. Counsel the doubtful
  4. Comfort the sorrowful
  5. Bear wrongs patiently
  6. Forgive all injuries
  7. Pray for the living and the dead
  1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  5. The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
  6. Solidarity
  7. Care for God's Creation

At the same time, we are extremely cognizant of the fact that organizing, providing, and supervising service opportunities for over 1,400 students is quite a challenge.  As such, we rely on the assistance of our local community’s churches and charitable organizations to help us meet our goal.  Additionally, we realize that the life of a high school student can be extremely busy, such that for some students it may not be possible to engage in 100 hours of direct service that meet the categorical requirements of the Corporal/Spiritual Works of Mercy or the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.  Furthermore, some of the items listed above are not easily quantifiable for tracking.  Therefore, we permit students to engage in “indirect” and “organizational support” service as described in this chart. 

          Direct Indirect   Organizational Support
Definition Service that involves the
student having a direct
human encounter, working
directly with those in need  
Service that is at the support  
of direct service programs
and outreach; projects that
support humanity
Service where help is
needed, but is more of a
responsibility of being a
member of the organization
Maximum Number of Hours  Unlimited 25 25
Examples Quantifiable projects that
support the Works of Mercy
or CST: e.g. mission trips,
serving meals to the hungry,
encounterig the homeless
at a shelter or clothing bank,  
working with people at 
Opportunity Village or
Catholic Charities; 
Matthew's Closet; Operation
School Bell; Broken Chains
Ministry; Club Christ Ministry 

Projects such as making
sandwiches/baskets/etc.
that will be distributed by
other organizations later; the  
"behind the scenes" work
needed for direct service; 
environmental projects that
care for God's creation;
Alzheimer's walk;
fundraising activities for
direct service projects

 

Parish picnics, parish
festivals, service at Mass
above and beyond one's 
Sunday obligation,
consession stands, sports
camps, "ambassador" 
programs

 

 

 

Example of each in a parish
context

Parish youth group
volunteers at St. Therese
Center, interacting with 
those served

Students participate in a 
"Stuff the Truck" food drive
after all Masses on Sunday

 

Student volunteers and
staffs a concession table at
the parish fall festival

 

Please note that it is both possible, and encouraged, for students to earn hours from all three categories by volunteering through their local parish/church.  Also, we do want to let all students know that you can earn more than 25 hours per year, essentially “front loading” to complete your service requirements early. 

Beginning in September 2014, Bishop Gorman will be utilizing an online tracking program called x2VOL (“time to volunteer”).  Our parishes and other community service agencies will have the ability to post their service opportunities to a platform that the students can engage through Naviance or through the x2VOL app.  We believe this will greatly simplify the tracking process of service hours and will eliminate the need for reams of paper records.  We encourage all of our participating parishes and service agencies to sign up with x2VOL as soon as possible. 

IMPORTANT: In order to submit and track service hours, all students are required to use the x2VOL service program.  Please sign in to Family Connection through Naviance and click on the x2VOL link under Resources on the left side. Complete your profile and go to the Dashboard tab to find opportunities to volunteer.

 

LIST OF APPROVED CHRISTIAN SERVICE AGENCIES