“What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Mt. 10: 27).
A group of our SCMOQ seventh graders went on a mission trip to Harrisburg, PA for a week of service in the first week of summer break. This intrepid group went, not knowing exactly what they were getting into but came with willing hearts. Through the week they served at a variety of places doing a variety of work. In their service they certainly got to be a hopeful light in the darkness.
Their theme for the week was “The Good Life” and our reflections were around what makes the good life (based on John 10: 10 “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”), who is living the good life, who is not and how a relationship with the risen Christ can make one’s life good. With that focus they went into the community to “proclaim,” through their service, what that good life in Jesus is.
But what was probably most impactful was the variety of people they met and the relationships they established. The non-Catholic environment enabled them to get a new perspective on their faith. With the other kids on mission from Michigan and Minnesota, they experienced different kinds of worship, with “praise” music and went to an evangelical youth worship service one evening. In these experiences, they discovered the identifying character of the Sign of the Cross for Catholics and that other Christians don’t use it among other things. Realizations like these brought them into a dialogue about their faith and conversations about what it means to be a Catholic.
To live, to love and serve is part of what it means to be a disciple, one who builds the kingdom of God. Nine of our rising eighth graders got to experience what that is like and were moved by it. They got a deeper appreciation of living the gospel and what it means to be Catholic by putting their faith into action. This moment will serve as point of reference for them as they move into being the tops of their class as eighth graders. My prayer is that it feeds them so that they have the courage to continue to bring into the light and shout from the housetops what their faith means in how they live as people of faith.
Director of Faith Formation and Evangelization
Cathedral of Mary Our Queen