11th grade student and Holy Trinity parishioner
The last plate was handed out, and the line for food was no more. Everyone was fed. My companions and I all let out a sigh of relief. After preparing, delivering, and serving tacos for 50 veterans at Baltimore Station, it had been a stressful first morning of our week-long service trip. However, witnessing the joy in their eyes and the gratitude in their words made our efforts feel acknowledged. It felt as though God was cheering us on as my companions and I all grinned at each other.
God exists in all things and as Catholics, it is our calling to seek Him out. This is the message of the Ignatian spirituality, the message by which Holy Trinity Church lives. My name is Andrew Christian and like the rest of my four service companions, we are all ordinary teenagers. Nevertheless, we are devoted members of this community and Church. Now on our second trip to Baltimore since last summer, we have grown closer together. We’ve shared past experiences together and hope to create new ones that will stay with us forever.
During our time in Baltimore, we visited a variety of sites that housed God’s presence. These included homeless shelters, a school for children with behavioral challenges, a clothing drive, and even a farm. For example, at the Immigration Outreach Center, we were told so many inspiring tales of people who desired a better life after suffering persecution and violence in their home countries. God wanted us to carry on their stories so that we may help people like them in the future. In our service that involved manual labor, such as sorting clothes and farmwork, we didn’t directly help people in need. However, in seeking God out through behind-the-scenes work, we learned an important lesson: that indirect service is just as important as direct service. Even if people don’t see our faces, our hard work provides them with the essentials they need to live.
After this wonderful week, my friends and I truly learned what it meant to be disciples of Jesus. While only together for six days, our relationship felt concrete, as if we were family. It’s no surprise as we’re all children of God and for a week we lived in harmony with his teachings and principles. Aside from our service work, we spent time together exploring the city and learning more about each other. This included trips to the gym, a local ice cream shop, Camden Yards, and more. In addition, before we slept, we would conduct a reflection in which we’d share a gift and/or challenge of the day. Our reflection also included writing the names of individuals we met on poster paper. This paper was hung up for the entirety of the week so we could remember and pray for those people at any time.
All in all, this week has been the highlight of my year and I call any youth who are interested to participate. However, don’t wait until next year to start serving; You can start right now! There are numerous opportunities to serve anytime and anywhere in the DMV at your disposal. Holy Trinity alone sponsors many opportunities, including the Saturday Suppers at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Sunday Suppers on our campus, and collections for SOME, Christhouse and Georgetown Ministry Center monthly. Check out the Youth Ministry web page (https://trinity.org/youth/) for information on all these opportunities and more. Listen to God’s calling and help serve your community today.