It's hard to believe but Advent is about half way over. One of the ways we've been celebrating Advent and preparing for Christmas at Trinity High School is by performing service. Now of course Advent is not about service but rather preparing our hearts and minds for Jesus Christ. That requires us to conform our lives more and more to Him and one of the ways we can do that is by following His commandment to serve others.
I have had the great pleasure of accompanying our students on some of these service opportunities. Last week I went with a group of students to the food pantry at Saint Raphael's Parish over on the Westside. We were supposed to arrive at 6pm but I got there early, around 5:40pm. The food pantry does not open until 7pm but there were already people lined up. Dorene Turner, who runs the food pantry, told us that people sometimes line up as early as 4:30pm! The service was quite simple - we bagged groceries, organized some donated clothes, and passed out some pastries. What I liked was that we all prayed before we began our work - it highlights the real reason we do this, for the greater glory of God and to be more like Jesus Christ.
Later that week I helped with the dinner service at the Nashua Soup Kitchen with Mrs. Trachim of our Math Department. Unfortunately this was the same night as our semi-formal so no kids were able to join us. It was a small operation and it was very slow (being the beginning of the month, people just got their food stamps and other benefits so they didn't need to go to the soup kitchen) but it was very humbling. The people we served were not homeless but really down on their luck or very poor. But, despite this, they were incredibly kind and grateful to us.
On Monday, a group of students went to the old Saint Joseph's Junior High building to do some light cleaning and to hang school banners in preparation for Bishop Peter Libasci's reception which will take place after his installation Mass tomorrow. Most, if not all, of the students were graduates of Saint Joe's and were so excited to be back in their old haunt. I had only been there once before - it's such a unique building and has a lot of character.
Finally last night, I joined three students (as well as my children Kevin and Erin) at Anne Marie House in Hudson. This is a place for families to live for up to 2 years if they are homeless. They have to save 75% of any income they may earn and do all they can to be able to afford a place of their own. It's a wonderful setting (it's on the grounds of Presentation of Mary Academy and is a former home for the sisters) and very clean and warm. Kevin and Erin were able to play with the toys while we prepared dinner for the residents. We then ate dinner with the residents and did the dishes. I want to bring a group back here to learn more about their work as it's an amazing place. One of our parents volunteers there with her daughter and told me all about it.
This is just a taste of what we've been up to. Our students have done so much more and there is so much more to come.