“Jesus promised that we will always have the poor with us. But he went even further than that, identifying himself with the poor: “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Seeing Jesus in those who suffer is a matter of faith; loving them is a measure of our love for God himself. Lord give us eyes of faith and hearts ready to love you in the poor.” Lafton, Michel, 15 Days of Prayer with St. Jeanne Jugan
The future students and student leaders from St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights spent the afternoons of July 21st-25th learning the importance of the Beatitudes and caring for those in need. The Program, Service and Song, was led by Father Corey Brost, President of St. Viator High School.
“As we go about this, there are people in the world who are hungry, lonely, and sick and alone,” Fr. Brost said. “This week we’re going to feed the hungry and visit the lonely. We’ll be changing the lives of people by the work you do. You’ll be changing the world because you had the guts to come this week.” One of those 120 students who came was seventh grader Aisling Finnegan of Palatine, who attended the camp last year and returned this year. “I’ve been a Girl Scout forever,” Finnegan said. “I really like the chance to do service.” Students like Finnegan in the service track did a variety of projects, from light maintenance at the homes of local seniors, to making lunches for the homeless, or blankets for hospice patients. They also collected food in the neighborhood and worked in the Viatorian garden to harvest vegetables for the food pantry. “Our intention was to let students directly serve those most in need in the local community,” Fr. Brost added, “and learn why service is at the heart of a lived‐out Catholic faith.”
We received visitors from St. Viator’s Service and Song program on July 22nd. Paring off with the students, we tried our luck (and skill) at some games. There was a Scrabble match, checkers, Mexican Train Dominoes, Pokeno, and Bunco. One of the students, Sergio, knew how to play ALL the games, and even gave instructions to the other students. Several girls completed an amazing 3D puzzle and then served us ice-cream, visiting with everyone on all the floors.
We had such a wonderful time. Many of us immediately signed up for a bus trip to St. Viator’s on July 24 for Senior Day! The bus was filled to capacity! When we arrived for Senior Day, the students met us at the door. It was so nice to see the friendly familiar faces from the Peace Builders project that took place at our Home in the spring.
The afternoon began with Cindy DeLuca, the Activity Director, speaking to the 120 students about the philosophy of the Little Sisters of the Poor, connecting it to the philosophy of St. Viator High School. Bingo was next on the agenda. We then had an opportunity to chat with the eight or so students at our tables. The afternoon ended with a moving Prayer Service. Students shared how doing service impacted and even changed their attitudes toward those in need. We shared some ‘elder’ wisdom and gave some good advice to the students. After the program was over, we didn’t want to leave, and the students didn’t want us to go. But, fond memories of fun-filled day and the new friendships will stay with us for a long time.