All of our SBA trips have returned to campus safe and sound! We had a great welcome home party tonight for all the trips to share and dance together! More stories and photos to come!
Our SBA trips in Mississippi, Houston and Phoenix checked in this morning. All the groups are having a fantastic time. Mississippi has been working hard cleaning up Camp Glenmary both inside and out doing everything from stacking wood and burning leaves to washing windows and mopping floors. Today they were going to the local food bank to give back to the surrounding community. They were very excited to have gone to Elvis' Birthplace with Fr. Tim last night!
Houston is working on home rehabilitation with Habitat for Humanity, and the work is going very well. The community has been very hospitable to them, driving meals in from as far as 45 minutes away. They went to mass on Sunday and the church welcomed them so warmly, that an older couple invited them to their home Thursday for dinner. Our students are inspiring others all across the country!
Phoenix is serving at the Andre House of Hospitality, providing dinner for several hundred people every night, as well as offering a clothing closet and showers for guests. The students are enjoying getting to know the guests working at the front gate and in the Pacente Office where they help guests receive services. Jackie C and Rachel even did a little impromptu singing performance for the gusts out on the street as they waited for dinner, which everyone loved! Tonight they will be having dinner and reflection with the full time staff, weekly v0lunteers, transitional housing residents, and other Alternative Break students from Stonehill college. We wish we could be there for the richness that group will share.
A post about SBA Manchester, and their experience living as a new refugee family, will be coming soon! Stay posted!
Its hard to believe we are practically at the half way point for SBA! Its amazing how fast this week flies by, yet the memories made and the lives touched last a lifetime. We have heard from a handful of our trips thus far, and expect to hear from the rest by tomorrow mid-morning (so if you don't see the trip you are following here, check again soon!).
Appalachia – checked in earlier this evening when the group returned from service. They said that they are having an excellent time and doing all sorts of projects for the community. They mentioned the importance of "ministry of presence" there, and simply giving people their time and a listening ear to share their story. How powerful that has been! They began the week with some cultural education, and last night were able to attend a bluegrass concert which was a lot of fun! The Appalachian region is rich with culture and music. We look forward to hearing more about Glenmary Farm as the week goes on.
Maine – checked in after a long days work stacking wood and working on shingles. They said it has been raining/snowing non stop since they arrived on Saturday, but that has not kept them from braving the outdoors to do what they can to help at H.O.M.E! Today alone they stacked enough wood to heat H.O.M.E. for TWO WEEKS! Dave also jumped in to tell me about how much he is enjoying one of H.O.M.E.'s residents, Clint. Its good to see even a few days in that friendships are being made.
Detroit – was very excited tonight to share about all they have been up to, and I told them I already feel like we know so much thanks to the news article! (see below). Christina talked about Ron, an Army vet from the Vietnam war and how thankful he has been to have their help. It was a last-minute site change but has been a blessing for Ron and his wife. The group is working to make the house more heat efficient by re-roofing and re-insulating his home. Tomorrow the group is having dinner with Habitat volunteers and home recipients and they are very much looking forward to that.
Maryland – is having a wonderful time with their new friends at the Benedictine School, working in classrooms and hanging out in the residence halls in the evenings. Tonight they had just returned from a basketball game with the students. Lets all keep an eye out tomorrow for pictures from "Benedictine Idol"!! – where our students will perform!
Philly – served in 2 soup kitchens yesterday, and sorted food today at Philabundance. Their eyes have certainly been opened to the depth of need in Philly. Their special tour guide, alum Brad Landry '09 who now works for the Bethesda Project for the homeless, met up with the group Monday night to take them out for cheesesteaks and joined the group for evening reflection. They said his insight and understanding of the need in Philly was incredibly eye opening and helpful in making sense of the work they are doing this week. Tomorrow they will be connecting with alum Dan McVay '97 at the Cradles to Graves educational program on teen violence at Temple Hospital. So thankful for Brad, Dan and all our alums who re-connect with our trips!!
Pictures have begun to arise from groups like Philadelphia who are serving at St. Johns Hospice – a shelter for homeless men.
Mississippi is already working hard stacking wood and getting Camp Glenmary ready for this summer's campers. We look forward to hearing updates from each of our trips in the next few days!
All of our SBA trips are in route! We are excited to await their arrivals to each of their sites. The weather in Manchester has allowed for very smooth departures, but it looks like some weather issues in other states have caused a few hiccups in our flights. Detroit has a 15 minute flight delay out of Manchester.
Mississippi's flight was canceled due to snow in Charlotte. We are hoping they clear the runways soon. The group is being re-routed to Washington DC on Flight US2037, then to Charlotte on Flight US2437, to Memphis on Flight US2661. Fr. Tim Murphy will be awaiting the group whenever they do get there! Current ETA is 8:39pm.
A post will be added this evening when our sites have all arrived at their destinations safely. Please check again throughout the week as we hear from our groups about the amazing experiences they are having!
Thank you for your prayers this week!
Each break at Saint Anselm College, the Office of Campus Ministry sends students (and a handful of faculty/staff) to do service in several locations both domestically and internationally. The Service & Solidarity Missions program, now in its 23rd year, provides its participants not only with the opportunity to serve others but also with an experience that further develops lessons learned in the classroom. Throughout their week of service, prayer and reflection students step beyond their comfort zone and ask themselves meaningful questions about who they want to be in the world.
Wednesday February 27, all nine Spring Break Alternative trips gathered for retreat to prepare themselves for their experience. They worked in groups talking about their fears, hopes, and expectations for their trips and the people they will encounter. All participants were excited and anticipating how they can serve their brothers and sisters in Christ's image.
The evening concluded with our sending forth mass, celebrated by Fr. Anselm. Each student was sent forth with a cross, and a candle for each trip to use during their evening reflections.
Please keep our 102 participants in your prayers this week, especially for safe travels Friday and Saturday!
- Aberdeen, Mississippi
- Detroit, Michigan
- Houston, Texas
- Lewis County, Kentucky
- Manchester, New Hampshire
- Orland, Maine
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Ridgley, Maryland