On a rainy Monday morning in June, 25 Xavier High School students departed for Camden, N.J., for a weeklong service trip. There were 10 rising seniors, five rising juniors and 10 rising sophomores. Last year Xavier could not take this trip due to COVID precautions.
Service is a hallmark of the Xavier experience, and what is seen and experienced on a trip such as this -- ranging from the plight of people to bonding with fellow students -- is not soon forgotten. This year Xavier asked a few of the participants to share their feelings for social media. This prayer from Sam Matt, ’23, on the first night in Camden set the tone:
Never before have I been granted such an awesome opportunity to serve those children of yours and brothers of mine who are suffering. I am deeply saddened when I think of the things they must go through on a daily basis: finding food, finding a place to sleep, finding protection from the elements, staying safe on the streets, dealing with illness, and the list goes on and on.
I feel a deep responsibility to help these people, my equals, to attain and maintain the dignity which we all have been endowed but has been stripped from these people. Even though we might not directly come in contact with them, I want to have the intuition and humility to visualize them while working.
Let me never think I am better, smarter, or of any more value than those I will be serving. Most of all I want to see Jesus in Camden, for He exists everywhere. Let the humility and love of Christ be ever present in my heart this week as I work alongside my brothers, bringing glory to your name and bringing about the Kingdom.
By Jeff Otterbein