Linwood, New Jersey   SUMMER 2012

“Yes, They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”

By Bro. David Graber, M.SS.CC.

   As a teacher in a Catholic boys’ high  school, the words of that 30 year old hymn, “Yes, They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”, always inspires me to motivate the students through Christian service. In today’s fast technology- filled lives, teens need a constant wave of new activities to engage them. In my Theology classes I have found that textbook and lecture learning is not enough to bring home Christ’s message, “Love one another as I have loved you.” The practicum, or practical application of classroom studies has been most successful by having students work and learn in areas that create experiences that not only instill values in the boys, but also leads them to have a greater desire to continue Christian service among themselves.

   Once a week, a group of eleventh grade  students accompany me to the Cathedral  Kitchen in Camden, New Jersey. Cathedral Kitchen is a nonprofit outreach providing meals to the poor and homeless. Camden is one of the poorest cities in the U.S. and is plagued with the inner city struggles of crime, rampant drug use and hopelessness. During the past year we have seen the number of guests at Cathedral Kitchen increasing from just over 400 to more than 600 during the month of April. On the nights that we serve  dinner the students are very eager to please  these poorest of the poor. Some from the  group want to do more. So one Sunday per month a small group of students and I prepare 150 sandwiches, fruit, and homemade  chicken soup and serve it to the homeless on the streets of Camden. Recently one student said, “This makes me feel so good.”

 

Bro. David & Students
Bro. David and students ready for service at Cathedral Kitchen, Camden, NJ.

   In addition, we take our sophomores, in groups of 30, to Camden for their retreat which we call Metanoia Week. Metanoia is a Greek word meaning to have a change of heart. During this intense week the students have the opportunity to travel throughout the city and tutor young children in the Catholic schools there, work in a shelter, or help to rehabilitate abandoned houses which can then be used as suitable homes. Since our students come from financially comfortable families, they are shocked to see the streets filled with drug dealers, prostitutes, and the many homeless. We begin and end our days with prayers for these “least of my brothers’ but also in thanksgiving for our own blessings.

This positive attitude to be an active Christian has led to the Caritas program in our school. Caritas is the virtue of charity. On their own time, students work in teams to extend their talents to others. These projects have ranged from Meals-on-Wheels,

   (continued on page 3)


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