The Catholic University of America

March 3, 2010

More than 100 CUA Students Find Alternatives to Traditional Spring Break

  CUA students visit with the elderly on a past mission trip to Jamaica.

Although the phrase “Spring Break” may traditionally conjure up images of relaxing on beaches or pool side — especially in the middle of a winter with record snowfall — many CUA students are spending their week off volunteering or traveling abroad to enhance their studies.

From March 6 through March 14, more than 100 CUA students will travel to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Dominican Republic and Panama, as well as California, Montana and Tennessee.

As they have for many years, Campus Ministry’s group of students will visit Kingston, Jamaica, to volunteer with the St. Patrick’s Foundation. Eighteen students will work in schools tutoring children and assisting at a home for the abandoned elderly.

CUA’s Habitat for Humanity chapter will have three groups of students traveling to Oakland, Calif.; Bozeman, Mont., and Maryville, Tenn. The 53 students taking part in these trips will be renovating and building houses.

Students in the new Spanish for Healthcare program will take a service learning trip to El Naranjito, Dominican Republic, to volunteer with Somos Amigos Medical Missions. The mission is a non-profit charity providing medical and dental care to people in El Naranjito, a rural community with extreme poverty. The nine CUA students will work in the clinic assisting with medical records.

CUA students work in Hawaii on a past Habitat for Humanity service trip.

Michael Abrams, architecture and planning lecturer, will be leading a group of nine students to Panama City and Santiago, Panama, to help local farmers design ecological cabins in a rural area. This trip will focus on planning; a second trip (yet to be scheduled) will involve building a prototype.

Twenty students in canon law will travel to Rome for the week. The School of Canon Law organizes Spring Break in Rome every two years so that all students in the program have the opportunity to make the trip. During the week, students will visit various dicasteries (departments that form the government of the Church) such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Roman Rota and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. This gives them the opportunity to see how canon law is practiced.

Associate Professor Kurt Martens, who organizes the trip, makes arrangements for the priest-students to be able to say Mass at notable churches, including St. Peter’s Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul Outside the Walls. The students also have the opportunity to attend a papal audience.

The volleyball team won’t receive a break from practices and games over Spring Break, but their matches that week will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When they aren’t practicing, the 13 students will visit local Catholic high schools to promote the university and spend time in Old San Juan and El Yunque National Park Rainforest.