The Catholic University of America

Feb. 27, 2013

Students to Participate in Spring Break Service

This spring break, nearly 100 CUA students and staff will use their vacation time to serve others on two international mission trips and three domestic service trips.


Twenty students will embark on a one-week trip to Jamaica, while 11 will journey to Ecuador on the international trips sponsored by Campus Ministry. During the trips, students will take part in a variety of service projects while immersing themselves in the local community and culture.

Brother Jim Moore, O.F.M. Conv., associate campus minister for justice and missions, is coordinating the spring break mission trips.

“There was a tremendous response [among students] to the idea of making a mission trip,” Brother Moore said. “It’s great for me …to see their faith, to see their excitement about living out the Gospel in what they do.”

The mission trips are led by a Campus Ministry staff person, a staff person from another office, and two student leaders who have been on a trip before and can help facilitate the experience for new students.

“On the trip, our roles are to guide the team, whether that be physically or spiritually,” said senior Billy Conlon, who is one of the student leaders on the mission trip to Jamaica. “We have been in Jamaica before, so we know what to expect…Our job is to prepare our team for service and social interaction, as well as to help them reflect on what happened over the course of the week.”

The groups going on international trips take part in several team bonding experiences before leaving. For the Jamaica team, this has included taking part in the Martin Luther King Day of Service together and sharing a meal at a Jamaican restaurant. All of the teams participated in an overnight retreat to prepare for the trips and have helped to fundraise.

Fundraising efforts on campus have included sales of pizza and cookie dough, roses around Valentine’s Day, and T-shirts. The funds from these campus efforts all go directly to the host service sites abroad, Brother Moore said.

On the three domestic trips, sponsored by the CUA chapter of Habitat for Humanity International, 19 students and one staff person each will travel to Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans to work at some of the organization’s home building sites. Senior Kathleen Lavoie said registration for both the New Orleans and San Francisco trips had filled within 24 hours of opening.

“Students who go on the trips usually find it to be a very rewarding and eye-opening experience,” Lavoie said. “Most students are impacted when they meet the homeowner, hearing the homeowner’s story and learning how much hope we give them from helping build their house.”

“To be sure, mission trips are sacrifices of time, money, and the freedom of your free time. But they also present the perfect opportunity to not only explore the world but also to learn about a new part of yourself by leaving your comfort zone and facing your fears,” Conlon said. “My goal is for the students…to not be afraid to take that leap of faith.”


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