This Catholic Schools Week: St. Joseph High School serves

TRUMBULL—During Catholic Schools Week we want to share the story of this remarkable school, St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut. St. Joseph has had tremendous participation in our meal packaging program and have taken part in CRS Helping Hands events for the past four years. For this high school the event is transformational in it’s ability to show students the tangible side of social justice.

Theology teacher and sophomore student advisor, Mr. Michael Pappa, helped to spearhead the event and explained that for their school, CRS Helping Hands allows students to see their “faith in action”. Students, he explains, know what is unfair to others and meal packaging events afford them the ability to address inequities around the world in a way that allows them to both know and see that they can make a difference. Mr. Pappa says that it is so easy for kids (or anyone) to feel overwhelmed with the needs of people who suffer and therefore to feel paralyzed in their ability to help. With the call to action in the words of Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” this event helps students envision a life where they can always do as we are called, “serve the poor and feed the hungry.” Through the events the students learn not just about hunger and poverty, but also about what those sufferings do to our spirit and our physical bodies. So many students, Mr. Pappa explains, can’t imagine not having enough food to play sports or not being able to go to school. These issues connect the students directly to those they serve and the event allows them to see that helping another person can be easy, effective and positive.

Mr. Pappa sees CRS Helping Hands as a “mustard seed”. It is an experience that takes root in the hearts of those who participate and allows them to move forward in life continuing to take action for those who need our help. The school, which yearly celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph with prayer and action, feels that CRS Helping Hands’ meal packaging is the perfect compliment to their schools motto “privilege and responsibility”. We all have certain privileges and with those comes the responsibility to ensure that others can enjoy the similar gifts we have.

by Stephanie Bosse  I  Catholic Relief Services