Diocesan youth take SHU “Journey” to deepen their faith

FAIRFIELD—On the second day of SHU Journey 2018, high school students are gathered in a Sacred Heart University classroom to discuss what it means to be servant leaders.

With notebooks and pens ready, they are attentive and ready to engage. Dr. June-Ann Greeley told students, “We are called to be leaders, we are called to be servants.”

They discuss how service and leadership are integral parts of the spiritual journey. Students also discussed Christ’s perfect love and what one can learn from that.

Drawing examples from St. John Paul II, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Francis of Assisi, students discussed how, especially as Catholics, we are called to be servant leaders in our everyday lives.

“I think good leaders are servants. You should be leading by example, as Jesus washed the feet of the apostles,” a student explained. “If we are giving of ourselves, if we are acting like Jesus, that is how we are showing perfect love,” a student mentioned.

Faith, learning, identity and community are all encompassed in the six-day residential summer experience that is Sacred Heart University Journey.

Six college student leaders from Sacred Heart University serve as mentors to twenty-four high school students from around the Diocese as they dive deeper into their faith education, self-discovery, and leadership.

Students participate in faith instruction, small group discussion, community service, music ministry, prayer and reflection. Participants also hear from keynote speakers who are Catholic leaders, both lay and religious, around the Diocese.

SHU Journey focuses on viewing God and the world through the Catholic intellectual tradition and how this applies to their lives.

SHU Journey is a Lilly Endowment Summer Theological Institute for High School Youth. The Lilly Endowment provides grants to Catholic and Christian colleges to run similar institutes around the country.

The goals of the program are to educate students in faith and help them to relate what they learn to their lives and the greater world; and to foster the ability for them to become leaders in their faith.

“SHU Journey is a great opportunity to work with high school students and a way to integrate both faith, leadership, and the fun of a typical summer camp,” says Anthony, a junior at Sacred Heart University and SHU Journey mentor, whose involvement in campus ministry inspired him to apply to the program.

Sierra O’Keefe, a recent graduate from Notre Dame High School, and alumna of SHU Journey, said

“I was fortunate enough to attend Sacred Heart Journey two years in a row. SHU Journey not only taught us about our faith, but allowed us to express our faith, whether it be through the service we did or the classroom discussion we had. SHU Journey helped me make more friends in Christ and gave us the leadership skills necessary to show Christ to others. It was so much fun and I would encourage all who have the opportunity to participate.”