BRIDGEPORT (September 23, 2016)—Michelle Smith has been named coordinator of the new Catholic Service Corps (CSC), a synod initiative created in response to the call for service and the need to engage youth in faith and good works.
“Michelle’s experiences as a religious education teacher, events planner, fundraiser and media director will provide faithful leadership as we work to bring the Catholic Service Corps to full fruition,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. “She understands that works of service are grounded in faith and part of the formation process for our young people.”
Smith’s first priority has been the development of partnerships and volunteer opportunities for the upcoming September 24 Day of Service. The day will include projects across the diocese, concluding with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to launch the Catholic Services Corps,” said Smith who grew up in St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Weston. “When I was a young person, these service opportunities didn’t really exist. It’s exciting that they’re available to young children today. Engaging young people in service is important to the future of the universal Church.”
She said the CSC will put service “in the Catholic context of social justice and make young people more aware of the challenges in our diocese. The haves and have-nots live side by side in Fairfield County, co-existing with one another, and there are many needs. Social justice surrounds the need for service.”
Smith said she hopes that the corps “ignites a flame or passion in the kids to grow in their faith. They will be able to look right and look left and see how many others are involved in service doing service. Hopefully, it will also lead them to Mass on Sundays.”
Smith said the goal isn’t simply to put young people to work but she hoped to create a volunteer experience that is “inviting, affirming, inclusive, social and fun.”
Smith joined Fairfield Prep this fall as a member of the Theology Department. She has served as campus minister, theology teacher, and director of middle school social justice and service at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich since 2010. She is also currently a doctoral candidate in religious education at Fordham University.
Smith, her husband, Jim, and their four children are long-time parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
(For more information on the Catholic Serve Corps, contact Michelle Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org.)