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 | Katie Camario

Following Christ's Example of Serving Others

February 7, 2023 | On a regular school day, the entire student body, faculty, and staff of St. Petersburg Catholic High School vacated the campus for a good cause.

“While the physical campus of St. Pete Catholic will be lacking the hustle and bustle of kids in class and in the hallways, that same energetic spirit will be alive at various service sites,” said Hannah Wiand, Campus Minister at the school.

Following morning Mass on February 3rd, they all loaded onto eleven school buses and headed to sixteen different service sites around Pinellas County to do volunteer work. The locations included a food pantry, thrift store, homeless shelter, and even a cemetery.

“Here at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, we're cleaning up the gravestones and making sure everything looks pretty. The people here might not have family members that are able to come visit them and clean up the graves,” said Senior Class President Christopher.

Prayers were also offered for the dearly departed and their families.

“Just as much as we're praying for them, we're praying for their families too. Death is never an easy thing for people. I think it's also part of the Catholic mission to be a shoulder for other people,” said Christopher.

It was a senior named Parker, who came up with the idea of a schoolwide service day . He wanted to encourage volunteering among his peers because it helps promote the philosophy of Catholic social teaching, which is respecting the value of human life and creation.

“Engaging in service and providing assistance for the betterment of the community can help create a better future for everyone,” Parker said.

Catholic Social Teaching and the Corporal Works of Mercy have been taught to students during Theology classes and the day of service gave them the opportunity to live what they have learned.

“This gives them the experience of following Christ’s example of doing active ministry, of being sent out, and of seeking Christ’s face in all those they serve,” said Wiand.  “By doing service, you are able to encounter Christ in a profoundly beautiful way, and it is my hope that the students allow Christ to do something new in their hearts during this day of service.”

The service day is also a way for the school students, faculty, and parents to foster the continual growth in unity among our entire school community.

“Everyone's out here together. It's an opportunity for us to hang out and laugh. When you're helping other people, you get to grow close to your schoolmates and this really brings us closer, schoolmates, as Catholics, and it's really an awesome opportunity,” said Christopher.

The service day was planned to coincide with National Catholic Schools Week held across the United States, January 29 through February 4, 2023. Many schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg also held service days. St. Petersburg Catholic High School logged over 1,300 volunteer hours during their service day.

St. Petersburg Catholic High School students logged over 1,300 volunteer hours during their service day February 3, 2023. Photo by Katie Camario