UNITED STATES: Six students from Don Bosco Preparatory High School provide acts of service during spring break at Nazareth Farm
(MissionNewswire) Six students from Don Bosco Preparatory High School, located in Ramsey, New Jersey, accompanied by Salesian Brother Travis Gunther and Mr. John Darcy, visited Nazareth Farm, a Catholic service retreat community and ministry in Salem, West Virginia, during their April spring break. They joined with teachers and students from four other schools in cities around the country including Detroit, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles.
During the week, the students and adults were divided into teams to work together on service projects. Each day, the teams visited a new site in the local community to paint, put up siding, cook and sometimes clean.
A report from participants about the experience noted, “It was clear that our service was not about completing a project but about helping a person or a family. We stopped to pray and eat with the home owners where we worked. Our prayer services back at the farm were filled with scripture and reflections on Catholic social teachings.”
They added, “We had no technology or watches during the week. Without these distractions we were able to use a few hours of down time each afternoon and evening for playing games, telling stories and just sharing life, really forming community.”
During the trip, the students and adults were able to share stories with each other and learn more about their peers from different areas of the country. Throughout the week, and on the six-hour drive back to Ramsey, several of the students said that the Nazareth Farm experience was one of the best weeks of their life.
John McKeon, one of the students on the trip, summed up his experience, “My favorite part of the trip was hanging out with the staff and other volunteers because we got to play frisbee on the grounds or hike on the highest mountain in the vicinity. Nazareth Farms is a lovely little place where we embrace simplicity in our living, eating and prayer. I’m pleased we got to help local people and make a small positive difference in their lives.”
Don Bosco Preparatory High School is a Catholic and Salesian secondary school which was started in 1915. The school is focused on the secondary education and evangelization of young men. Conducted in the charism of St. John Bosco who advocated that “education is a matter of the heart,” the school strives to create a family spirit in an oratory environment.