As July progresses, it is tempting to submerge ourselves in the relaxing pool of summer vacation. Our education, our work, and even our faith can seem like bothersome burdens under the influence of the hot, summer sun. In addition to prayer, Confession, and the Eucharist, we can rehydrate our faith through another crucial component of Catholicism: service. Jesus perfectly embodies selfless servitude. In order to develop and deepen our faith, we must also actively serve in our communities. According to the Gospel of Mark, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Pope Francis reminds us that every day, “Christ leads us to go out from ourselves more and more, to give ourselves and to serve others (@Pontifex).”
The summer season is ideal for dedicating time, energy, or finances to volunteer projects. Ask yourself the following questions to begin discovering service opportunities this summer:
- What interests me the most? What are my strengths?
- Why am I volunteering? What are my goals?
- Where can I find opportunities for service that interest me? Websites for organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Volunteer Network are excellent starting points for your search. Local newspapers, local community boards, and parish bulletins also offer a variety of service opportunities.
- Your local parishes, schools, YMCA’s, libraries, and nonprofits may be able to suggest other service opportunities.
- How long do I want to volunteer? How many hours would I like to dedicate? Inform the organization you are assisting the answers to these questions, and contribute your time, energy, or finances for as long as you are able.
- Does this organization embrace the teachings of the Church? Does this organization help me to stay true to my Catholic faith? Your work in the community with these organizations will serve as powerful witness of your faith to your friends, family, and neighbors.
Service rejuvenates our soul, our faith, and our personal relationship with Jesus, who himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).