“God will judge us this way: ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you tended to me.’ Jesus’ meaning is clear: we must grow in love and compassion. The first question we must ask is what is our primary motivation? Is it to serve others? No work, no matter how well done, has value in God’s eyes unless it satisfies this requirement. Our work should be motivated to resolve suffering by serving humanity.” – Mother Teresa’s Prescription: Finding Happiness and Peace in Service
Mother Teresa’s words remind us that through our service to others, we are directly serving God. At GTACS, we strive to teach students to be Christ’s disciples — carrying out messages of love and compassion to the world. An important part of our mission is to help students discover that alleviating others’ suffering is one of our primary objectives as Christians, which is why Christian service is a common thread throughout our schools.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ELEMENTARY (PRESCHOOL-5)
Their bodies may still be small, but their hearts are HUGE and students in these grade levels LOVE to serve others. Throughout the year, you’ll find us collecting and distributing boots, hats and mittens, participating in the fire department toy drive, bringing in food for our local food pantries, making placemats for our GladMeal community meal guests, and more. Even at the age of 3,4 or 5, our students are already beginning to learn one of life’s most important lessons: It is in giving that we receive.
By the time they’re in upper elementary, service has become a way of life for our students. They give of themselves in a variety of ways: by visiting nursing homes, raising money or collecting goods for the poor, sending letters to the sick, and of course, praying. In fifth grade, the students travel to a regional food bank as they begin to understand the far-reaching impact of their actions on the world around them.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON MIDDLE SCHOOL (6-8)
No Catholic middle school “class trip” would be complete without a service component. That’s why our eighth grade visit to Washington, DC, includes a visit to a home for disabled veterans, and to a nun-run home for the elderly. Our middle school students demonstrate their growing independence by coming up with new ideas as to how to serve others, such as collecting items for Easter baskets for residents of the Goodwill Inn shelter.
ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)
Throughout the year, you’ll find our students collecting baby items for the Pregnancy Care Center and SingleMomm.org, serving at funerals, helping with parish events, mentoring elementary kids and more. An immersion mission experience is now a graduation requirement for our high school students; they can choose from a menu of local and national service trips. On Senior Service Days, St. Francis seniors go out into the community to serve at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, Father Fred Foundation and other local humanitarian organizations.
In 2003, a group of St. Francis High School students realized that there was no community meal on Saturdays. They stepped up to remedy the situation, and GladMeals was born. This noon-time gathering is funded through donations and staffed by volunteer groups each weekend. For additional information or to make a donation, contact Maureen DeYoung (firstname.lastname@example.org).
THE KEEGAN MISSION PROJECT
If Keegan Tarrant had a mission in life, it was to uplift and serve those around her. The 2013 graduate of Traverse City St. Francis High School was happiest when she was putting her faith into action: laughing and winning the hearts of children at an orphanage in Africa; rolling up her sleeves and building a house for a family in need in Jamaica; smiling and serving Saturday “Glad Meals” to the hungry in her own home town of Traverse City, Michigan. Dedicated to carrying forward Keegan’s missionary spirit, the Keegan Mission Project will fund scholarships for similar life-changing adventures in Christian service.
Catholic schools aren’t there to make our young people upwardly mobile, nor to assure them of a wrinkle-free life…They are there precisely to take all that away from them, to lure them to give up security and come out onto the road…make them the apostles they were ordained to be. – Archdiocese of Sante Fe