This week, we are featuring individual reflections from members of our San Damiano Program!
During this past semester, I took my final theology course, Sport and Spirituality with Dr. Leonard DiPaul. We watched a documentary called “The Human Experience.” In the film there are two brothers who experience life in New York, Ghana, and Peru. After watching the film and having some thoughtful discussions, I really felt called to do more with the opportunities that I have available to me. I promised myself I would be more open to the signs I am receiving, and not even a week later I got the email about applying to the San Damiano Program. I truly believe that I was called to service. I feel that service has given me the opportunity to grow my faith, my community, and really set a firm foundation.—Madison Varney ‘20, San Damiano Program Guatemala Trip
I think that service is an integral part of society that can often be overlooked because there’s just not enough time in the day for some individuals. Although that may be the case for some, I believe that we are called to serve others and share our blessings with our community. Even though it is you or I who may be doing the physical work, it’s God who is really at work. The Lord blesses us with so many opportunities to thrive in our personal lives, but the opportunity to serve others and conduct His work … there’s no greater privilege!
This July I will have the opportunity to travel to Arizona and serve as a camp counselor at St. Michael’s School in the Navajo Nation. I’m very excited for this opportunity because I believe that our group will be able to make a difference in the lives of the children who are attending the camp. Sometimes service, in the simplest form, is making a connection with another individual. Everyone in the Arizona group is excited to do that and more to make the week one of the best weeks of the summer for the children! - Jake Loburak ‘22, San Damiano Program Arizona Trip
I have chosen to go on the San Damiano trip to South Carolina with Habitat for Humanity because I feel that service has always been a calling in my life. I have done a few service trips before, using my ability to sing and dance to raise money in the Bahamas, but I’ve always wanted to take a leap and put myself out there and help in a greater way that takes me out of my comfort zone. The mission of Habitat for Humanity and the work ethic people have to have to earn their home was something I never knew before, and it put my view on the service opportunity in an entirely different light. Seeing how dedicated and driven people were to help others, and people putting in the work to receive help themselves, is truly astounding and I can not wait to be apart of it. My faith plays a role especially in this trip because I have always followed the Neumann value of R.I.S.E.S., Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Stewardship. Right in the center of those values is what I believe to be the most important aspect, Service. As Catholics, and as Neumann students, putting in time to do service, even if in smaller ways, is so important in bringing us closer to God. “For even 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. Through our service to those less fortunate, we are in turn serving Him. My hope is that everyone considers doing a service trip someday, or a type of service within the community, so we can not only help others and make powerful connections, but also better ourselves as individuals. - Samanatha DiCarlo ‘21, San Damiano Program South Carolina Trip
This summer I have been given an amazing opportunity through Campus Ministry to go on a week long service trip to Wyoming. Truthfully, I have never been super into church. I was raised Catholic, but it just never really played a big role in my life. Through Neumann, I have been able to open up a little and this fall I went on the search retreat. I wasn’t there searching for God or really anything in specific, but really just looking to be open to things and go out of my comfort zone and make some really great friends. I really enjoyed the retreat and, on the way back I asked Patrick if we were still able to sign up for a service trip and he said if I could fill out the form and plan a meeting before the end of the week then I could. And that’s when the journey began, I can’t wait to get closer to the people that are in my group and explore Wyoming and help out the people on the reservation. I have been looking for a way to give back and doing service for others is an ideal way to do that, while also including reflection. The people that I have met through Campus Ministry, especially Patrick and Maria, have been the most genuine, kind, and outgoing people I have ever had the chance to meet. I hope that even if I don’t get closer to God that I can at least become more like them.—Keri Mallon ‘21, San Damiano Program Wyoming Trip