Welcome to Christian Service! “Widening the Circle of Compassion”
– Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ
Dear Prospective Students, Current Students, Alumni and Families,
We warmly welcome you into our long-standing tradition of service. Here at Jesuit, service is an active response to our faith; a faith that is inspired by and pursues the example of Jesus by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the infirmed, and inviting the outcast into friendship. We realize that in doing this we are able to grow closer to God and all of God’s beloved creation. In giving ourselves away we receive more than we could ever imagine.
We encourage the forging of relationships that allow people in the community to be our teachers. Lila Watson, an indigenous Australian activist, once said, “If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Thus, when everyone’s basic needs are met and all are given an opportunity to thrive, together we flourish.
With the goal of becoming lifelong “Men for and with Others,” we require service all four years at Jesuit. The Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Service Programs require students to complete a minimum16 hours of service. The Freshman integrate their 16 hours of service into their Global Studies course over the course of the entire year. Sophomores incorporate their service hours the semester they take Old Testament. Juniors blend their service commitment into one semester of Theology 3A/B. Additionally, oral and written reflections are integrated into the courses of study mentioned as part of their course grade. Service orientations conducted by the Christian Service Department occur in class at the beginning of each semester to direct the students in their service projects. Seniors may elect to take Christian Service during the summer prior to their senior year. Summer options for seniors include immersions, summer camps, pre-approved independent studies, and a 4-week summer school course. Seniors who do not fulfill their service project over the summer take a semester-long course either in the fall or spring of their senior year. Seniors complete a minimum of 50 hours of service.
Over the years it has been a true privilege to witness our students maturing in service. Compassion, humility, gratitude, and generosity cannot help but exude from one’s Spirit when we are serving God’s people. Join us in our commitment to serve!
Welcome to the Christian Service Web Page! Why a web page for Christian Service? We are a very active and exciting part of what Jesuit High School is all about, and we think this is a good way to keep you informed of issues and events happening in the area of social justice.
First . . . The History:
Service to others has been an integral part of Jesuit formation and education since the Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola over 500 years ago. In our time, the commitment to serve others was emphasized by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who said: “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors. The education imparted in Jesuit schools must be equal to the demands of justice in the world. What kind of people are needed in the world today? Men and women for others.“
Next . . . The Philosophy:
Jesuit High School’s “Statement of Philosophy” states: “The spiritual dimension of the students’ development is fostered through their incorporation into a community where catholic beliefs, morals and values, inspired by faith in the Gospel and belief in the full brotherhood and sisterhood of the human family, are taught, professed and experienced, and where personal action is proposed as a response.
Finally . . . The Program:
Christian Service is required of all students at Jesuit, and opportunities to reflect on the Christian dimension of service are part of the curriculum at all four levels. Freshmen jump into service right away. Partnered with their Senior “Big Brothers,” Freshmen collect food on their overnight retreat and for the Christmas Food Drive. They continue by completing 16 hours of service in the local community while enrolled in Global Studies. Sophomores volunteer throughout Sacramento and the surrounding area while enrolled in their Old Testament course. Juniors and Seniors complete their service at sites in the Sacramento community that serve people with “special needs.” Juniors volunteer at least 16 hours while enrolled in Social Justice, and Seniors take a one-semester course entitled “Christian Service” which includes 50 hours of service in the community plus reflections during class time. Many Seniors opt to complete their service during the summer preceding their final year at Jesuit High School.
Additionally . . . Placement Sites . . .
Selection of Christian Service sites for upperclassmen is based on the fundamental criterion that students have an opportunity to work directly with people who have special needs. The objective is to place students in agencies that:
a) allow for direct contact with those who are marginalized in our culture;
b) expose the root causes of marginalization;
c) work to counter the causes of marginalization;
d) enable them to reach out to others in Christian fellowship.
Students have a wide variety of choices when it comes to selecting service placements. Sites include agencies that serve the elderly, the poor and the homeless, the physically and developmentally challenged, children of prison inmates, at-risk youth and pre-school aged children. Sophomores can make lunches for children at the Mustardseed School for homeless children at Loaves and Fishes, or cook and serve breakfast at Maryhouse or Wellspring Center, both places for homeless women and children. Summer service options for Seniors include international and domestic service immersion trips, counselor positions at camps for the handicapped, and even the opportunity to propose an independent study in the area of the student’s interest.
. . . and Reflection:
At every level, but especially at the upper levels, reflection is seen as an indispensable part of Christian Service. In Jesuit schools, learning is expected to move beyond rote knowledge to the development of the more complex learning skills of understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Jesuit education insists that students consider the significance of what they learn and to integrate that meaning into their lives. Reflection helps students make connections between their personal experience of service and the larger issues of social justice.
Fr. Ed Kinerk, the President of Rockhurst College, a Jesuit college in Kansas City, Missouri, said it best: “It is easy to say that we want to love God and do good. However, Ignatius would gently push us further by asking what that sentiment means for us concretely. Love always expresses itself in deeds. Jesuit education is practical because it is an education for life, for a better life. Cooperative education, service learning and an emphasis on giving back to the communities in which we live are essential components of Jesuit education.”
Freshmen at Jesuit High School complete a minimum of sixteen hours of service during the school year. In September Ms. Brabec will meet with each section of Modern World History to explain the service requirements. We invite students to grow as “men for others” by engaging in service that challenges them to move outside of their comfort zones. These are the activities that contribute the most to the students’ educational experience and best prepare them to become the “Men for Others” that Father Arrupe desired all Jesuit alumni to become.
Ms. Sara Brabec is available in the Christian Service office in Garnier every day during break, lunch, before and after school, to assist sophomores in identifying service opportunities and meeting their service requirement.
The theme of the Junior Service Project is “Service Through Direct Involvement.” By now, students have examined their personal responsibility within familial and social relationships and are ready to make a more significant contribution to the larger community. Juniors are required to complete 16 hours of Service at non-profit agencies that serve people who are in some way challenged, i.e., physically, developmentally, economically or academically. Our Theology instructors facilitate students’ projects and reflection.
The senior year is a continuation of what was begun during the junior year. Seniors are required for graduation to enroll in a course called, “Christian Service.” They attend orientation sessions the first week of school and complete 50 hours of Service at non-profit agencies that serve people who are in some way challenged, i.e., physically, developmentally, economically or academically. Their reflection is facilitated by faculty member in weekly reflection groups.
Seniors have the option of fulfilling their Service requirement the summer before senior year by enrolling in a school-sponsored program. These include: a 4-week summer school Christian Service class where 50 hours of service are completed locally; foreign and domestic immersion trips; volunteering as counselors at summer camps for the handicapped and at-risk youth, and approved independent studies. There is an application process for summer opportunities and students must be pre-approved in order for any hours worked during the summer to fulfill their requirement.
In addition to the service immersion programs that take place during summer, there are many other great opportunities for our Seniors to fulfill their 50-hour Senior service requirement, such as a guided project through the Christian Service Summer Course, an Independent Study, and summer camps for youth in need. For each of our summer programs, we require “direct contact with a marginalized community” while also providing a reflection component that allows our students to discern why service is important, how their faith can be strengthened, and how they can truly become “A Man for Others.” Information on applications and deadlines for students may be accessed at the links further down this page:
MDA Camp, CampRec, Camp Ronald McDonald, JHS Christian Service Summer Course and Independent Study.
PLEASE NOTE: While we encourage a lifetime of service, only students entering their Senior year who are pre-approved by Mrs. Barnes during Spring 2017 for the Christian Service Summer Course, an Independent Study, a service camp or a JHS immersion, complete the course paperwork, and pay the course fee will be granted credit for the hours they volunteer during Summer 2017. All assignments are due within 7 days of return from the immersion, camp or completion of service or July 28, whichever comes first.
Rising Seniors who opt not to pursue Summer service will be enrolled in the 3rd period Christian Service course during the 2017-2018 school year.
Entering Freshmen, rising Sophomores and rising Juniors, while encouraged to serve wherever they are needed, are not permitted to “count” their summer service hours toward the JHS commitment of 16 hours each year. Required JHS Christian Service hours are completed in the context of the school year and incorporated into the curriculum.