Read about the experience from Andrew Heller ‘16:
“Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “Everybody can be great . . . because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace.” High school students had an excellent opportunity to embody this principle of justice spoken by Dr. King and put it into practice. This past Monday, Martin Luther King Day, a day off from school and work for most people, became a Martin Luther King Day-On for 388 students across the Archdiocese to serve others in the community selflessly. Sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministries, the day of service began with a prayer service led by Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Students and adult volunteers were then sent to 14 work sites throughout the city.
In order for justice to exist in the community, people must willingly give of themselves in service to the many ministries and organizations in need of assistance. The many groups that went out into the Greater New Orleans area to serve this past Monday provided that assistance. I, along with 23 other Brother Martin students and several adults, visited the Archdiocese of New Orleans Hispanic Apostolate, located in Metairie. We assisted in renovating an abandoned school and clearing space for a ministry which will provide support to Hispanic immigrant Catholics new to the New Orleans area. Our group spent the greater part of the day removing classroom lockers, tearing down blackboards, and basically stripping each classroom clean. By 3 p.m., we filled two dumpsters to capacity with discarded material. Various other organizations also received assistance from the many other school and church groups involved in the day of service. Although much of the work can be challenging and tiring, I felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing that I was helping the community and fulfilling a social need.
As read by Archbishop Aymond in the morning’s Gospel taken from Matthew 25, Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Through serving the community, one directly serves God, which is key to demonstrating one’s love of God and is a necessity for social justice. Martin Luther King Day-On was merely the spark that hopefully will ignite a fire of service in our youth. I would encourage anyone who feels a calling to service to discover the many service organizations and events available in one’s school, church, and community in order to develop a closer connection to Jesus Christ.”