have a tongue of their own; they
have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds
prove the lover more than words."
- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386)
The Church has always understood that what she believes is expressed not only in the way she prays but also in the way her members live. Therefore, every student at The High School of St. Thomas More is expected to demonstrate that they have not only learned the truths of the faith, but have also lived up to its demands. LIVING THE FAITH is one way in which this latter objective is measured.
The ultimate purpose of these hours of service is to help students realize that their faith ought not to be confined to the church or chapel but should permeate every aspect of their lives such that faith becomes the guiding principle of every action. In addition, this program challenges them to learn about their community and its needs and arouses in them a sense of responsibility for spreading the Gospel.
What exactly is expected of the student?
Before one can be eligible to graduate, each student must demonstrate a living faith by documenting 150 hours of service (20 hours as a Freshman, 30 hours as a Sophomore, and 50 hours as both a Junior and a Senior). A reduced number of hours is expected of transfer students who discuss their situation with the chaplain.
What are some criteria for a good service project?
It incorporates one or more of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy: The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2447) teaches: “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. . . Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.”
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:
The Corporal Works of Mercy are:
It can be understood as furthering Jesus’ mission (i.e., his message and ministry).
It brings the student into direct personal service of another person or persons.
It provides an educational experience for the participating student that will challenge the student beyond what is known and comfortable.
It can be easily verified by a supervisor and thoroughly evaluated by the student
It is well supervised.
It leaves the student with the knowledge that another person's life has been enhanced due to his or her selfless generosity
What are some other things to consider?
The project cannot provide material compensation of any kind to the student (e.g., one cannot be paid for service) nor can projects be done for a family member.
All things being equal, a project which has a commitment of at least one year is to be preferred to a project which lasts only a short time. A project with a four year commitment is even more laudable.
Projects, as long as they have received the chaplain's approval, may be worked on at any time, even during the summer.
How is approval obtained for brand new projects?
How do I check to see how many hours I have submitted?
If you have any questions about the campus ministry offered at STM, please contact our chaplain, Fr. Matthew Hoelscher, firstname.lastname@example.org