Christendom College students are preparing to embark on the college’s annual spring break mission trips, March 4-13, 2016. Students will travel to Peru, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic to rebuild homes, minister to the young and elderly, and spread the love of Christ to these third-world countries.
Entering its seventeenth year, Christendom’s mission program has sent over eight hundred students, thirty faculty and staff, and twenty alumni across the globe in a mission of aid and evangelization. While other college-aged students typically use spring break as a time to rest and relax, Christendom students instead use the time to help the impoverished across the globe — a fact that constantly inspires assistant coordinator for the mission program, Julie Cipriano.
“Each year, I am touched by the witness of the particular generosity of our students. This rising generation faces college debt, an increasingly uncertain job market, and the demands of a rigorous academic program, yet they still find it within their hearts, not only to raise a great deal of money to participate in the mission program, but to serve the poorest of the poor during their spring break,” said Cipriano.
When students arrive in the Dominican Republic, they, along with professor Raymund O’Herron and staff member Theresa Francis, will partner with the Diocesan mission to install concrete flooring in homes, getting people off of the dirt floors that are so often a part of third world living and increasing their health and sanitation.
In Guatemala, the students, along with alumnus Fr. Joseph Mary Brown, CSP, and staff members Marilyn Charba and Klarissa Blank, will be serving at the Orfanato Valle de los Angeles, a school and orphanage run by the Franciscans (OFM) of the Immaculate Conception province. Their primary work will be a ministry of presence to the children, participating in their everyday lives, sharing meals and participating in their extracurricular activities, in addition to lending their expertise in particular to ESL and maintenance projects around Valle.
In Peru, students, along with Cipriano, will work to build staircases to ease movement within and among the steep hills of the shantytowns of Lima, where the poverty is grinding. The staircases will also ease the burden of having to carry water in the desert region, as many homes are without running water. The students will participate in the March for Life in Lima as well, offering a prayerful witness for life in the foreign country.
These mission trips are a part of the college’s “10,000 Acts of Kindness Program,” which has seen the student body travel to Chicago and up and down the East Coast since September in a mission of helping the homeless and impoverished in tangible ways, through donating clothing and food, or even just a simple, encouraging conversation.