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Christendom Students See the Face of Christ in the Homeless

October 31, 2019

Christendom students have a heart for service. From giving of their spring breaks to go on mission trips to giving up their Saturday mornings to pray for the unborn at DC Metro area abortion clinics, Christendom students are willing to sacrifice in service to others.

In spring 2019, Rosemarie Olszewski (’20) started a new student club called Angels is Disguise, whose mission is to bring dignity to the homeless by engaging in conversation and providing companionship. On several Sundays throughout the semester, club members travel to Washington D.C., armed with backpacks filled with sandwiches to share, to search out “friends on the street,” ready to engage in conversation and to show kindness to those in need.

“Our main goal is to just be present to the homeless. We give them our time and listen to whatever they want to share,” Olszewski explained. “Even though approaching the homeless can be intimidating at first, you often have a beautiful conversation with the most unexpected person. When you see the person you’re talking to go from being confused about why you are speaking to them to laughing and smiling as you share stories with each other, it really is a beautiful experience.”

The mission of this ministry is to encounter the homeless through conversation and companionship.

Olszewski has considerable experience working with the homeless. In 2018, she spent her summer with Denver-based mission Christ in the City, a community of young adult missionaries who spend their time on the streets engaging with the homeless. This summer of service made a deep impact on Olszewski, and inspired her to organize a trip through the college’s mission program to travel to Denver to work with Christ in the City over spring break with ten of her fellow students. The trip was a life-changing experience for all who attended.

Christendom students on their way to the Denver mission trip with Christ in the City.

Inspired by the success of this mission trip, Olszewski decided to start Angels in Disguise, giving students a way to regularly minister to the homeless in the local area. Now, the club is thriving and students are regularly travelling to D.C., showing care and love to the homeless.

Jose Lam (’21) was initially ambivalent about joining the club. Not only is it intimidating to approach a total stranger and start a conversation, Lam struggled to see the ministry as effectual. He wondered what good conversation could do for people who are in such difficult situations. But, feeling what Lam described as a “pang” in his heart to join this ministry, he brought the matter to prayer and God gave him the grace to follow his calling.

After his first trip, Lam understood the power of this kind of ministry.

“This ministry reminded me of that in which the Christian life consists and showed me new truths that I cannot put into words,” he said. “Charity seeks to encounter weakness more than anything, for it is in weakness that charity is most capable of growing.”

Students on the Denver mission trip with a favorite friend on the street.

Christendom students continually display a spirit of service and a keen awareness of the needs of others. Angels in Disguise is just one example of Christendom students giving of their time to help others.

On November 1 each year, classes are canceled in celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints. Instead of using their day off to relax or sleep in, many students take part in the college’s annual Day of Service. The Angles in Disguise club will go to D.C. for a day of ministry, but other service opportunities will also take place, both on campus in the local area. Students will visit a local nursing home, help at a food pantry, tend to the trails and gravesite on campus, and will help with various projects at a local monastery.

Students also regularly volunteer at the local food pantry, Loaves and Fishes, and almost every Saturday morning, students travel to a local abortion center to pray for mothers and the unborn with the Shield of Roses club. Several spring break mission trips are also in the works for 2020, where students will travel to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Texas, and Denver, to work with Christ in the City.

It is truly inspiring to see vibrant, devout, and joyful young people taking to heart the call to be Christian servants.