Description: This program includes a trip to the soup kitchen, scripture reflection, and a brief introduction to Catholic Social Teaching.
- Prep Time: Contact a local soup kitchen well in advance (some need less notice but a few months ahead is your best bet) and sign up to serve a meal. Be sure to ask how many volunteer workers they can accommodate.
- Volunteers Needed: When you sign up, ask if there is someone from the organization who can speak about their mission. This isn’t vital but often the folks working there have great things to say about what they do and why they do it.
- Ideal Group Size: Five-15 participants
- Reserve the Space: The soup kitchen may have onsite space for you to gather and reflect afterward or you might need/want to return to your parish for that part of the program. If so, reserve space at the parish or find another place for this portion of the program.
- Supplies: Gather Bibles or print copies of the Gospel readings for the reflection session. Look online (or check with your Parish or Diocesan Social Ministry folks for information on The Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching).
- Who Is This For: This retreat is suitable for any young adults.
- When Is a Good Time for This? Weekends will often be best for your young adults but check with the soup kitchen and see what times they most need help.
- Publicize the Program: When you have settled on a date and location, begin sharing the information with e-mails, flyers, and announcements at Mass and in your parish newsletter. Personal invitations with follow up will be important because of the commitment you’ve made to an outside agency
Prayer for Program Planner: God of Justice and Mercy, be with me as I prepare, and be with our young adults as we serve and reflect. Help us grow closer to your people in need, to the Gospel, and to you. Amen.
Community Building: Service, especially service with a reflection component — a chance to unpack the experience — can be a great community builder. Crank up the community building aspect by finishing the day with an evening out or asking participants if they’d like to plan another service day. This time let them do the planning at a dinner in someone’s home or a dinner out together. Service can be habit forming and if you provide the opportunity and initial encouragement, the young adults who enjoy service may become a self-sustaining group or small Christian community.
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