Having just celebrated a day of thanks, of gratitude and blessings, it becomes clear the need for serving others as well as being grateful for what we have. On Nov. 18, members of the Mount community, including students, seminarians and faculty members, gathered in the warm, comfortable Seminary rec room, standing in community and brotherhood as they witnessed the blessing of Thanksgiving meals to be delivered to people in need by Monsignor Baker, Rector of the Seminary.
The annual “Go Forth” mission for the poor commenced in prayer. That rainy morning, 46 deliverers including six Mount students, Monsignor Anthony Frontiero and Dr. Paige Hochschild and her sons, picked up bag after loaded bag of groceries.
While many of us are fortunate enough to not worry or be concerned with where our food comes from, or whether we will have food at all, for many members of the local community, the Thanksgiving meal that so many of us take for granted was not an option. For some, without the resources to purchase groceries, the holidays tend to slip by and serve as a reminder of hardship rather than a celebration of joy. However, thanks to over $1,900 in donations given by 50 donors, a blessed Thanksgiving meal became a reality for 290 people, in 99 residences and families in seven separate communities throughout Emmitsburg, Thurmont and Gettysburg.
As I arrived at the Thurmont Village Apartment complex, just one of many communities which would receive food that morning, I felt nervous. I had never experienced a mission trip before and coming face to face with those who we were giving to was intimidating at first. Yet, I knew that this mission was meaningful. Starting the morning in companionship, brotherhood and harmony with so many members of the Mount community and coming together to serve a larger need, was the perfect beginning to a day spent giving back.
Each family to whom we delivered groceries received a six to eight-pound frozen turkey breast with wings, or a two-pound fully cooked and refrigerated turkey ham, four pounds of freshly harvested potatoes, two cans of corn, one can of green beans, a box of stuffing, one can of cranberry sauce, a loaf of bread and a dessert. Families who had four or more members received double the food.
As I met, heard the stories and delivered food to the families out in the community, I could not help the overwhelming appreciation I felt for the blessings I receive, the gratitude for the opportunity to meet such inspiring people and the joy I felt at such fellowship and service. The Mount and its community branch out and bring blessings to others and it is miraculous to be a part of something such as this.
When the members of the seminary blessed the food that morning, I felt in the air the sheer significance of giving to others and seeing the hard work, donations and selflessness come to fruition was a truly humbling experience. As the year progresses, students, faculty, staff and seminarians should all embrace the messages that the mission trip inspired: to be grateful for the blessings we receive, to share those blessings with the people who need them and to give selflessly to people throughout the larger community.
I know that I and the other students who delivered had a wonderful experience and are grateful that we learned of this opportunity through iLEAD’s Emerging Leaders program. Knocking on doors, food in hand, prayers offered and thanks received, there was something special happening that morning. Being involved in projects that weave a tighter thread around the community and bring people together is important. However, the people are what matter; getting to meet the people we were giving to inspired myself and others to further give back in the future.