Campus ministry work was something that, at the start of this year, I had a small degree of understanding about. I had been involved in the campus ministry department at my college throughout my junior and senior year. I had gone on a few retreats and done some alternative winter and spring breaks to various parts of the country. Doing these experiences definitely helped shape who I was at college and who I would become down the road. This type of experience is also what drew me to the Augustinian Volunteers program in San Diego. Campus ministry work focuses primarily on helping students grow both spiritually and mentally, while also giving back to others. Like I said earlier, I had a small understanding of everything the job entails, that is until I really got immersed in it fully at St. Augustine High School.
St. Augustine High School or “Saints” as it is often called, is an all-boy Catholic school in South Park of San Diego. Everyone at the school is incredibly kind and helping. The atmosphere that the students and faculty have created is one of trust, respect and caring for each other. I have not seen another school where everyone is so dedicated to each other and the school. It is something I am grateful and amazed to see each day.
In terms of work, right from the beginning of the year there was a schedule in place for over a dozen different retreats. These included a retreat for each grade (known as “Kairos), trips to other parts of the country and internationally. Getting the information about all of these was a little overwhelming at the start, yet was also incredibly exciting for me. I looked forward to really getting involved in every aspect of the job and the school. The first major retreat being put on by the school was the Freshman Retreat. The planning and coordination for this retreat was something that began before I even arrived at Saints and took a ton of time and effort from everyone in the Campus Ministry Office. This retreat was in a way, an introduction to the students starting their time at Saints and a glimpse of what to expect for the next four years. Part of what helps make this retreat so awesome is that upperclassmen help lead it. They have already done the retreat themselves and know what makes the experience great for those participating. This retreat is an all-encompassing two-day event for the freshman and the upperclassmen leaders. There is a plethora of activities, discussions and bonding experiences that fill these days. Both the freshman and the upperclassman talk about this retreat for the whole year. It is fantastic to see the joy and smiles on the student’s faces throughout the retreat. Helping to make all of this possible was a happy exhausting experience I am grateful to have played a role in.
While the freshman retreat was so incredible, that was only one of many retreats the school puts on. I am looking forward to the monthly visits to the Hogar Infantile Orphanage down in Tijuana, Kairos retreats and the alternative spring break to Chicago. Each of these trips will be very unique in their own way. They will all help the students grow and develop, make new friends and come together to help others. That is the part of the job I look forward to seeing the most. This is sure to be an amazing year.
San Diego, CA 2017-2018