At the end of the day, it’s all about friendships. If there is one school that embodies this idea in an amazing manner, it is St. Augustine High School, more commonly known as ‘’Saints.’’ At Saints, I have the good fortune of helping with community service trips, retreats, and ministry of presence as a Campus Ministry Assistant.
In December, Campus Ministry participated in the Rady Children’s Hospital Toy Drive for children who were battling cancer and other health problems this past holiday season. It was just a few days after posting flyers and announcements for the Toy Drive before there was not enough room under Campus Ministry’s Christmas tree for all of the toys that Saintsmen eagerly brought in. On Wednesdays, students and I venture to downtown San Diego to serve lunch to the homeless and hungry at the St. Vincent de Paul Center. Saintsmen are enthusiastic about sitting down with the homeless and hungry and getting to know them once all of the lunches have been served. A primary reason why students at St. Augustine High School are so well-prepared and eager to share their friendship with the most vulnerable is because the bonds of friendship they have formed between one another are so strong. This in turn helps them to realize the great importance of including in their bonds of friendship those who are in most need of a friend.
The friendships formed at Saints are very strong and unique. To help illustrate, during Freshman Retreat in October, freshman receive guidance and advice for their upcoming four years from a “Big Brother” junior or senior who has volunteered to mentor them. During Freshman Retreat, freshmen also receive help from their Big Brother collecting canned food donations for the homeless and hungry from the neighborhood surrounding Saints. In this way, Saintsmen are encouraged to include the most vulnerable in their bonds of friendship from the beginning of freshmen year.
One of my favorite ways of participating in the unique bonds of friendship at Saints was when I heroically offered to dye my hair purple in order to add extra incentive for students to donate money to our orphanage, Hogar Infantil La Gloria in Tijuana, Mexico. (I did end up dying my hair purple, and pictures are available upon request.) At the end of the day, what matters most at St. Augustine High School are friendships formed in this life that will flourish and endure until reaching what St. Augustine describes as ‘’the City of God,’’ where they will never end.
San Diego,CA 2018-2019