Garden City — Like many students, members of the Catholic Campus Ministry are wondering how they are going to pay for their upcoming winter break trip. What makes this group of students from Adelphi and Hofstra Universities different is they aren’t planning a vacation, but a mission trip to the Central American country of Belize, January 10 to 18.
The 21 students are asking for spiritual and financial support for their mission, which will include working with high school students and building houses with Habitat for Humanity. “The people of Belize are not only in physical need, but they are also in spiritual need,” explained Adelphi junior Joe Dujmovic. “This mission trip is vital because it gives us the opportunity to use our gifts and talents to not simply help those who are suffering, but to also lead them closer to Christ.”
Dujmovic is one of 17 Adelphi students on the team. The other four are from Hofstra University. He explained that each member of the team needs to raise approximately $1,100 by December 1 to cover the cost of transportation, lodging, meals and supplies for the trip. They are reaching out to the larger community, who may not be able to travel with them but can be a vital part of the team by lending financial support and praying for the group.
Dujmovic has already participated in campus ministry trips to Jamaica and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. “It is a beyond-amazing experience being able to really make a difference in someone’s life,” he said. In Jamaica, his team worked with handicapped orphans. “It touched me to be able to show them the love they deserve as children,” he said.
The trips also made him aware of how differently other people live. “There is a world out there aside from what we’re used to. These kids never have what we consider everyday things.”
As Christmas approaches and everyone “is in a rush to get things done, we don’t realize how blessed we really are,” added Dujmovic. Supporting this mission group is one way to share our blessings this Advent.
In Belize, the group will mentor students at Mount Carmel High School, a mission school. They are preparing after-school activities and will share their faith stories with the teens. “The students in Belize view America as a place where people don’t live their Catholic values,” said Dujmovic. The campus ministry team hopes to provide them with a better perspective on American Catholics. From his past experiences, Dujmovic is sure each team member will grow in faith during the trip.
“You understand your faith when you reach out to someone to make a difference,” he said.
Matthew Rudolph, a campus minister at Adelphi, called the mission trip “an amazing opportunity for students to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ and to learn about the faith. It opens their eyes to the universal Church.”
“I have a lot of respect for all the students,” who volunteered for the trip to Belize. “I’m overwhelmed with their willingness to choose to spend their vacation helping others.”
Students are reaching out to local businesses for support and hosting fundraisers, including a dance marathon at Adelphi on December 3.
Those wishing to help support these college missionaries can send checks made out to the Diocese of Rockville Centre Catholic Campus Ministry, c/o Adelphi University, University Center Room 302, One South Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530. “Campus Ministry” should be written on the memo line. For more information, Rudolph can be contacted at 516-877-3116.
Rudolph added that while their goal is to raise enough to cover the cost of the trip, they are also “hoping to have some left to help the students in Belize. Only one third of the students there have Bibles, so we’d like to be able to provide them with some.”