By Gabrielle DeMicco
I started my freshman year in a new school with a list of clubs to choose from. I found myself in my first meeting for a club called CROSS, Christians Reaching Out Spreading Spirituality. It was clear to me during that first meeting that this club would take my faith to a new level. You see a different side of people as you grow in faith together in a group. Joining CROSS was the beginning of my new spiritual journey at Kellenberg. I look forward to spending time in mid-day prayer before lunch every day and sharing the experience with friends that come along. It is an amazing feeling to know that by bringing someone to mid-day prayer, I introduced them to spending time with God on a daily basis.
Pope Benedict XVI expressed during the Lenten season that we should care and have concern for others as well as share our faith. I shared my faith recently through CROSS with my peers. As a ninth-grader, being asked to be part of the sixth-grade retreat was a special way to be a spiritual role model and set an example of how to incorporate faith into activities during high school. I learned a lot on that trip and became closer with sixth-graders I normally pass in the halls every day. The difference is that I reached out in my faith which caused me to gain so much as I see the same sixth-graders I was with on retreat go to Mass and come up to me in the halls.
The Bristal assisted living home held the annual Junior/Senior Prom on Thursday, May 10, and I was one of the many freshmen invited to act as a date for a resident at the Bristal. From the moment we walked in, the night was full of nonstop fun and friendships! Aside from the laughter, dancing, and conversation that floated around the room there was also a great impact on both the freshmen and the elders we shared the night with. I saw the happiness we brought to them by spending the night with them. It is outstanding how much joy a person can bring by just giving another person some attention and a smile. The night brought out the maturity in the freshmen and the youth in everyone from the Bristal. Talking to the people that night was so special because they all had wonderful stories to tell us, and they were so optimistic. At the end of the night they all thanked us for coming but it was us who thanked them for impacting us in ways that we will remember forever.
Pope Benedict warns us about “spiritual anesthesia.” He worries that we are “numbed to the suffering of others.” The more we get involved the more exposed we become to the suffering of others. We can understand and empathize to avoid becoming oblivious to the help many people are asking for. Good deeds and acts of generosity can mean so much more than giving money or items to others. Sometimes it is giving our time that is more valuable. I saw this at the Junior/Senior Prom at the Bristal. Putting others’ interests before our own can make a difference for someone else.
Kellenberg does a fantastic job teaching the students to open our eyes to others and reaching out to share lessons we are blessed to learn as a school. Being involved in CROSS brings our school into a bigger community of people and fulfills Pope Benedict’s words to “renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments.” We bring ourselves closer to God and share the journey with as many people as possible. Faith never stops growing! I can take my faith as far as I want it to go throughout my high school, college and adult years. Being surrounded by so many influential people is inspiration to understand more about your faith and become more influential to others. I am grateful to attend a school that stresses the importance of faith and teaches me that everything will work out through God. As a school and community in “One Heart, One Mind” we go through triumphs and hard times but through our faith and sharing our love we will grow stronger together.
Kellenberg students enjoy the recent Junior/Senior Prom with residents of the Bristal assisted living facility at East Meadow.
Gabrielle DeMicco is a freshman at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale.