Each year at St. Michael Church, the 7th and 8th grade students preparing for their Catholic Confirmation are asked to acts of service. They do these said acts either as a short-term project or a long-term project with their Shepherd Leader or Leaders. Sometimes there are certain groups of young people that thrive on doing great acts. This has been the case for one particular Shepherd group over the past two years.
It is typical for one person or group of people to sign up to be a Shepherd Leader for the same group of children; leading them through their 7th grade year and through their 8th grade year until they are confirmed. The growth and maturity can be overwhelming for the leaders!
That is the exact feeling with this group of 12 students. The group began as a group of 13, but one child was accepted into St. Michael School, so no longer had to attend Religious Education. To show you his level of commitment, however, there are times that he still attends just to do great acts of service.
The rest of the group begs to do a service act each and every week. To date this year alone they have packaged lunches for PADS, treat bags (both for Halloween and Christmas) for a separate preschool, decorated 75 chocolate-dipped pretzels for the DuPage Convalescent Center (which were attached to Christmas cards and distributed to the Center), raked yards for those needing extra assistance and to top it off, this past summer their Shepherd Leader asked the group to act out the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew. In the parable, a wealthy man entrusts his three servants with talents (valuable gold coins) and asks them to care for the coins in his absence. The first two servants used the talents and, in fact, increased their value by a percentage (one more than the other) and returned them as to the man. The third servant, however, was too afraid to lose the talent and buried it for safekeeping. He returned just the talent he originally had to the man. The master was happy with his first two servants and promised them a place at his table. The master was angry at the third servant and sent him away weeping; in deep regret.
It is always amazing for this particular Shepherd Leader to act as the Master (although she is far from rich) and see just how they do. Instead of getting a seat at her table, their reward is that the person that raises the most money (beginning with the $5 donation) will be able to get all of the money and give it to the charity of their choice. This year one boy raised $50 and will be giving nearly $150 to Save-A-Vet so that they can continue the great work that they do, too.
In the world today, we hear of more death, disaster and destruction than we do the good works that are done – especially by our young people. It is great to hear about and be a part of a whole other world. Congratulations kids for all of the great works that you are doing! The world is proud to have you in it!