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Campus Ministry News

Giants Pitcher partners with Campus Ministry

The Serra Morton Family Gymnasium was filled with more than 600 Padres and 50 moms on March 23. The exuberant crowd raised $7,350 and packed 28,000 meals for people in need in San Mateo County and Nicaragua. The effort was a partnership between Serra High School and Generation Alive, a nonprofit organization that was launched by San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt in 2005.

“This is a good project because it reminds us how blessed we are and it keeps us honest,” said senior Aaron Deocampo. “It’s a great cleanse of our soul.”

According to Program Director Darrin Duty, Generation Alive works with about 30 schools per year to serve one million meals. CEO Marty Gonzales said the goal is to teach students to live lives of compassion.

“Our students are learning how these packets of food are going to be used,” noted Ann Ponty, the mother of senior Kevin Ponty. “Through a project like this, they are able to see Jesus in other people.”

“Jeremy challenged our students to be culture changes,” said Campus Ministry Director Billy Byrnes. “Our partnership with Generation Alive was a huge success. It was integral to our annual Lenten Justice Project. We were assisted by Serra moms, alumni and even sophomore Michael Zell’s 91-year-old grandma! I am so proud of our students and the entire school community for their efforts and support in making this a success.”

Byrnes also gave a shout-out to Serra teachers and staff members, Serra moms Melissa Petersen and Michele Blais for coordinating the event and helping with the raffle, and Head Baseball Coach Craig Gianinno for encouraging freshman, JV and varsity players to raise $3,280 for the fundraiser.

Melissa Petersen’s three sons have participated in Generation Alive activities. She noted that Lundberg Family Farms donated a 2,500-pound bag of organic rice. In addition, Jersey Mike’s donated sandwiches for the Pack Out.

In February, Affeldt spoke to Serra Padres during a special assembly to raise awareness about hunger in San Mateo County and in Nicaragua. During the assembly, Padres were urged to be compassionate and to take action.

Affeldt talked about his baseball career path and stressed the importance of having a purpose and a "why." He pointed out that all the money in the world cannot buy happiness. He spoke of his own faith and love of Jesus, which has driven his desire to raise awareness and promote social justice causes.

"It was a humbling experience to listen to Jeremy," said Serra varsity baseball pitcher Kevin Welch. "He is someone to look up to because he is using his role as a public figure to express his faith and make a difference. Our team is engaged in Chapel right now and we practice our faith together throughout the season."

"Jeremy knows that you can be a wealthy athlete or a famous person, but unless you have a purpose in life, unless you are working and living for others - especially the vulnerable - then you will be unhappy," Byrnes explained. "We are so grateful to Jeremy for giving his time and sharing his faith with our students. He is a true inspiration and he challenged us to take action during Lent. The Campus Ministry staff is excited that the Serra community raised enough money to make 28,000 food bags that will help so many people in need."

Click here for video!

San Francisco Giants pitcher partners with Campus Ministry

Serra Padres were thrilled on Monday when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt spoke to students during a special assembly about his charity, Generation Alive.

During Lent, Serra's Campus Ministry Department will partner with Generation Alive to raise awareness about hunger in San Mateo County and in Nicaragua. During the assembly, Padres were urged to be compassionate and to take action.

"We are committed to working with Generation Alive to make 25,000 meals," noted Campus Ministry Director Billy Byrnes. "This effort will require a lot of human power, and we know that the Padre community will respond generously." 

Affeldt talked about his baseball career path and stressed the importance of having a purpose and a "why." He pointed out that all the money in the world cannot buy happiness. He spoke of his own faith and love of Jesus, which has driven his desire to raise awareness and promote social justice causes.

"It was a humbling experience to listen to Jeremy speak," said Serrra varsity baseball pitcher Kevin Welch. "He is someone to look up to because he is using his role as a public figure to express his faith and make a difference. Our team will be engaged in Chapel and practicing our faith as we start our season."

"Jeremy knows that you can be a wealthy athlete or a famous person, but unless you have a purpose in life, unless you are working and living for others - especially the vulnerable - then you will be unhappy," Byrnes explained. "We are so grateful to Jeremy for giving his time and sharing his faith with our students. He is a true inspiration and he has challenged us to take action during Lent. Campus Ministry is excited for the next six weeks, as we raise money to make the food bags that will help so many people in need."

 

Tri-School Students Make a Difference

On a sunny September Saturday, 26 Serra Padres, 80 NDB students and 20 Mercy girls walked 4.5 miles to support Catholic Worker Hospitality House. Cars honked in support, as Tri-School students waved signs for Catholic Worker.

"It was really fun to interact with people on the streets and meet new friends,” said Serra freshman Miguel Amaral. “Getting feedback from people honking at us as we held our signs felt amazing. I consider doing any service for the community a good thing. Whenever I have free time, I enjoy doing any type of service to help those in need."

The day began at 9 a.m. on September 14, when Tri-School students painted signs for the walk. NDB student Bianca Remedios led a reflection and a series of ice breakers. Peter Stiehler, who runs the Catholic Worker Hospitality House in San Bruno, thanked the students for making a difference and outlined how their participation helps those in need.

"This year's Walk for Catholic Worker was a great success,” said Christian Service and Justice Programs Coordinator Jackie Schroeder. “I am so proud of our Tri-School students for raising as much money as they did, and for getting excited about such a needed cause."

The Walk for Catholic Worker raised awareness and money for the Catholic Worker houses in San Bruno and Half Moon Bay. Serra raised $755, NDB raised more than $3,200 and Mercy raised $755. The students also held a sock drive. More than 150 pairs of socks were collected for the guests of the Catholic Worker House.

According to NDB sophomore Maddie Schilling, “The Walk for Catholic Worker was a fun, healthy and empowering experience that made me feel that, even as just a high school student, I could make a real life difference.”

 

Click here for pics from the Walk for Catholic Workers!

Padres honor their madres

Serra freshmen and their moms spent Thursday morning at Mass, followed by breakfast in the cafeteria. It was a wonderful event for all, and many Madres said they were honored to be part of such a special event.

"I loved it," said Robin Casey, the mother of freshman Aidan Casey. I enjoyed listening to the student speaker's touching story and spending time with my son."

"My mom does a lot for me and she always helps to supervise my homework," Aidan said.

"My mom is always there for me," added freshman Denzel McCollum.

Freshman Evan Taylor gave a thought-provoking reflection. "Mothers, just like Hannah, you truly put your faith in Serra, hoping this would be the right school and fit for us," he noted. "It is only our fifth week, and I am already loving it here. Mothers, just as the prophet Eli taught Samuel how to become a great man, Serra will teach us how to become great men. At this school, we will become men of faith, wisdom and service. God will be with us and guide us no matter what. Just as a mother is with her child, God is with us."

Serra Chaplain Fr. Tony Vallecillo spoke about the roles of Biblical mothers - Hannah and the Virgin Mary - who are excellent examples of mothers who were dedicated to their sons and who wanted the best for them. "It was my own mother's fervent prayers when I strayed from the church that helped me to return and eventually find my vocation as a priest," Fr. Tony noted. "The mothers at Serra have that same dedication and should never cease praying for their sons. The Mother-Son Mass is so special for mothers and sons because it provides a wonderful opportunity to share their faith together."

Liturgy Coordinator Patrick Vallez-Kelly looks forward to the Freshman Mother-Son Mass each year. "This Mass is always special because the freshmen and their moms have such great enthusiasm for Serra," he explained. "The scriptures, Fr. Vallecillo and Evan Taylor, our student speaker, shared the theme of mothers entrusting their sons to God's care. I was happy for Evan - he put a lot of work into his reflection. I was also proud of the Praise Band - Joe San Filippo (organ) and Nicholas Madera (violin). Freshman Aidan Casey helped us to prepare for the Mass. The Class of 2018 has impressed me with its spirit, leadership and willingness to serve and get involved."

 

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