Six college students spent part of their Christmas holiday break helping others through the sixth winter service program sponsored by the Mother Maria Kaupas Center in Mount Carmel.
From mid-December through the first week in January, students devoted six non-consecutive days to service projects at the center, in their host parishes and at community sites.
Participating in the program were Michael Balichik, Eliza Nevis and Bradley Shurock from Divine Redeemer Parish in Mount Carmel, and Marta Callahan, Elijah Watkins and Lilian Yuschock from Our Lady of Hope Parish in Coal Township.
Nevis and Shurock are students at Bloomsburg University; Watkins, Bucknell University; Yuschock, Temple University; Balichik, Wilkes University; and Callahan, Lock Haven University.
The students’ service this year included projects at the Kaupas Center and their home parishes, making and delivering homemade soup to senior citizens and homebound residents, and helping at the Mount Carmel Area Public Library, Mount Carmel Area Food Pantry and Knights of Columbus in Mount Carmel.
Participants in the winter service program are volunteers, but in appreciation for their six days of service, the Kaupas Center awarded each with a $200 stipend to provide some small assistance in pursuing their college education.
The program seeks applications annually from college students who are members of Divine Redeemer and Our Lady of Hope Parishes, Holy Angels Parish in Kulpmont, and Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Church in Mount Carmel.
The Kaupas Center, part of whose mission is to encourage young adults to live lives of leadership and service in their Church and community, challenged the students to look at the world around them and resolve to work to make things better.
Venerable Maria Kaupas, for whom the Center is named, founded the Sisters of St. Casimir. Her first assignment was founding a parish school at Holy Cross Church in Mount Carmel for the children of Lithuanian immigrants. Maria Kaupas, who died at the congregation’s motherhouse in Chicago in 1940, is being promoted as a candidate for beatification and eventual canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church. She has been featured on EWTN, the Catholic television network, as part of the “They Might Be Saints” series. This documentary on her life can be viewed on the website of the Sisters of Saint Casimir.
For more information about the Kaupas Center, visit www.mothermariakaupascenter.wordpress.com.
(Jake Betz is the Director of the Mother Maria Kaupas Center.)
(Photo courtesy of Jake Betz.)
By Jake Betz, Special to The Witness