When it comes to spring break, most college students think of partying. However, students from St. Albert the Great Newman Center, a Roman Catholic church on Solano Drive across the street from New Mexico State, will be going on a weeklong trip to Denver, Colorado, to participate in an event put on by Christ in the City Missionaries. The event, called “Christ in the City,” gives students the opportunity to not only connect with the homeless, but grow in their spiritual faith as well.
Six students from St. Albert the Great Newman Center will be attending this event, which is four more than the number of students who attended last year. Other campus ministry groups from Nebraska will also be attending. The trip is intended for students to give back to another community while stepping outside of their comfort zones.
During the trip, students will be out in the streets of Denver connecting with and befriending homeless people, conversing with them, and simply taking time to be with them. The students will also be participating in other activities such as Lunch in the Park, a weekly event hosted by Christ in the City in which volunteers provide food for the homeless in a downtown Denver park.
“I hope people will be able to see the bigger picture of those who are in need, not just physically but spiritually. I also hope that the students will gain a new perspective and that Christ will be able to move in the midst of it all where change in their own lives can happen,” said Justine Del Castillo, a student leader at St. Albert the Great Newman Center.
Jade Begay, a student attending the trip, hopes the experience will have a long-lasting effect in her life. “Even though the mission trip is a week long, I hope when I return home, I continue to help others who are in need of a helping hand,” Begay said.
Not only is this event about giving back to the community, it also gives students the chance to grow in their spiritual faith. The students will start and end each day with prayer, living in a community with the resident missionaries. Their housing will be located in an abandoned middle school that has been transformed into a livable space. They will also be doing other community activities and having small group discussions, giving them the opportunity to see how God is working in and through their lives throughout the week.
It may not be easy, as students will be challenged spiritually by who they encounter throughout the week. While they will be out in the streets spending time with their new homeless friends, they may have to persevere through rejection from those who may not be willing to speak and spend time with them. This may give students the opportunity to grow in their spirituality even more.
The individual growth this event may bring is one of the reasons Anissa Wright, also a student leader at St. Albert the Great Newman Center, is going. “I think giving up personal time for God and service is the main reason I chose to go again. There is satisfaction in the sacrifice and seeing how much I have grown from taking these trips and stepping into other people’s lives is an incredible feeling and I don’t want to stop that growth,” Wright said.
For students looking to gain something during spring break, Christ in the City is an opportunity to not only give back to the community, but also to continue to grow in religious faith.