Service Day volunteers put St. Thomas mission, Catholic social teaching into action

One group of volunteers collected donated books for Lincoln International High School from the neighborhoods surrounding UST, while another group organized the school's existing library. The two groups met later in the day at the downtown Minneapolis high school to compile the books. The Lincoln groups are, back row: Greg Morse, Darrin Schmidt, Brady Anderson and Mike Brandell. Front row: Kathleen Geraghty, Tom Lutes, Amy Burt and Annie Magdziarz.

Service Day volunteers put St. Thomas mission, Catholic social teaching into action

By Meghan Allen Eliason

Staff from Campus Ministry and CILCE (the Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement) would like to thank and recognize everyone who participated in the campuswide Service Day on St. Thomas Day, March 7.

Inspired by Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you do to the least of these you do unto me,” the event was conceived by leaders of the various Christian clubs and organizations that came together to form a unitive Christian group. Student leaders organized the event to connect our campus community to the local community, to put the St. Thomas mission and Catholic social teachings into action, and to celebrate through service to others.

The day included a call to service by Father Erich Rutten – service at 12 sites across the Twin Cities – and a reflection session on campus at which all volunteers shared their experiences. Ninety-five volunteers performed a variety of service activities during the day, including working with children during Saturday school, painting, cleaning, preparing educational kits for teachers and students, and organizing donated materials. St. Thomas students served as site leaders at each location, and also facilitated the closing discussions.

Thanks to the contributions and hard work from students, staff, and community partners, the day was a tremendous success, with almost 400 hours of important work completed to benefit our community. One hundred percent of Service Day volunteers said they would participate again next year, and nearly every participant would recommend their community site again for future service events.

Student volunteers made the following comments about their experiences:

  • “I knew that issues in the community existed, but being out there and helping the issue really impacted my life.”
  • “It was really nice to bond with a group and to do something simple for the community.”
  • “I’ve learned that service comes in many forms.”

The University of St. Thomas would like to thank the following schools, offices and community organizations for their partnership and participation in the Service Day: Union Gospel Mission, Listening House, Lincoln International High School and a book drive to support its library, YouthLink, Family and Children’s Services, InterProfessional Center (UST), St. Richard’s Catholic Church and School, Academia Cesar Chavez, Concordia Creative Learning Academy, Twin Cities German Immersion School, and Casa Guadalupana ( a Catholic Worker House).

We would also like to thank The Aquin for the wonderful story and video, which can be found here:

We look forward to seeing everyone again and even growing our numbers for the next service event!