The Catholic University of America

December 2, 2011

Northern Ireland Student Learns about Catholic Faith in Service

   Roberta Hoey volunteers on the 911 Day of Service.

Name: Roberta Hoey

Hometown: Hillsborough, Northern Ireland

Major: Law at Queen’s University in Belfast. In a British Council-sponsored year-abroad program, Hoey is at Catholic University studying business management.

Service: Mulching, gardening, and weeding on the 9/11 Day of Service; and building houses for persons in need and raising funds for construction through Habitat for Humanity.

Where: Washington, D.C., and Rocky Mount, N.C.

Why: It’s what we’re all called to do. I think it reflects our Christianity that we go out and serve.

At home, I’ve done different service events with Habitat for Humanity and through my own church, mostly youth work and community outreach. I would work at night serving tea on the streets for the homeless.

But this year, it’s really a chance to experience America on a different level, and it’s a chance to get involved in the wider community.

In Northern Ireland, we come from a split community. There’s the political divide between Catholics and Protestants. I think it’s really great to get involved in service here because it lets me experience the Catholic faith, as well. I’ve never been exposed to the Catholic Church in such a way. So this is completely new to me.

What’s most striking is that everybody at Catholic University is so enthusiastic about serving. It’s not just one or two people; it’s college-wide. People are very willing to take part.

This year, charitable works may be logged in Catholic University’s Cardinal Service Commitment, a service campaign marking Catholic University’s 125th anniversary. In thanksgiving for more than a century of God’s blessings at Catholic University, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are striving to perform 125,000 hours of service by next Founders Day, April 10, 2012. For more information and to log hours, visit