Cardinal Service Commitment Award
Outstanding Undergraduate Student – Amanda Ceraldi
Amanda Ceraldi, a sophomore theology major, received an undergraduate student Cardinal Service Commitment Award. The award was presented by The Catholic University of America on April 10, 2012, in celebration of the University's 125th anniversary.
Ceraldi contributed 727 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Her volunteer work included two mission trips, running social justice camps for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, visiting residents at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home, leading confirmation retreats, and interning at the United States Catholic Mission Association.
"Each of these kinds of service are things that I love to do," Ceraldi said. "I have a passion for doing all types of service. I can't get enough of the service activities I am doing and the people that I get to do them with."
Ceraldi, of Pasadena, Md., is co-president of Students on the Mount, head of the advertising committee for Students for Life, a member of Gratia Plena, a member of Phi Eta Sigma, an undergraduate fellow, and a member of Theta Alpha Kappa Theology Honor Society. A Freshman Retreat Team leader, she also serves on the Advent and Lent committees.
She set her sights on Catholic University when she was a sophomore in high school. "I was very involved in my Church's youth group and archdiocese, which led me to want to pursue a degree in theology," she said. "Catholic seemed like the best choice for theology and it has been the best decision I have ever made!"
For Ceraldi, both her choice of majors and her commitment to service grow out of her personal faith. "I think my passion for service comes from the root it has in my faith," she said. "My love for my faith and the Church has drawn me to service. For me, service is the way I live out my faith. Doing service is when I feel closest to God."
There is no hint of a sense of sacrifice in Ceraldi's approach to service. For her, it's all joy. "Doing service is never hard; it's something I love to do. When I participate in service, I always get so much more out of it than I ever imagine. For me, service is reciprocal. You give all of yourself and put your heart in the work you are doing and through communal relationships you receive all of that back and more. It is the most rewarding way for me to live my life and my faith," she said.
Ceraldi singled out a mission trip to Jamaica as one of her favorite service experiences. The trip was organized by Praying Pelican Missions based in Duluth, Minn. Her work on that trip included a construction project, child care, helping in a medical clinic, and visiting the elderly. She described it as "the most giving and receiving love I have ever been a part of."
Ceraldi's future goals also are focused on service. "After college, I hope to do a year or two of mission work in Africa," she said. "I would then like to pursue a graduate degree in Missiology and ultimately work for a mission work agency as a lay missioner. I also hope to one day have a family."