On Monday, Jan. 16, 866 members of The Catholic University of America community participated in a day of service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event — the largest service day in University history — marked the 11th year that volunteers have served at various locations across Washington, D.C., including Rock Creek Park, Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence, and the Franciscan Monastery.
Prior to heading out into the city, the volunteers, including about 840 students, gathered at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, where President John Garvey and Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., University chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, addressed the participants. This year’s theme centered around a quote from King: “Make a career of humanity.”
Father Jude noted that “the students are inspired to serve due to the work [that takes place] in the classrooms. The students get it, they get the connection in humanity and the need and desire to serve.”
“It's wonderful to see so many of you here ... so thank you again,” said President Garvey.
Rev. Donald E. Robinson, founder and president of Beacon House, shared his experience of participating in the Civil Rights Movement and the personal impact that King had on his own life, which has been dedicated to service for the past 30 years. Beacon House is a nonprofit organization that provides social services to at-risk, low-income children in and around the Edgewood Commons community of northeast D.C.
President Garvey and his wife, Jeanne, both dedicated their morning to service at the Jeanne Jugan Residence. Garvey noted that on the University’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service more than 10 years ago, fewer than 100 students showed up at Caldwell Hall to participate. Now, while many students individually participate, student organizations often join as a group. President Garvey noted that athletic teams at the University are “our backbone of the day of service.”
“Service is such a big part of who we are as Christians and Catholics,” added Jeanne Garvey.
Kianna Chevalier, a junior theology major and a Habitat for Humanity team member from Barnstable Mass., spent the day at the Jeanne Jugan Residence. “By having a day of service at Catholic University … students are given the opportunity to give back to their community and honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, which is truly inspiring,” she said.