Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
July 9, 2001
Young adults take time to serve
Redemptorists sponsor 6-week volunteer program
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
EDMONTON — It's not often that an opportunity such as SERVE comes along. Even more incredible is the effect that SERVE has had and continues to have on the participants.
Young adults are rarely credited with taking their faith life seriously. One look at SERVE and that stereotype is shattered.
SERVE can be described as an intensive six weeks of getting to know Jesus and faith. SERVE, an acronym which stands for Summer Endeavour in a Redemptorist Volunteer Experience, is run by the Redemptorists (a Catholic religious order of men) in Edmonton and Toronto.
Participants are from across Canada. There are 12 participants in Edmonton and 10 in Toronto. For six weeks young adult men and women live in community (along with the Redemp-torists), deepen their faith and do volunteer work with those in greater need.
Father Remi Hebert is coordinator of SERVE in Edmonton. According to him, SERVE gives "young adults an opportunity to explore their faith in a supportive setting."
Father Remi, ordained in 1992, enjoys working with young adults. For him the biggest challenge facing young adults in the Catholic Church is making their Church accessible to them. "One of the greatest challenges is to show young adults their faith has something important to say to them."
SERVE gives young adults the opportunity to understand their faith by reaching out to those in greater need.
Each day SERVE volunteers go to their apostolate (service done because of dedication to faith). SERVE volunteers are in contact with a variety of people ranging from those in the inner city, children, the elderly and those with special needs.
SERVE is a unique experience because it is more than a chance to volunteer, it is a time to integrate faith with action. For many young adults this is why SERVE is so appealing.
Angela Langer from Beaverlodge, a participant from SERVE in Edmonton concurs. Angela says, "SERVE is a dive into what the Beatitudes really mean. In being cared for and caring for the most persecuted of our country, I realized that there is no connection between being financially poor and spiritually poor.
"In fact, through the sufferings of many I came in contact with, they showed me what it really means to be strong."
Claire Rolheiser from North Battleford, Sask., is one of the SERVE team leaders. She was a SERVE candidate last summer. Like Langer, her experience was a positive one.
"SERVE definitely put me in touch with the idea of God as a living God. My relationship with God became more personal. I turned to God in prayer in many more areas in my life."
Rolheiser says the community aspect of SERVE plays an essential part in the whole experience. "Living as a Christian is impossible without support. . . . I'm healthier when I'm in a supportive community."
Rolheiser also says many young adults wander away from the Church because they are not part of a supportive community. "If you don't have a community supporting you, you're one little person against the world."
Perhaps the best description of SERVE comes from Luke Campbell, from Kamloops, B.C.
Luke is a team leader this year in Edmonton and was a participant a couple of years ago. Luke says, "The one thing big about SERVE is that it is an experience that will not be forgotten." SERVE is a life giving and memorable experience.
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