“Within the next few weeks”… With these words I ended my most recent (and really thus far the only) post reflecting on my experiences in the Alumni Discernment & Volunteer Program here at St. Ignatius. Perhaps I should have said “the next few months” instead! I won’t be foolish enough to promise any sort of regularity for posting in the future, either, but I will hold on hope that this can become some sort of a regular thing – perhaps bi-weekly, or more. We shall see.
In any case, Michael, Andrew and I have settled into a nice rhythm here at the Rutilio House. Arrupe Programs are entering their fifth week, already halfway through the fall season (I can hardly believe this as I type it). We have been driving for Sophomore Service for five weeks. We have had the joy of coordinating logistics for the Arimathea Ministry since we stepped foot in Rutilio roughly two months ago (really? two months?). After a slightly hectic and unpredictable first month, a much welcome regularity has descended upon the working lives of the Alumni Volunteers.
Regularity has been settling into our communal home lives as well. Ohio City Burrito has become our traditional Monday dinner spot. Wednesdays are often left open for dinners cooked at the home kitchen. Our gracious Jesuit neighbors continue to host us on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the evening meal. Of course, each evening also has its own set of television shows to be watched. I limit myself to one 30 minute slot per eve – How I Met Your Mother (Monday), Modern Family (Wednesday) and The Office (Thursday) being my weekly choices (nothing worthy is on Tuesday evenings). We continue our bi-weekly spiritual formation meetings with Fr. Libens, our Kitchen Table and CAT meetings with the Arrupe Staff, and our lovely “early”-morning (7:20AM) trip to room 227 for Arimathea leadership meeting.
With all the regularity, there has been room for some surprises thus far. Although I never exactly feared the prospect of working with the 3rd and 4th graders, I have found a surprisingly great amount of enjoyment working with them through Arrupe Homework Club. Their (apparent) innocence and energy has me constantly moving, thinking, and, perhaps most of all, laughing. We’ll see how long it takes for them to wear down on me! As surprising have been my sophomores that I drive Monday mornings for Sophomore Service. Their (apparent) maturity, confidence, and even occasional foray into reasonable, intelligent discussion has been a joy to experience thus far this year. OK, maybe the maturity part is a stretch… but they haven’t been that bad! 😉
Now that we are into a solid rhythm for our commitments, we AVs have also began to pursue other interests we have, getting opportunities for experience in other areas of high school life. This experience is essential to the “discernment” aspect of the ADVP. Michael has been helping out Pat O’Rourke in the Admissions office for a few weeks now, in pursuit of his desire to work in the business side of Catholic high schools. This week I will begin sitting in on Sophomore Service seminars and might even begin working with a Theology I class sometime in the future, if no scheduling conflicts arise. Hopefully this experience observing experienced Theology teachers (and maybe eventually the opportunity to try my hand at teaching myself) will help me in pursuit of my desire to become a Theology teacher myself. I am blessed to have the opportunity to do so with some of the best. As I have discovered so often already this year, the ADVP is as much a gift from the school to the volunteers as it is a gift of the volunteers’ time and life to the school. The beauty of the life of service is that it is its own reward. I have experienced this before at Boston College and am glad I can continue to experience it in an ever deeper and richer way here at St. Ignatius.
This post has been a few days in the making, and as I have finished it (and accidentally deleted it and finished it again), I have already been moved to write another post or two, so expect much more material to come from now on. With my getting in on the classroom, there should be plenty of interesting things to go around!