This past month, I attended the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, DC organized by the USCCB. I attended as part of the Young Leader’s Initiative program along with about 100 other students from various colleges and universities. I was deeply challenged by many of the speakers, who helped me to identify and accept my own indifference towards the challenges of racism, climate change, and unjust immigration policies. Unfortunately, I have often shied away from fully owning up to this indifference because it always made me feel too guilty. However, I felt God encouraging me to accept this guilt in a healthy manner. As part of a global catholic community, I share in the joys as well as the sufferings of others, whether or not I am directly responsible for their occurrence. I walked away from this conference knowing that I don’t have to dwell on my indifference, but continue to take small steps forward each day towards a solution. My next right step is going to be to continue learning about issues that face not only our global, but local Worcester and Holy Cross community.
This CBL office has been a place at Holy Cross where I have been able to encounter others and their life stories that challenge me and encourage me to reflect on my own ways of living. This past year, I have witnessed the urgency of other CBL Interns in advocating for Dreamers and those directly affected by immigration policies. I have been drawn towards advocating for issues like food justice, and to continue to support Catholic Charities Worcester County. While it is easy to assume or at least ignore the fact that food security, nutrition, and cultural sensitivity in relation to food is not a concern for students, staff, and Worcester community members, it is a challenge that many people face daily. On days when I can get lost in my own academic bubble, I am inspired by my peers who take the time to simply notice and act on the needs of others. This was especially evident in my Leadership and Social Change course last semester, which resulted in many incredible projects like a college-accessible food pantry, a book drive for children in Worcester, and a program that paired college students with high schoolers needing to complete credits. The CSMG conference reminded me that I have a community in the CBL office, where I can continue to take this next right step in learning about the life experiences of others.