Returning the Favor: Students volunteer at their churches to pass faith on


Natalie Martinez

Eyes focused, freshman Cody Israel reviews the Powerpoint before Mass on Feb. 18. Israel has been volunteering at St. Joseph Catholic Church for this past year. “It just makes me feel better, just knowing that I’m helping people,” Israel said.

Natalie Martinez, Photography Editor

The sound of laughter fills the room as junior Margaret Swearingen passes books to students scattered across the room. Every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Swearingen is found assisting third and fourth graders during their School of Religion (SOR) classes. Swearingen is one of many students who help out at a home parish.
Swearingen belongs to the St. Pius X Parish where she helps guide students on their faith journey, including overlooking prayers and religious activities for a classroom of 10. Swearingen started volunteering two years ago after the head of the SOR asked if she could assist the students.
“I like just being around the kids and helping them deepen their faith and showing them how faith works,” Swearingen said. “I think I’ve gotten them closer to God and shown them the way.”
Like Swearingen, freshman Cody Israel volunteers at his church, St. Joseph. Israel manages the slideshow at Mass every Saturday afternoon and records the Mass for the elderly.
“I mainly did it for service hours, but it made me realize how hard it can be for some people to see Mass,” Israel said.
According to Israel, the slideshow is on the computer and
it’s connected to the projectors. Israel moves the slides after each prayer, reading and song.
“I feel that I brought Mass to them when they weren’t able to see it on their own,” Israel said.
Kellerman volunteers for the St. Agnes church and community where he organizes the janitorial closet and tends to the grounds. Although he does receive service hours, Kellerman said he forgets to log them, but he enjoys helping the church.
“The church isn’t really in need, but they help people in need, so if I can take a little weight off of their shoulders, that’s a win for me,” Kellerman said.
Being a part of the St. Agnes Parish has influenced Kellerman in his volunteer work.
“It’s close to my house and I know a lot of people there, so it’s pretty friendly,” Kellerman said. “Serving at Agnes made me understand that we work better as a community, so whenever I can serve it’s a good time.”
After volunteering, Kellerman said he feels better knowing that he did a good deed.
“I really enjoy serving and think everyone that is able to serve should because there is no greater gift than time,” Kellerman said. “Time is the only thing that you can’t get back.”