When Saint Meinrad students depart in May for their summer
break, the campus drifts into its warm-weather schedule. But the
routine is anything but laid-back, as hundreds of high school
students start arriving on the Hill to be part of the "One Bread,
One Cup" (OBOC) program.
Meghan Hernandez, 21, of Las Vegas, Nev., has been taking part
in the program for five years. She attended twice as a high school
student and, for the last three years, has been one of the college
interns in the program.
College interns spend six weeks of the summer at Saint Meinrad.
During the three conference weeks, they become part of the
conference staff. The rest of their time is spent in formation
classes, on service projects and in community building.
"It's been nice to learn the Benedictine hospitality and
spirituality and be able to pass that on throughout the
internship," she says.
During the summer of 2013, 274 high school students attended one
of three five-day conferences, along with 102 adults, mostly youth
and campus ministers. Twenty college students were OBOC
"Throughout these past five years, I've noticed extreme growth
within the program," notes Meghan. "We've grown in diversity, we've
grown in numbers, and we've grown in the different amounts of
people that come to this place."
The program began modestly in 1995 as a way to bring potential
college students to campus when Saint Meinrad College was
operating. With a grant from the Lilly Endowment, OBOC developed
into a focused effort to teach teens about their Catholic faith and
its liturgy and to develop their leadership skills.
One of the things the kids take home is a set of skills that can
be used in their home parishes or at their schools. Students pick
from sessions that teach them to be sacristans, lectors,
Eucharistic ministers and other roles. Within a day, they're trying
their new skills at OBOC's daily Mass and prayer services.
Meghan explains, "This place has definitely affected our parish
back at home. We now have two interns from Las Vegas and a lot of
our youth have been here, and so we're starting to build upon a
youth Mass and have a youth band at Mass."
"We're seeing the impacts that take place in the liturgy, along
with the leadership of the youth ministry in our church…. It's
really wonderful that they can come together after being here on
the Hill and put their experience to work back in the parish."
The program has grown in recent years, with some parishes
returning year after year with new groups of high school students.
"I feel like the youth who come here continue to be diverse and
continue to be at different levels of faith, which helps the
program grow and helps the program continue to be what it is
today," comments Meghan.
In Meghan's experience, "One Bread, One Cup" is a way to hand
down the Catholic tradition to the next generation. "I feel like
young people aren't aware of everything that is so magnificent
about our Church. For them to have this experience and to have
their eyes opened would only help the young people in the church
grow in their faith."