Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

A Day of Service

by Christian Mocek


Powerful. Blessed. Inspiring.

Three words that perfectly describe the 2015 Saint Meinrad Day of Service.

On March 14, around 130 alumni and friends of Saint Meinrad gathered in Louisville, Indianapolis, Evansville, Saint Meinrad, and even Wilmington, Delaware, to pray and serve together.

Two large rooms were painted, shelving units were built, 100 meals were prepared and served, water-damaged rooms were cleaned out, spring planting was completed, and our seminarians (along with fellow monks and some high school students from Louisville) cut, chopped and stacked enough firewood for about six households for the coming three weeks.

Their impact was significant. But, I believe, even more significant was their response.

When asked to serve, they came. Although the work was sometimes dirty, messy and unexpected, they served with smiles on their faces. Before they began, they prayed together and recognized the One for whom this work was ultimately for. They turned toward God and recognized Him in the faces of those less fortunate, to become enriched by their presence and transformed by the encounter.

Pope Francis once said, "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets…."

The Saint Meinrad Day of Service was a chance for us to be "out on the streets" living out the call of a missionary church; seeking and finding God in the world. We were dirty and tired, but in the end, filled with the joy that comes with serving our brothers and sisters.

Speaking for myself, I certainly was filled with joy at the end of the day. I met wonderful people who loved Saint Meinrad, worked with them in service to the people of God, and prayed with them to start and end the day.

I also learned some very important lessons.

At the end of our day of painting, I was vigorously washing my hands to remove any trace of paint before Mass, when alumnus Deacon Tom Hill, said to me, "Don't worry too much; I am sure Jesus, a carpenter, wouldn't be bothered by a little dirt on your hands." 

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.