Seven years ago, Molly Cox’s parents began the family tradition
of serving dinner to clients at Christ House in Alexandria on Christmas Day.
The experience has made one of Cox’s favorite holidays even more special, and
opened her heart to service opportunities.
“(I realized) this is something I really like and enjoy, and
should be doing more often,” she said.
Each year, the family, parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel
Church in Vienna, arrives early to set up at the transitional shelter and soup
kitchen. Cox, her mom and her sister greet guests in the waiting room and hand
out appetizers, while her father and brother work in the dining room. Bishop
Paul S. Loverde, who also serves at the holiday dinners, prays over the meal.
Oftentimes, they’ll recognize familiar faces, and the guests will
remember them, too. “They are the queens and kings for the day and we treat
them (like that) to the best of our abilities,” she said.
At Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Cox, a senior, has
had more opportunities to serve as a peer mentor in the school’s Options
program for special needs students. Through campus ministry, she visited the
diocesan mission in Bánica, where students helped build a house for a family of
six, painted a chapel and made a gazebo. “It was very humbling,” she said.
After the trip, a classmate decided to start an all-girls service
club at Paul VI, which Cox joined. Recently, they visited an assisted living
facility to speak with the residents and give them cookies.
Service, “has definitely made me closer to God,” said Cox. “When
you serve the people of God, He rewards you in infinite ways and He’s rewarded
me in the experiences that I get to have with the people I serve with and the
people I serve for. I always get something new out of it.”
In the midst of gift shopping and holiday parties, Cox is looking
forward to just one thing — serving at
Christ House. “It's the best thing,” she said. “It’s the highlight of my Christmas