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Seton School students serve the homeless

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Recently, a mission trip to serve the homeless was arranged at Seton High School in Manassas. The idea to have this trip came from two students who asked to have an opportunity to serve others. Junior Simon Kanazeh informed the 10th-grade religion teacher, Maureen Duran, of upcoming mission trips to Washington to feed the homeless. The trip was planned and put into effect, and all religion class students were encouraged to bring in hygienic products and snack bags to hand out to the homeless at Union Station in Washington. At the end of the food collection, there were nearly 800 snack bags and care packages donated by students.
The trip began at 3 p.m. as students gathered in the St. John Paul II Center, preparing to depart. Each student was given 15 care packages to put in their empty backpacks before they left. The students were separated into cars and then took the metro to Union Station. Upon arrival, the students were separated into four groups of 10 to avoid overwhelming the homeless people they encountered with a large crowd. The students, eager to hand out their care packages and speak with the homeless, dispersed to pass them out. They did not simply pass out bags and say goodbye to those living on the streets. They talked to the homeless and listened to the stories of joys and sufferings that some shared. The students let the homeless know that they cared about them spiritually and physically, not only by handing out care packages, but also by praying with them. Kanazeh said the trip “brought me to the realization that I must become more aware of others’ needs. I was so surprised to see how a simple idea and conversation with Mrs. Duran could blossom into a beautiful mission that touched not only my fellow classmates, but also impacted the lives of those we encountered downtown.”
Duran said, “I can say with confidence, Seton students received far more from this adventure than they imagined. God’s generosity would not be out done.”
Kanazeh’s group visited a homeless shelter, where he asked if they could talk to the homeless people waiting in line. The students began interacting with the people in line and the atmosphere changed to that of joy. Shortly before the students left, Simon called everyone into a huddle to pray with a few of the men at the shelter. It was an emotional moment not only for the students, but also for the men joining in prayer. “This was a powerful moment for [me], and for everyone,” Kanazeh said. As the homeless men stated their prayer intentions, many of them teared up. The men put their arms around the students shoulders almost as a sign of brotherhood. After this, the men thanked the students for praying with them. According to Kanazeh, the trip was “a time to encounter Christ in the homeless and to love our neighbor as ourselves with a tender, authentic and real love.”
After the trip concluded, the students arrived back at Seton to end their evening with dinner and prayer in the chapel. This trip allowed the students to truly see Christ in others. Instead of focusing on their own needs, they focused on the needs of others. Many students were enlivened with a new sense of understanding and sensitivity for the needs of others and were enthusiastic about arranging another mission trip to serve the homeless.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019