BWHS Juniors take the Urban Plunge
As part of the curriculum for Bishop Watterson’s junior theology classes, students participate in a full-day retreat centered on service to others in the community.
More than 150 juniors have already taken the plunge this year, with almost as many still to go. Groups, led by a faculty chaperone, will fan out to St. John Community Kitchen, Holy Family Soup Kitchen, St. Stephen’s Community Center, Shepherd’s Corner, JOIN and the St. Vincent Clothing Store, Life Care Alliance (Meals on Wheels) and the Mohun Health Care Center for retired religious.
The day begins with a short prayer service led by Deacon Chris Campbell of Bishop Watterson and Jerry Freewalt of the Diocese of Columbus Office of Social Concerns.
At a recent Urban Plunge, Freewalt prepped the students by reminding them, “You are to be a symbol of hope, transforming our society to a society of hope and love. Let it be love that is pouring out to those you help, and also Christian justice.”
Freewalt pointed out that Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph, known as the holy family, experienced many of the concerns the students would encounter during the Urban Plunge. “Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy,” said Freewalt.
“The holy family had unexpected situations to deal with. How do we relate to unexpected situations in our lives and how do we relate to others dealing with unexpected situations?”
The day was an eye-opener for many students, who gathered at the end of the day to discuss what they experienced and learned.BWHS student Vince Gillotti helped at the St. Vincent DePaul Clothing Store and told a story from his experience.
“One guy came in looking for work boots because he had just gotten a job in construction. Boots make a difference because without them he couldn’t take the job,” Gillotti said, concluding, “We really take the clothes we have for granted. People who visit St. Vincent DePaul for clothing have a limit on the number of times they can come in, so they have to choose well.”
Taylor Frohnapfel, a student who also assisted at St. Vincent DePaul, added, “If they said they have a job you could just see the pride in their eyes. One woman came in who was in her late 20s with six kids. She had a fire at her home, lost her job, she had no car and turned to drugs and was trying to get her life back on track.”
Juniors Emily Geyer and Peter Lyons were part of a group that helped at St. Stephens Community Center.
“We did small tasks so that the people who worked there could do more important things,” said Geyer.
“No matter how small the task may seem,” Lyons added, “It’s still a big help to the person you’re helping.”
Frances Carrer, Director of the Holy Family Soup Kitchen, left an impression on the BWHS group that assisted, when she kicked off lunch by sitting an empty liquor bottle on the counter and reminding clients that they are not to leave their trash outside the building, telling them, “I didn’t drag you in here but I can drag you out.”
“The people that ran the kitchen, they give so much time,” said Kendall Irion. “A big part of the day was giving people someone to talk to,” said Kayla Cook, who helped at St. John Community Kitchen.
Alex Statczar, Meg Heller and Colleen Kaminski were impressed with the attitude of the religious sisters she met while helping at the Mohun Health Care Center.
“They just radiated Christ’s love,” said Heller.
“One of the sisters told me, ‘Life is good if you let it be good.’” Added Statczar. “They remind you that it’s your choice.”
Kaminski added, “You can be happy anywhere as long as you’re happy in your heart, and the sisters at Mohun definitely were.”
Two more Urban Plunge days are planned for the remaining Bishop Watterson juniors on April 17 and 24.