The CFJ or Center for Faith and Justice is a hub for putting our faith into action. Ultimately, we live the Gospels in our classrooms, on the stage, out on the field, and in our communities. The CFJ just provides a space for students to work with faculty to pray, plan school liturgies, develop retreats, and map out meaningful service projects across the globe. Of all the transformative ministry the community can collaborate on, nothing is more important than the everyday blessings of brothers helping brothers while having a snack on one of our couches or young people talking openly about God, religion, and their lives.
In the classroom, Salesianum students are given the gifts of Salesian Optimism and Gentle Strength. Those gifts are honed to serve our Gospel call to help the marginalized and the suffering through our service learning requirement, which emphasizes direct contact with those in need or marginalized due to poverty, discrimination, old age, poor health, or physical and mental disabilities.
All freshman complete their Christian Service requirement at Nativity Preparatory School or another pre-approved, school-sponsored urban elementary or middle school in Wilmington. The goal is for each student to engage in a common experience as part of a Salesianum-supervised group, including debriefing sessions to maximize educational impact.
The sophomore service program aims to stretch students’ comfort zones in interacting with others. Therefore, it will require students to engage in direct personal service with the residents of the Mary Campbell Center, an assisted living home for people with severe mental and physical disabilities. Students will be required to make a minimum of nine hours of service. We have extended the available service opportunities within this requirement to a wide array of nonprofits dealing with the dignity of the human person from birth to natural death.
Direct service to communities in need must occur at an interpersonal level. Christian service cannot remain an abstraction or allow people to remain disconnected from real people and communities in need. It therefore requires face-to-face personal encounter and interaction. This is rooted in Jesus’ call in the Gospel, where to meet and serve another person in love is to encounter that person in a real way and also to encounter God. This encounter builds a sense of solidarity and community. Juniors take this spirit with them in their immersion requirement---where they live and work with people all over the globe. Seniors, in turn, build upon their first three years, culminating with a comprehensive senior servant leadership project. As Salesianum is a school rooted in the local community of Wilmington, it is important that connections be made between students and the people who are our neighbors in Wilmington.