8-March-2013 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Catholic University Students Use Spring Break To Serve

(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=26740)

WASHINGTON D.C., March 8 (CNA) .- Almost 100 students and staff at the Catholic University of America are giving up their spring break to take part in mission trips abroad and service projects within the U.S.

Brother Jim Moore, O.F.M. Conv., said there was a "tremendous response" among students to the proposal to make a mission trip.

"It's great for me ... to see their faith, to see their excitement about living out the Gospel in what they do," he said in a Feb. 27 statement.

Br. Moore, who is coordinating the trips, is the university's associate campus minister for justice and missions. The mission trips and domestic service projects are taking place over the university's spring break from March 4 to March 10.

Billy Conlon, a senior who is a student leader for a 20-student mission trip to Jamaica, said mission trips are "sacrifices" of time, money and freedom.

"But they also present the perfect opportunity to not only explore the world but also to learn about a new part of yourself by leaving your comfort zone and facing your fears," he said. "My goal is for the students...to not be afraid to take that leap of faith."

Another group of 11 is headed to Ecuador.

Both mission trips are sponsored by the university's campus ministry. Trip participants will take part in several service projects and immerse themselves in the local community.

The mission trip participants have already taken part in a Martin Luther King Day of Service, an overnight retreat and fundraising efforts.

Other students are helping those who are in need closer to home.

The Catholic University of America's Habitat for Humanity chapter is sponsoring domestic service programs for three groups, each made up of 19 students and one staff member. The groups will work in Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Kathleen Lavoie, a university senior, said students tend to find the trips "very rewarding" and "eye-opening."

"Most students are impacted when they meet the homeowner, hearing the homeowner's story and learning how much hope we give them from helping build their house," she said.

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