"Lord, teach me to be generous,
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will."
- St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus
Modelled after the life of Christ who “did not come to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28) and inspired by the words of St. Ignatius, Christian service is an intrinsic part of the education and formation of students at McQuaid Jesuit. McQuaid Jesuit believes that experiences of service are as valuable as time spent in the classroom. Middle school and high school students have yearly service hour requirements. High school student requirements include specific themes related to pillars of Catholic Social Teaching. Students must fulfill these requirements to receive a diploma.
What is 'Christian Service?'
McQuaid Jesuit seeks to education the whole person - mind, body, and soul - and inspire young men to realize their God-given gifts through the pursuit of excellence in all things, service to others, and a life-long commitment to justice. As such, we strive for excellence in service to the community at large. Christian service involves work done for the good of others without monetary compensation. Christian service is also done when students work without reward or an achievement of rank or status in an organization. Such work can be completed for any individual or organization that has legitimate need and, except in extraordinary circumstances, is not a family member. Service for McQuaid Jesuit’s program cannot also be counted for some other requirement such as: Confirmation projects, Eagle Scout projects, Counselor In Training programs, etc.
Middle School Requirement
The Middle School has its own requirement of 5 service hours per year for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. No themes are attached to the service requirements. Students can see the Service Director for suggestions of appropriate volunteer activities.
High School Requirement
All students must complete a minimum of one hundred (100) hours of Christian service during their high school career. Service hours are acquired any time between Freshman and Senior years, from the summer (July 1) preceding Freshman year until the day the Capstone Project is due, which is no later than the end of May, Senior year. However, the expectation is that each year students will complete the hours designated for that year. This will keep students on track and avoid being caught short in their upper class years. In addition, by completing their service hours year by year, it will help them internalize being “men for and with others.”
Christian service may be done during the school year, on weekends, during summers, etc. Students who perform volunteer work while absent on a regularly scheduled school day will not receive credit for that time.
The following is the expected plan for all students to meet their Christian service requirement. Service hours are divided into yearly “theme” and “non-theme” hours as described below. Theme hours are expected to involve direct encounter with the people to be served as much as possible. For instance, in Sophomore year, the theme is “The Life and Dignity of the Human Person” and an example is volunteering at a nursing home. That service should involve direct contact with the residents, not cutting the nursing home’s lawn. Non-theme hours include service to others, including McQuaid Jesuit, which do not fit within the themes described below.
ALL STUDENTS are encouraged to continue in the “MAGIS TRADITION” to go beyond the minimum requirements in the spirit of doing “the greater good” for others. Seniors who have gone well above the requirements are acknowledged at the Spring Awards Assembly.
Freshmen will volunteer at least ten (10) theme hours of service during their Freshman year or the summer preceding it. The theme is “Care of God's Creation.” Examples of service for this theme include neighborhood clean-up, work with animal shelters or environmental organizations, park beautification, etc.
Sophomores will volunteer at least twenty (20) theme hours of service during their Sophomore year or the summer preceding it. The theme is “The Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” Fulfilling this thematic requirement can include working to help the elderly, the sick, and the unborn. Examples are volunteering at a hospice, a nursing home, a crisis nursery, walks to support Birthright, research for MS, or breast cancer, the March for Life trip, the annual Break for Life conference, etc.
Juniors will volunteer at least twenty (20) theme hours of service during their Junior year or the summer preceding it. The theme is "Option for the Poor.” Examples of service for this theme include volunteering at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks, inner city neighborhood centers and schools, migrant ministry, and service trips.
Seniors must participate in the Capstone Project. Students will choose an approved not-for-profit agency where they will volunteer a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of service. The Capstone Project is intended to be the culmination of a student's service learning during his high school career. The Director of Christian Service must approve all Capstone Projects. A full description of this program can be found on the Capstone section of the website (see below).
If a senior has completed at least seventy-five hours of service during his prior high school career (not including any middle school hours) he is only required to complete the twenty-five hours of service through his Capstone Project during Senior year. If a senior has not completed seventy-five hours of service during his prior high school career, he must volunteer enough hours during his Senior year to fulfill the one hundred hour service requirement for high school, including the required number of theme hours for each of the preceding three years.
Capstone Project Requirement
The Senior Capstone Project, required of all seniors, is intended to be the culmination or “capstone” of their Christian Service/social justice activities at McQuaid Jesuit. Essentially, it puts an exclamation point on their Jesuit spiritual formation.
The Capstone Project must take place no earlier than the July 1 prior to the beginning of a student’s senior year and must be completed by two weeks after the end of AP exams the following May. The Capstone Project must be pre-approved by the Director of Christian Service and must be a substantial, standalone project with at least 25 hours of work. The project will preferably include direct contact with the population to be served, as kinship with the marginalized is an important part of Christian service. Examples include:
- any service immersion experiences that take place after July 1 preceding a student’s senior year
- creating and implementing programs for the marginalized (tutoring, food distribution, etc.)
- other programs for the poor, elderly, homeless, veterans, etc. through recognized public or private not for profit agencies.
A post-Project interview or written reflection with Campus Ministry is part of the Capstone Project. All questions should be directed to the Director of Christian Service.
Documentation of Hours
To receive credit for a Christian service activity, students must submit a timesheet to Campus Ministry. Service hours can be submitted on the McQuaid Jesuit website, and timesheets are also available in the Campus Ministry office. All submitted activities are reviewed and confirmed by Campus Ministry.
Failure to complete the service requirement and all of its components has the same penalty as failure to complete any school requirement for graduation: a student will not receive a McQuaid Jesuit diploma or graduate until the requirement is met.