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Benjamin Pappas

Benjamin Pappas is a 17-year-old high school senior at Leesville Road HS, but he is also an enthusiastic and persistent volunteer at St. Francis of Assisi. Volunteering for Benjamin started during one of Msgr. Clay’s “To Know, To Believe, To Live” Zoom sessions with the Church during COVID; through that event, he met someone on the Pastoral Council. The Pastoral Council is a representative group of parishioners who serve as a consultative body to the Pastor. The person he met proposed that he be on the Council to represent youth and with Msgr. Clay’s approval joined that body. While serving on the council, he met someone involved with Mission Mercy, the Faith Formation summer camp for high school students, and became involved with that effort.

Based upon his own experience, Benjamin offered advice for those, especially younger parishioners, who want to be involved, “The best advice,” he says, “is to get your foot in the door. Taking that first step to involve yourself with a ministry or volunteering is how this all started for me.” He adds, “St. Francis is trying to create a connected community, and once you can get in there, you will always have the chance to meet someone involved; I think it just grows from there. There’s always more work to do, but St Francis is committed to reaching out and welcoming everyone in every walk of life. The first step might be scary or hard, and it takes a little effort, but once involved, you find it easier to take that next step.”

When asked why his faith drives him to volunteer, Benjamin says, “It’s putting faith in action and showing that to other people. Ultimately that’s how you make a ‘more full’ community; putting worship in action together.” He then highlighted that point by remembering one of Msgr. Clay’s homilies. “A couple of weeks ago, Msgr. Clay mentioned the “little ones” referred to in the bible” he recalled, “It was talking about kids. Still, Msgr. Clay said that image applies to more than just children. Everyone has been a “little one” at some point in their life, where they need the support and help of other people to succeed and flourish in their faith.” That struck Benjamin when thinking about how it applies to service. “Maybe some people right now need help, but at some point, that will be me! I want help in those moments, so you need to ‘give’ to get that support when needed.”

‘Community’ is a big part of what he gets from his service.

I talked about this with my family when I returned from Mission Mercy,” he said. “I’ve hung out with my friends before, but meeting these new people is a completely different reaction. When you get together for service, you can tell there’s a special drive to help others, a bigger reason you’re all together. It brings together a community of kindness. It permeates into every interaction you have and creates a more genuine and ‘full’ community.