Early yesterday morning, the participants woke up with the sunrise and went to downtown Chicago to break bread with the homeless. In small groups of one staff member with 3-4 students, the CrossRoaders approached people, bought them breakfast, and sat and ate with them; opening up the opportunity to learn about their lives and quite literally getting to know their neighbor. It was an extremely moving experience for all. It is very profound to acknowledge Christ in the face of a neighbor that we often overlook.
After returning to campus, we debriefed our experiences and shared our takeaways with one another. We were joined by a CrossRoad alum and a good friend of the Office of Vocations & Ministry-Rachel Contos- who works as a Community Liaison at Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your experience and knowledge on this topic and offering insight into how we can better serve our neighbor!
After lunch and a much-needed nap, we headed back to our homeroom for a session led by Kyra on the Sanctification of Time. The CrossRoaders discussed the idea of consecrating our time on this earth and to make the most of it. Shortly after, we headed to Christ The Savior Orthodox Church, where Enlace’s Violence Prevention Director, and a professor at the University of Chicago, Kathryn Bocanegra met us. Kathryn spoke to us about her work to promote peace in communities with high violence and gang rates, and how these people are still our neighbors. It was a very important and eye-opening talk for our participants to hear.
In the evening, we had the blessing of hearing a talk on Prayer & Purity by our beloved, Dr. Albert Rossi, who has been a CR guest speaker since the first program in 2004.
The participants have been busy learning how to take the information they have received over the past week and put it into action by serving Christ and neighbor. We hope and pray they take these lessons home with them and take action to better their communities.