Six Chaminade High School students, including two from Huntington, have completed a week of service in rural West Virginia.
Patrick Golle, of Greenlawn and Dylan Richardson, of Dix Hills, and Aidan Creeron of Garden City; Kristijan Barnjan of Seaford, Charlie Gorton of Long Beach, James Pham of Ronkonkoma and Ryan Schmidt of Garden City, spent a week at Nazareth Farm in Doddridge County, W. Va. – a Catholic retreat program intended to improve the lives of neighbors in the region and uplift the spirits of participants.
Nazareth Farm aims to awaken the Gospel message through community, simplicity, prayer, and service. Retreatants address substandard living conditions in the local region by repairing homes and building friendships. They are also asked to keep their mobile devices off and, instead, connect to the moments and the people with whom they worked.
“People of all walks of life, when spending their week at Nazareth Farm, come to take those messages to heart,” Golle said. “The experience impacted me in many ways. Nazareth Farm can change the lives of so many people, not only in the Appalachian community it serves, but those of the volunteers, as well.”
Chaminade students work with others from California, Indiana, and Ohio.
“God placed these volunteers in my life for a reason,” he said, “and they have shaped me into a very different person than I was first arriving at Nazareth Farm.”
Brothers Patrick Sarsfield, S.M. and Peter Sennert, S.M. served as trip moderators. They were with students repairing roofs, painting, and at one home, constructing a wheelchair ramp. Michael Black class of 2014 first traveled to Nazareth Farm last year and is now on the staff.
“There is a tendency to think of poverty as an abstraction or as something that exists in far off parts of the world,” Brother Patrick said. “A person can’t share a meal, hold hands and pray with them, or sit on their front porches and pass the time with them and ever view poverty the same way. Nazareth Farm helps our students recognize that we all share a common dignity as children of God, redeemed by Christ.”
Chaminade students first began traveling to Nazareth Farm in the summer of 2004.
Chaminade High School is a Catholic school for young men on Long Island. Its 1,700 students follow a rigorous college-preparatory, liberal-arts curriculum in an atmosphere that emphasizes the development of Christian community and education of the heart. For more information, visit www.chaminade-hs.org or