Capuchin outreach program gathers college students for service, spirituality

The crew volunteering with Habitat for Humanity braved the snow and cold elements to assist the organization’s Greater Newburgh headquarters in preparing for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Pugliese, who led the group, said the time spent organizing materials and cleaning up the warehouses was an awesome opportunity to serve the men and women who do so much service for those in need.

 “[Habitat for Humanity does] a great service and to be a small part of that makes me yearn to do more for my community,” said Joe Ferrone, who had been active in retreats at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries as a high school student.

Sudyk led a group that split time between St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen and Newburgh Ministry. “[Both] these places serve the same community in different ways,” Sudyk said. “What most amazed me was that these places were not just providing for a physical need such as food, shelter or clothing, but they also provide a place of love, comfort and belonging. I could feel the sense of true community there.” Sudyk and Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries had previously worked with Newburgh Ministry and Sr. Norma Carney of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to build and deliver bunk beds for families in need in October 2017. 

 After working at their ministry sites during the day, students returned to Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries for prayer, supper and theological reflection discussion groups. The theological reflections groups provided a space for students to share where they found Christ in their ministry. After the closing Mass and personal sharing, students felt spiritually enthused for their second semester.

 “College COP allowed me to refocus my heart before returning to college for the spring semester,” said Bailey Zimmitti, a sophomore at Providence College. “The retreat’s theme of patient endurance and hopeful love reminded me to fix my eyes on God during both chaos and peace, both trial and triumph. The friars and lay staff at CYFM prepared a beautiful blend of prayer, service, and fellowship that made College COP a great blessing.” 

Danielle Drop, a senior at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, like Ousey, was at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries for the first time. She found good examples of faith and service in her peers. “Knowing that college life can pull you in every kind of direction, I was inspired by these people who are so strongly dedicated to the church and who were willing to give up some of their winter break to serve on this retreat,” Drop said.