A Reflection by Patrick McDonald ’20
From July 9th to July 13th, over 40 Curley students including myself went to a service campcalled Encounter the Gospel of Life. This is an event held at the University of Maryland, College Park and includes schools and parishes from across Maryland and even from Boston. The objective of this trip is to connect with others through acts of service and to grow stronger in one’s relationship with God and others.
As for my experience, I can truly say that my outlook was changed almost immediately. On my way to Curley that morning, I was very hesitant about the trip. I had learned that I would not be with any of the Curley guys at my service site and that I would not be able to pick my roommate for staying in the dorms. Upon arriving at Curley, I was still very apprehensive and overall nervous about the trip. Once we arrived at Encounter, however, and I could see how connected and involved everyone was, I began to feel more comfortable. My roommate turned out to be my best friend, which immediately took some of the worry away. Our Curley group, along with the other parishes, went to the main building of gathering for the week and went through introductions. We then met in our site groups and once again I felt nervous and shy. I did have one Curley guy in my group and we really got to know each other during this time. The people in my group were somewhat talkative at first, but I didn’t really know what to expect throughout the week. My group turned out to be a group of amazing people and we all became incredible friends very quickly.
Every morning started with Mass, followed by breakfast and departure for our sites. Our site involved working with elderly people, yet we spent most of our time weeding and gardening. The residents were so appreciative of our service though that it made it worth while. After returning to the campus, we were allowed about an hour of free time and then we would go to dinner. After dinner, every parish went to the main gathering hall. For the evenings of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, we had a keynote speaker come to talk to us for a bit and then afterwards we would have activities with our site group. Wrapping up the night, each parish went back to the dorms and our Curley group split up into small groups and talked about our day. This was one of my favorite parts of the day because my small group was great and I got to know some of my Curley brothers who I never knew much of before.
Wednesday was a special evening. That night everyone had the opportunity to participate in Adoration and Confession. This night was a very emotional night for some and one thing became apparent to me more than any other time before – the idea of the Curley brotherhood. I have seen it before, but not in such lengths. Not only that night, but the entire week the brotherhood was everywhere you looked at Curley. During the night of Adoration and Confession, Curley men were often seen comforting, talking to, or just being with their brothers. This is where I truly felt at home during Encounter.
Thursday night Encounter hosted a dance party after some evening activities. Friday was a half day for most sites and upon returning, there were closing remarks and activities. After packing up and loading the buses, we were on the way home.
In conclusion, while my Encounter experience didn’t start with much excitement on my end, it ended with more than I could have ever imagined. I never thought I would have enjoyed it so much and I look forward to going again next year. Encounter taught me what it really means to be a Curley brother.
Friar Matt, Meeri Kangas, Christian Grochowski, Jimmy Cassidy ’14, Bridget Sica, Pat Seay, Joe Nwobi ’18, Angelo Petruccy ’15, Steve Delss.
Parker Boomer, Connor Draper, Mike Sacha, Mike Gardner, Tobi Majik,Tim Fair, Zach Szycbor, Matt Lowry, Mason Paradise, Wyett Peters, Kevin Franiak, Zeke Ober, Kenny Clapp, Matt Miller, Niko Kolbrick, Christian Knorr, Nick Lowry, Alex Petr, Ryan Seay,Matt Novak, Anthony Grasso, Noah Sainz, Dylan Sloan, Victor Bravo, Ray Smythe, Scott Giampa, Bryce Woodward, Pat McDonnell, Tyler Harry, Trevor Lintz, Anthony Schlee, Lucas Benedetto, Jack Stover, Angel Leon-Mejia, Sam Stitz, Sal SchinaDicola, Bradley O’Ree, Sam Zito, Abe Walz, Matt Sayles.