Called to Serve - Mitchell Silkman

Serving others has been a big part of my life! I started serving  for mass back when I was in second grade. When I first started I did it because my brother and sister did it, and my mom wanted me to learn to serve others. I’ve been serving for 11 years, and I’ve learned a lot in that time. The elderly parishioners really appreciate having a familiar face up at the altar, because we’ve gone through 9 priest in the span of 11 years. They also enjoy having me up there because I smile at them when I walk by carrying the cross before and after mass. I take the time to greet them and ask how they are doing after mass, and they appreciate that.  I serve every Sunday at the 7:30 AM mass, which is almost entirely older parishioners.  Some have shared that it has helped that I have been a constant in mass, when we have gone through so many priests.  I have learned a lot about how to make others feel good, and I will use that experience in my future. This has developed a soft spot in my heart for older people.

I participated in A Call to Service for a week in Minneapolis.  There I worked at five different places, interacting with and helping serve homeless people.  At Mary’s Place I served food to the homeless families that came in, and I helped supervise their children in the playroom.  At a drop-in recovery center I talked with homeless people and got to know them one-on-one, and attended group discussions with them.  We took them to a nearby garden where some of the people were employed.  I learned so much from talking and working with these people.  One man talked to me about working with Martin Luther King years ago, and that was fascinating.  My biggest takeaway from this is that homeless people are just like anyone else, and I admired how strong they were in terms of not letting life’s circumstances get them down.  Working at food shelves and soup kitchens will be important to me in the future because I know how urgent the need is to have volunteers to feed the homeless.  I will never forget how much I learned from this group of people. The stories of how they ended up homeless will stay with me forever.

I attended a TEC (Together Encountering Christ) weekend in January of 2018.  I then decided to return as a volunteer “wheatie” in February to spend my weekend working to provide others with the incredible TEC experience that I had.  I spent four days working behind the scenes doing everything from preparing food to cleaning bathrooms to participating in 100 Hours of Prayer.  I love going to retreats, and this is the first time I volunteered myself to make the experience for others. The great emotion that goes into a TEC weekend is profound, and it truly makes others recognize Christ in their lives and it enables them to bring Christ unto others.  I will definitely continue to volunteer in this capacity in the future to bring the TEC experience to as many people as possible.

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