BA Senior Service Project
Becoming the Hands and Feet of Christ

by Melinda K. Reeder, President/Principal of Bethlehem Academy

Bethlehem Academy (BA), Faribault, MN, serves its mission to “love as Jesus Christ loved, to lead, to serve, to inspire, and to seek the truth.” The BA mission is lived out through the four Dominican pillars of prayer, study, community, and service; these pillars have allowed BA to be a light in Faribault and surrounding communities since 1865. The focus on the pillars is reflected by all BA scholars through experiences, recognition, events, and purpose as guided by our BA staff. A beautiful example of living the pillar of service is experienced annually by the senior class through their senior service project.


“Use your God-given gifts to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10). Why does God invite us to serve others? Perhaps, God invites us to serve others not only to be more like Jesus but also because in loving us God knows that through this service our purpose in life will be fulfilled. It is with this in mind that the senior class theology teacher, Emily Shimota, plans for scholars to spend second semester devoted to serving others.



“In the second semester, students will live as disciples of Christ in society through service at places around the Faribault community,” Emily describes in her syllabus. “Students will spend most class periods at their service sites. There will be several seminars held in the classroom, which will entail reflecting upon and discussing how their service relates to Christ and the social teaching and mission of the Church.”



When the scholars follow the pillar of service, they are also engaging the pillar of study as this is a portion of their grade. They are also living the pillar of community by intimately getting involved in an organization that supports the needs and people of our community.

The BA senior class represented the hands and feet of Christ as they served at eight organizations in the community. They share time with the elderly, stock food shelves, offer technology classes at the library, support classrooms at the Catholic elementary school, care for animals at area shelters, and assist with projects at Pregnancy Options and IRIS (two area nonprofits). Their service is an incredible gift to the community and creates a lasting impact for them personally.

In reflecting on the joy that service brings, senior Matthew Croke said, “What I love about doing service at Divine Mercy Catholic School is that no matter how bad my day has gone, the 5th-graders always brighten it!”

This rich way of living out the pillars at BA is a tradition that continues to expand. From service experiences to mission trips, the pillar of service is an integral part of living the pillar of community. The senior service project began five years ago and continues to grow and enrich the lives of students.

Click for Spectrum May 2022 Index

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