ST. JOSEPH’S MISSION XVII: Students Carry Out God’s Work Through Acts of Service

Chaminade has a long tradition of volunteering for St. Joseph’s Mission projects. Recent missions include those led by Fr. Garrett Long ’62 in 2020 (below) and Bro. Patrick Sarsfield ’86 in 2017 (above).

By Michael Byrne ’23

The definition of a Chaminade man is someone who does the right thing at the right time, regardless of who is watching. That is a motto that is exemplified by the young men of Chaminade High School who aided in this year’s St. Joseph’s Mission.

During the winter recess, students, alumni, and teachers from both Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial High School volunteered for a variety of projects that occurred at Stella Maris, Kellenberg’s newest retreat house. They also aided in the building of eighteen wooden desktops for the new office building at St. Joseph’s Annex, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Life in Suffern, NY.

These volunteers were participating in a long line of St Joseph’s Missions that date back to 2006 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. That year, the students traveled all the way down Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to aid in recovery from the cataclysmic storm. During this time they helped to rebuild St. Stanislaus College, a school run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

In 2008, meanwhile, the location of the mission changed to New Orleans, as it was clear that rebuilding was a necessity there, as well. While in New Orleans, the mission was hard at work rebuilding homes within the St. Bernard Parish and throughout the city itself. This mission would continue for the next several years. 

And then, when Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island, it was clear that the work was most needed at home. During the St. Joseph’s Mission of 2013, students were busy rebuilding homes in Freeport and Bellmore, as well as assisting at Chaminade/Kellenberg homes in Levittown and Long Beach.

Finally, in 2020 the members of the Woodworking Club built fourteen Corian sink tops with fused-in Corian sinks for the Kateri Residence of the Sisters of Life. 

This shows that no matter the circumstances, the work of the mission and, subsequently, the work of God will always continue.

Even though the mission’s objectives and the mission itself have changed over the years, the basic foundation of the work has remained consistent: to help those in need.

Fr. Garrett Long S.M. ‘62, the overseer of the mission, shared wisdom about the importance of the work and its implication within the greater mission that God has on this Earth. He also spoke to the importance that the work has in the lives of both those who help and those who are helped, saying that participation within the mission “builds Christian nature.”

Fr. Garrett also spoke about those who help the mission via their donations. These members of the Chaminade family are just as important to the mis- sion as those who do the work, as without them the necessary supplies would not be available. Fr. Garrett remarked, “If people know where their money is going, people can be very generous.”

St. Joseph’s Mission XVII and all of the successful missions that preceded it will live as reminders that God’s work is done by His followers on earth, and that it is our duty as Catholic men to aid in His work.