By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Students from Trinity High School and Presentation Academy planted boxwood hedges, built benches and picked up trash at Meadow View Cemetery — a cemetery for the indigent — on Holy Thursday.
The service work was done in conjunction with Mayor Greg Fischer’s “Give A Day” initiative, a weeklong program that encourages members of the community to take part in an act of service.
The cemetery, located just south of the Gene Snyder Freeway in southwestern Jefferson County, is the final resting place for those who cannot afford a burial service or who do not have family to attend a funeral.
Many of the students are familiar with the cemetery through their work with the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society. These students act as pall bearers and provide a Christian burial service for deceased individuals in Jefferson County who do not have the funds to be buried in a private cemetery.
Holly McGuire, a theology teacher and moderator of Trinity’s Green Cross Service Club, gestured to the students working in the cemetery and said “this is everything
that Christ calls us to do” when it comes to service.
“We are a body of Christ working for others,” she said. “Service is who we are as Catholics. When we do this we are evangelizing.”
McGuire added that the service of the students “is so important, especially during Holy Week.”
Nick Kopriva and Adam Brown, both juniors at Trinity, graded and leveled dirt on new graves. Brown said that by giving back he hoped it would bring a greater awareness of the plight of those who are less fortunate.
Kopriva said that working in the potter’s field “made him more aware of what people, who have nothing, go through.”
Laura Ayotte, the academic enrichment coordinator at Presentation Academy, said the students’ service work reminds her of the Scripture passage “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
“It’s putting faith into action,” she said. “It’s the height of Catholic social teaching.”
Around midmorning, the students put down their rakes, shovels and trash bags to take a moment to pray with Father J. Mark Spalding, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville and pastor of Holy Trinity Church. Father Spalding led the group in prayer in the infant section of the cemetery.
Mark Hines, a Trinity senior, said he hoped others in the community would be inspired by the numerous projects taking place in the city.
“I hope more schools in the community and more older people as well, volunteer at places (where) they normally wouldn’t think to do service,” he said.
Several additional schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville also took part in the mayor’s “Give A Day” program. The following schools reported their service projects to The Record:
Eighth-grade students at Holy Trinity School went on a three-day trip to Appalachia, where 28 students and 12 parents completed 960 hours of service. The Holy Trinity students also collected 25 cases of food, and they collected stuffed animals for Bears on Patrol with Kosair Charities, filled a truck with donations for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and raised $2,543.32 for the Rice Bowl program.
Numerous young people from St. William Church and the Pax Christi Collaborative (the clustered parishes of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Therese and Our Mother of Sorrows) took part in the Interfaith Youth Service Group project hosted by the Center for Interfaith Relations. The group cleaned up the Yarmuth Garden behind the Kentucky Science Center following Thunder over Louisville.
Students at St. Francis of Assisi School donated books to the Family Scholar House. St. Francis students also volunteered at the Home of the Innocents.
Mercy Academy students worked at Jefferson Memorial Forest and the Louisville Zoo April 17 and 18. The students mulched, weeded and planted new vegetation. They also constructed a Monarch butterfly way station.