At Mater Dei, it is our belief that the experience of serving others allows our students to develop self-confidence, to become aware of the needs of others, and to recognize the many ways they can utilize the gifts and talents God has bestowed on them. Moreover, service guides the students to an understanding that faith requires action and is demonstrated in deeds. Therefore, we take immense pride in our students’ remarkable commitment to meeting the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as they continually respond to our main calling as Catholics: to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Throughout the year, as part of their religion class, students perform individual service at home, at school, and in the community. Moreover, our students actively participate in special Mater Dei service projects sponsored by both their religion classes and other organizations.
On a weekly basis, students donate money to the missions that are sponsored by each class. Currently, our students support the Diocese of Belleville CYO’s mission in Guatemala; the Sacred Brothers, Sacred Sisters’ orphanage in Venezuela; a Catholic school in San Estevan, Belize; and the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ’s mission in Mexico. Our students continually donate over $9,000 to these missions each school year!
On a monthly basis, our students may also choose to visit the Warren G. Murray Development Center, a home for mentally and physically challenged individuals which is located in Centralia. This unique service opportunity has been a part of Mater Dei’s outreach program for over 35 years! (For additional information, please view Murray Center Volunteers in “Activities.”)
Finally, as seniors, our students complete a three-week Senior Service Project, which the Diocese of Belleville requires for Althoff Catholic High School, Gibault Catholic High School, and Mater Dei Catholic High School. More specifically, in January, our senior students respond to the needs of others at a variety of locations in Clinton County, the greater metro-east area, and St. Louis, including day care centers, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, civil agencies, and social agencies. Through their participation in this project, our students connect the educational experience of religion in the classroom to the practical, day-to-day experience of religion in our society – they truly serve to learn and learn to serve!