Each year, our Community looks forward to celebrating Christmas with our special friends at St. Ignatius High School. At the start of each December, they plan a holiday party for the Core Members, assistants, and the Board of Directors to help us kick of the Holiday Season. After missing our Christmas party in 2020, Core Members were anxious to get back to our traditional celebration at St. Ignatius.
As usual, we had a wonderful time celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with St. Ignatius High School. Scroll down to see some of our favorite pictures and read reflections shared by some of the students who come to visit.
Reflection by Kyan
My first Friends With L’Arche visit was during the first semester of my Sophomore year. I was continuing my career playing lacrosse that spring but needed something to fill my time during the fall. So, as most Ignatians do, I attended a Christian Action Team meeting hoping I would find a service opportunity that filled my interests. At the beginning of the meeting, Mrs. Amy Carroll (point to her) walked into the huddled classroom that was Loyola Hall 227. She spoke of an initiative called L’Arche, where students, every third Thursday of the month, would go and spend time and share food and God with core members. It sounded fun, so I told Mrs. Carroll that I would be more than happy to go on a visit. As the date of my first visit approached, though, I got more and more nervous. Questions ran through my head such as what will I say? Will the core members like me? Will I fit in?
But, as I got out of the van and walked up to the door of Abbey House, my worries were instantly at peace. The beautiful souls of Adam, Pat, and David embraced me like I had known them for years. I had such an amazing time, actually, that when it was time for the evening to wrap up I had felt I was only there for five minutes. The joy that those three guys, now my friends, gave me in two and a half hours stuck with me for weeks, and I was counting the days until I would get to visit them again.
Fast forwarding into my senior year, those same three guys, now my best friends, have become a huge part of my life. Adam’s colorful personality and smile never seems to fade, and I will never hear the words “meatball” and “hot dog” the same. My conversations with Pat will always be held close to my heart and his prayers before dinner are a necessity for an evening spent at the Abbey House. I will also never forget that mom’s cooking will always be the best. David’s quick wit, calling everyone “lazy bones” when he just woke up from a nap, and calling Pat an “old man,” even though Pat is in fact younger than David, will also never fail to make me laugh. These guys, my best friends for life, will always hold a special place in my heart.
Reflection by Johnny
Stepping out of the van on my first L’Arche visit, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard stories that the first time going out is mixed with anxiety, however most people say that it’s a fun time to just hang out and leave all of your worries at the door. I walked into Abbey House and immediately knew things would be fine. Pat was sitting down with Adam watching cartoons while David strummed his guitar in his room. We shared a meal of pizza and salad together and later played a calming game of Uno. All of the guys were welcoming and allowed for everyone to be themselves. The seniors there made sure that the underclassmen felt comfortable and included them in the experience which I now try to do as well. When it was time to go, I was disappointed that the experience ended so shortly. After taking the time to reflect upon my experiences, I realized how much fun I had and how I was foolish for waiting so long to take this risk. After that original outing, I have made an effort to go as much as I could.
Unfortunately, during my sophomore year, the pandemic hit and I could no longer see the friends that I have made. I wished that I could see David’s bowling card from the week, or hear about Adam’s love of trains, or Pat’s interest in Hallmark movies. Eventually when students were allowed to come back on visits, I found a new love for the gang at Abbey House and is one of my highlights of the month. Now, I look forward to seeing all of the bright and wonderful faces around me every month when I visit Abbey House.