Christian Service

“Lord, teach me to be generous,
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.”

– St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus

Modelled after the life of Christ who “did not come to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28) and inspired by the words of St. Ignatius, Christian service is an intrinsic part of the education and formation of students at McQuaid Jesuit. McQuaid Jesuit believes that experiences of service are as valuable as time spent in the classroom. Middle school and high school students have yearly service hour requirements. High school student requirements include specific themes related to pillars of Catholic Social Teaching. Students must fulfill these requirements to receive a diploma.

McQuaid Jesuit seeks to education the whole person – mind, body, and soul – and inspire young men to realize their God-given gifts through the pursuit of excellence in all things, service to others, and a life-long commitment to justice. As such, we strive for excellence in service to the community at large and to challenge our students to get outside their comfort zone. Christian service involves work done for the good of others without monetary compensation. Christian service is also done when students work without  reward or an achievement of rank or status in an organization. Such work can be completed for a variety of organizations or individuals in need but should have a focus on serving those “on the margins of society,” underserved populations, or with a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Except in extraordinary circumstances, service hours cannot be completed for family members. Service for McQuaid Jesuit’s program cannot also be counted for some other requirement such as: Confirmation projects, Eagle Scout projects, Counselor In Training programs, etc. Questions regarding service hours and what qualifies for service should be directed to the Director of Service and Justice.

The Middle School has its own requirement of 5 service hours per year for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. No themes are attached to the service requirements. Students can see the Service Director for suggestions of appropriate volunteer activities.

All students must complete a minimum of one hundred (100) hours of Christian service during their high school career. Service hours are acquired any time between Freshman and Senior years, from the summer (July 1) preceding Freshman year until the day the Capstone Project is due, which is no later than the end of May, Senior year. However, the expectation is that each year students will complete the hours designated for that year. This will keep students on track and avoid being caught short in their upper class years. In addition, by completing their service hours year by year, it will help them internalize being “men for and with others.”

Christian service may be done during the school year, on weekends, during summers, etc. Students who perform volunteer work while absent on a regularly scheduled school day will not receive credit for that time.

The following is the expected plan for all students to meet their Christian service requirement. Service hours are divided into yearly “theme” and “non-theme” hours as described below. Theme hours are expected to involve direct encounter with the people to be served as much as possible. For instance, in Sophomore year, the theme is “The Life and Dignity of the Human Person” and an example is volunteering at a nursing home. That service should involve direct contact with the residents, not cutting the nursing home’s lawn. Non-theme hours include service to others, including McQuaid Jesuit, which do not fit within the themes described below.

ALL STUDENTS are encouraged to continue in the “MAGIS TRADITION” to go beyond the minimum requirements in the spirit of doing “the greater good” for others. Seniors who have gone well above the requirements are acknowledged at the Spring Awards Assembly.

Freshmen will volunteer at least ten (10) theme hours of service during their Freshman year or the summer preceding it. The theme is “Care of God’s Creation.” Examples of service for this theme include neighborhood clean-up, work with animal shelters or environmental organizations, park beautification, etc.

Sophomores will volunteer at least twenty (20) theme hours of service during their Sophomore year or the summer preceding it. The theme is “The Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” Fulfilling this thematic requirement can include working to help the elderly, the sick, and the unborn. Examples are volunteering at a hospice, a nursing home, a crisis nursery, walks to support Birthright, research for MS, or breast cancer, the March for Life trip, the annual Break for Life conference, etc.

Juniors will volunteer at least twenty (20) theme hours of service during their Junior year or the summer preceding it. The theme is “Option for the Poor.” Examples of service for this theme include volunteering at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks, inner city neighborhood centers and schools, migrant ministry, and service trips.

Seniors must participate in the Capstone Project. Students will choose an approved not-for-profit agency where they will volunteer a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of service. The Capstone Project is intended to be the culmination of a student’s service learning during his high school career. The Director of  Christian Service must approve all Capstone Projects. A full description of this program can be found on the Capstone section of the website (see below).

If a senior has completed at least seventy-five hours of service during his prior high school career (not including any middle school hours) he is only required to complete the twenty-five hours of service through his Capstone Project during Senior year. If a senior has not completed seventy-five hours of service during his prior high school career, he must volunteer enough hours during his Senior year to fulfill the one hundred hour service requirement for high school, including the required number of theme hours for each of the preceding three years.

There are numerous local nonprofit and charitable organizations that McQuaid has relationships with that have consistent volunteer needs. Some of these organizations are listed below with contact information for volunteering and the themes they will fulfill:

Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse – Run by the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the Motherhouse is a hub for their congregational life and home for many retired nuns and priests. Responsibilities for volunteers will mainly be working with the elderly, retired Sisters of Saint Joseph living at the Motherhouse. Opportunities include playing board games with residents, accompanying them on walks, or completing projects such as recording their stories. This is a great opportunity to learn more about working with the elderly and really brighten up their day. Anyone interested should contact Martha Mortensen at Hours fulfill Freshman or Sophomore themes

St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, Catholic Worker House – Founded by Dorthoy Day, the Catholic Worker movement is dedicated to serving the poor and resisting social injustice. The St. Joseph’s House serves meals and provides shelter to the poor and homeless of Rochester. Volunteer opportunities include helping serve and set up meals and staying overnight assisting those offered shelter. Anyone interested should contact James Murphy at Hours fulfill Sophomore or Junior themes.

House of Mercy – Founded in 1985, the House of Mercy is open 24/7 serving those affected by homelessness in Rochester. Service opportunities include working in the kitchen preparing and serving food, helping in the clothing distribution room, and working at the front desk as a greeter. Contact Kelly Finnigan ‘88 for more information at Hours fulfill Junior theme.

Cameron Community Ministries – Being a “Man for Others” includes being a role model. Cameron has been serving the Cameron St.-Lyell Ave neighborhood for over 30 years. They help provide donations, serve meals, and most importantly offer an afterschool program for those in the neighborhood. If you like getting to work with younger children, Cameron needs volunteers for its afterschool program (3:30-6:00pm) tutoring, playing with, and setting examples for children from kindergarten to six years old. Contact Lindsay Jewett at to figure out how you can help. Hours fulfill Sophomore or Junior themes.

Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach – Mary’s Place helps provide the many refugees resettled in Rochester with donated clothes, English language tutoring, and other services. Students get to help sort donations and interact with clients. Times to volunteer are after school until 5:00pm Monday-Friday or during the day Saturday. Contact Hours fulfill Sophomore or Junior themes.

Saint’s Place – Saint’s Place is another organization that supports refugees by providing household goods, clothing, and educational opportunities to those resettled in the Rochester area. They help set up new apartments for dozens of refugees every year! Volunteers can help with tutoring, work in the Clothing Closet, or assist with delivering supplies and furniture to refugees at their new homes. Only open daily from 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Thursday. Students can volunteer here on days off or during school breaks. Contact Michele Quinn at for more information on how to help. Fulfills Sophomore or Junior themes.

Foodlink –  Foodlink is the largest food bank serving the Rochester area along with the surrounding counties. Foodlink partners with a network of human service agencies to provide food to those in need and target the root causes of hunger. With more than 1 in every 7 Americans, and 1 in 5 children, facing food insecurity and hunger on a daily basis, Foodlink provides important solutions to a major issue. You can find out more about Foodlink, how to donate, and how to volunteer from their website. Hours fulfill Sophomore or Junior themes.

These are just a few of the many organizations in the Rochester area. Please contact Mr. Patrick Flaherty in Campus Ministry with questions about these organizations or about what types of service might count for certain theme hours.

The Senior Capstone Project, required of all seniors, is intended to be the culmination or “capstone” of their Christian Service/social justice activities at McQuaid Jesuit.  Essentially, it puts an exclamation point on their Jesuit spiritual formation.

The Capstone Project must take place no earlier than the July 1 prior to the beginning of a student’s senior year and must be completed by two weeks after the end of AP exams the following May.  The Capstone Project must be pre-approved by the Director of Service and Justice and must be a substantial, standalone project with at least 25 hours of work. Any hours a student accumulates for a project that has not been pre-approved will not be allowed to count towards that project.  The project will preferably include direct contact with the population to be served, as kinship with the marginalized is an important part of Christian service.  Examples include:

  • any service immersion experiences that take place after July 1 preceding a student’s senior year
  • Working with a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit to create a standalone project beneficial to the organization. Examples of such projects include any consistent volunteer commitment or partnering to create a fundraiser for a nonprofit
  • Students are not limited to nonprofits as students can create and implament their own program for a marginalized population as long as a need exists and they have a well-thought-out plan to address that need

As stated above, the Capstone Service Project should include direct contact with the population to be served. If a student desires to work on a project that might not include much direct contact (such as a fundraising project) but still meets a legitimate need of a nonprofit organization that project should be discussed with the Director of Service and Justice. A post-Project interview or written reflection with Campus Ministry is part of the Capstone Project.  All questions should be directed to Mr. Flaherty.

To receive credit for a Christian service activity, students must submit a those hours to Campus Ministry. All students, except class of 2018, should have downloaded our new platform for recording and tracking service hours, MobileServe. If you have not yet downloaded MobileServe do so now and you can follow the instructions on our McQuaid MobileServe webpage. For the Class of 2018,  service hours can be submitted on the McQuaid Jesuit website, and timesheets are also available in the Campus Ministry office. All submitted activities are reviewed and confirmed by Campus Ministry.

Failure to complete the service requirement and all of its components has the same penalty as failure to complete any school requirement for graduation: a student will not receive a McQuaid Jesuit diploma or graduate until the requirement is met.

Students represent McQuaid Jesuit‘svalues at all times when they participate in Christian service activities. Students should be respectful of staff, other volunteers, and those they serve at any organization or event they volunteer with for service hours. Students should also recognize they are guests in any setting where they volunteer and act accordingly. Students are expected to work hard, take initiative, and be good ambassadors for McQuaid Jesuit.

Students must be responsible in the use of their cars. The school is not liable for any infractions that happen during release-time. The school may take action if the infraction reflects on the reputation of McQuaid Jesuit.