Students plan winter service trip to to New Mexico

Dec 12, 2018
Canyon De Chelly
White House Ruins, Canyon De Chelly National Monument

Newman University students are headed to Gallup, New Mexico, for their annual winter service trip. The winter service trip is an opportunity for students to spend time doing service work and to experience fellowship.

Student Clare Morgan, who helped organize the trip, said, “We will be living with the Little Sisters of the Poor, but we will split our service time between the Little Sisters and the Missionaries of Charity.”

This may be the biggest group Campus Ministry has ever seen on a winter service trip with a total of 22 students and two chaperones: Father John Fogliasso, university chaplain, and Sonja Bontrager, professor of Spanish. The group will leave Jan. 6 and return Jan. 12. 

“I was inspired to look into going to Gallup because of the stories I heard from many of my friends who took a similar trip when we were in high school,” explained Morgan. “Father Fog told me the destination had to be within 12 hours driving — Gallup is 11 hours and 26 minutes — so here we go!”

The Little Sisters of the Poor operate Villa Guadalupe, a long-term care facility located at their convent. Students will lend a helping hand in the cooking, cleaning and volunteer programs as well as being new, friendly faces for the residents to connect with.

Students will also spend time with the Missionaries of Charity who run a homeless shelter in Gallup. The Missionaries of Charity offer meals, lodging, spiritual support and counseling to the impoverished that seek their help. 

Students participating in the trip will be able to get most of their required service hours completed, which Morgan said is a huge benefit.

As a campus ministry student worker, Murphy Obershaw is looking forward to the trip. “I decided to go because of a couple of reasons: It’s required as part of my campus ministry student worker position, but even if I wasn’t involved in that, I would go because it’s good to get out there and serve.”

Obershaw mentioned the cost of the trip was fairly low and allowed more students, including her, to be able to participate. “We’ll be staying in a little cottage; there is one for the girls and one for the boys,” she said. “I’m excited to have another Newman road trip. I’m looking forward to getting to know the sisters there.”

The majority of the trip will be spent on service but in their spare time, students plan to explore Gallup, hike in the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, tour the Gallup Cathedral and visit the Navajo Reservation. The weather will be below 30 degrees most of the trip, something that surprised Obershaw, she said.

Morgan said, “My hope is that students who attend the trip return with full hearts and tired hands. One of the most important tenants of Christianity is spreading selfless love through service, and I believe this is something every person should take time to devote themselves to.

“I hope those who attend the trip are able to step away from the busy and consuming lives we live and spend six days completely living for others,” added Morgan. “There is so much peace and joy that comes from giving away time, talent, energy and love for the sake of someone who can never repay you. I hope we find that joy in Gallup.”