“Whatsoever you do for the least of my people;
that you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
All of us are called to serve. We are called to this life of service by Jesus Christ Himself. This call is reiterated again and again throughout the Scriptures, and through numerous Church documents. Pope John Paul II challenged each of us to be active in our families, Church and communities by working for justice to achieve peace. Each of our students at Nolan Catholic is called to serve. One way in which we answer this call is through the Christian Ministry program. In this way, we share our time and talents with the Church and community.
Called in Baptism and gifted by the Holy Spirit.
The life of a Christian is one of loving service to those in need. The Christian Ministry Program of Nolan Catholic High School is an opportunity to explore the many ministry opportunities of the Church and the wider community outside one's normal circle of friends, family, and neighborhood.
IMPORTANT COMPONENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY PROGRAM
† The Spirituality of Service
Christian Ministry is the freely offered gift of one’s time, talents and personality. We can be Christ for others in many ways. While some of the agencies where we carry out our ministry are not “Church-related”, we consider the student’s contribution to be “Christian ministry” in that our faith is the motivation, prayer is the source of our strength, and to serve as Jesus did is our goal.
† An Opportunity to Learn
Christian Ministry is an opportunity to learn and grow in ways that are impossible in a classroom. Through Christian ministry, students may discover their personal gifts, values, limitations, and perhaps, dreams for the future. They will learn about people and have their eyes opened to the problems and challenges in our community.
† Choosing A Ministry
Students have particular interests as well as gifts and talents. In order to be a minister according to the call God is giving, a person should examine his/her own gifts and interests. Listen to the Holy Spirit. It is often better to find something that will be difficult or challenging, but that is interesting. Students get more out of these experiences. The easy ministries aren’t necessarily the most fun or rewarding. When one stretches beyond one’s “comfort zone”, the rewards are more often greater.
† Making a Commitment
It is the investment of oneself that makes for rewarding ministry. While there are many short term ministry opportunities, it is recommended that the student make a long term commitment (a semester, a summer, a year) to one ministry, especially in the junior year. This will give a student the opportunity to develop relationships, become experienced in his/her field, and perhaps witness changes or growth in those being helped. The agency also benefits because they can count on the student’s dedicated service. In selecting an agency, one should be sure it meets the criteria outlined below. If there is ANY question, please see the Director of Christian Ministry.
† Action-Reflection Process
As the student logs in the time served, the opportunity for reflection is part of the logging process. It gives the student a chance to reflect on what was really accomplished, not only in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual, psychological, emotional, etc. realms that most surely accompany the ministry. It is in this setting, that much of the learning takes place. In addition, the senior level Christian Vocations/Ministry course offers another opportunity to synthesize one’s ministry experiences.
† Recording Your Ministry
NCHS is using an online service record website, x2VOL.com. Each student must have an x2VOL.com account within one month of coming to NCHS. Failure to have an account means that student is not participating in the graduation requirement. Because of this, the student will be put on CM probation until the account is created, upon which time the probation will be lifted. Incoming freshmen must register on the system.
Any questions or concerns with the process should be addressed to the Director of Christian Ministry, Eric Gray, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The student is the Christian minister. It is the Christian minister’s responsibility to report the hours of service on his/her own x2VOL.com page. All sections of the online form must be filled. We do NOT want parents or volunteer coordinators to fill in the records. (See Action-Reflection Process above) N.B. The supervisor for any ministry site must be an adult. Parents may not be designated as supervisor in lieu of the actual supervisor. The STUDENT should enter information into x2VOL. ALL sections of the log form must be complete for hours to be added to the student record. CM forms MUST be entered in within 6 weeks of completion of the work that is being documented. ANY CM forms submitted later than 6 weeks after completion of the work will not be accepted and are considered null and void. The only exceptions are summertime hours and end of year hours. Please see Deadlines section below on the Christian Ministry page.
CRITERIA FOR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY SITES
You have several options in selecting your ministry site. You may find an agency on your own or continue to serve an agency if it meets the following criteria:
1. SERVICE TO OR WITH PEOPLE
We ask that the majority of your service involve working directly with people, serving as Christ did. While there may be a few occasions where you will indirectly help others through other means (office work, cleaning), we require that MOST hours come from direct service to others. Service must be for a non-profit agency such as those listed at the end of this publication. For any other agency or organization type to be validly accepted, it must be approved by the Director of Christian Ministry.
2. VOLUNTEER SERVICE
Christian ministry is a contribution of your time and talents in a volunteer capacity. This is work that is not for payment, outside of the ministry we already freely give to family, friends and neighbors. Whereas it is a requirement of NCHS for a student to have the prescribed number of hours in order to graduate, the agency the student chooses, the hours worked, etc. is of the student’s choosing.
3. SUPERVISOR PRESENCE
An adult must be available at your ministry site to supervise, validate your service, and evaluate your ministry. The supervisor should also be available to provide training, support and assistance. Due to liabilities, all ministry work MUST be with an adult supervisor.
4. NOLAN CATHOLIC SERVICE
We encourage service to Nolan Catholic High School. Helping clean the ball fields after school, tutoring after school, Ambassador functions in the evening, etc., are all excellent ways to earn hours while helping out your Alma Mater. However, hours worked during the course of a school day or as a requirement for a course CANNOT be counted. This would include such things as marching band practice after school, Ambassador Shadow work during school, assisting with a day retreat during school, etc. Service to our Athletic department as trainers, filmers and managers also qualifies for hours. However, as these Athletic Dept. opportunities also qualify for P.E. credit, students MUST declare before starting the ministry whether it will be for P.E. credit or for CM hours. They may not claim the same work for both. N.B. Some items, such as retreats and sports managers, will have some hours associated with them that are valid to claim and some that are not, as they sometimes involve both school time and outside time. When in question about such events and the time valid to claim, please contact the Director of Christian Ministry for clarification.
REQUIREMENTS AND CONSEQUENCES
† Start Date for Ministry
Students may begin their Christian Ministry as soon as they are high school students at Nolan Catholic. Therefore, service may begin as early as the first day of June the summer before a student’s freshman year. For transfer students, hours begin the first day of June before their beginning of the school year, OR, for transfers in the middle of the school year, ministry hours start counting the day they enroll at NCHS.
† Hour Requirements
Students are REQUIRED to complete 25 hours by the end of freshman year, 50 hours by the end of sophomore year, and 75 hours by the end of junior year. SENIORS MUST HAVE COMPLETED A MINIMUM OF 75 HOURS BY AUGUST 31ST OF THEIR SENIOR YEAR IN ORDER TO GRADUATE FROM NOLAN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL. DIPLOMAS WILL BE WITHHELD IF HOURS ARE INCOMPLETE. Students may always continue to submit hours after the minimum has been achieved in order to qualify for the CM awards (see below).
Please note: Change coming for 2013-2014 School Year, effective for Class of 2015: The juniors will have a project based hour requirement. The Junior Project will entail volunteering 25 hours all at one location for one agency. All Christian Ministry hours logged in are accompanied by a small reflection on how the ministry assisted other people. The junior reflection will be an extended reflection with more deliberate thought on both the action taken and the relationship of the action with our Catholic Faith, hence the putting of Faith into action. The junior year 25 hour project must be completed by all juniors, regardless of number of previously earned hours in the freshman and sophomore year.
† Transfer Student Transfer Hours
Students transferring to Nolan Catholic who already have service hours from a program at their previous school may certainly transfer some of these hours to NCHS. Students are limited to transferring 25 hours per semester of their previous high school. So, a first year sophomore may transfer a maximum of 50 hours. Students must provide documentation of the hours from the former high school to the Director of Christian Ministry for hours to be considered for transfer. Transfer students must still complete the quota requirement for the grade level that they enter NCHS. For example, a first year sophomore must still complete 50 hours of ministry while at NCHS in order to complete the requirement, regardless of the number of hours transferred from another school.
There are four different “deadlines” to remember about in each academic year, as far as submitting Christian Ministry hours is concerned. The first deadline is the Summer Hours deadline. August 31st is the summer hour deadline. Hours served during the summer, especially in late May, in June, and in early July will need to be turned in by that time. Summer hours are those performed between the last day of classes in May and the first day of classes in August. Some July hours are possible to fall into the next deadline. There is a Six Week deadline, which means that any hours that are completed must be turned in within six weeks of their completion. Hours not turned in within that time frame are considered outdated and no longer valid. The only exception is for summer hours, which must be turned in by the above stated deadline, or they become invalid as well. The Spring deadline is April 15th. This deadline is when the minimum number of hours for each class level for that year must be logged in, or the student will be placed on CM probation. (see below for explanation of probation.) Also, this is the deadline for the awards. Any hours turned in after this deadline can get a student off probation, but cannot qualify a student for the awards of that year. The End of Year deadline is the last day of class, the week before finals in May. All hours earned prior to this date must be turned in on this date or be rendered invalid. This is because during the summer, there is no collection of hours, and hours earned in late April and early May are NOT considered summer hours. Summer hours begin the evening of the last school day in May (not the last exam day). Please note that as the school year gets closer to the end, the six week deadline is superseded by the end of year deadline. Hours earned in the last week of school must be logged in before exams begin or they are rendered outdated and lost.
† Monitoring and Administration of Hours
Christian Ministry hours are administered online. Each individual student will know in real time exactly where he/she stands in his/her hour count. Each student will have, at all times, a record of all hours submitted on x2VOL.com, all hours verified, and all hours accepted. Only hours that are accepted are counted as hours completed for the student. This does not mean pending hours are void. It does mean that hours submitted but not given final acceptance do not yet count officially toward the number of hours that student has to his/her credit.
† CM Forms Not Properly Filled Out
Any CM forms not properly filled out will be returned to the student to be completed and returned. As above, these hours are not counted as completed yet. Forms returned to the student are not considered for acceptance until the student returns the form to x2VOL.com and the form is completed. The student must complete/amend the form as needed immediately and re-send it to x2VOL.com within two weeks of the date of return to student. Failure to do so will forfeit the hours. The form will be considered out of date.
† Consequences for Incomplete Hours
As stated above, April 15th (Spring Deadline) is the due date for the annual quota of hours for each student. Students will be given a reminder of this date in the Spring Semester. If the quota of hours is not completed by this date (NOT the last day of school), the student will be placed on CM probation. The student will remain on probation until the required number of hours is completed. Being on CM probation will affect ability to participate in extracurricular activities as follows.
Since Christian Ministry Hours are a graduation requirement, deficiency in hours will be counted as one course failure. Once the student fulfills the hours requirement, the deficiency is remedied and student’s “failure” is considered corrected. Therefore, a student with two or more course failures or one course failure and deficiency in the Christian Ministry hour requirement will be ineligible for participation in extracurricular activities. Please see the Student Handbook for complete guidelines on academic ineligibility.
† Honor Code
Any honesty infractions that are committed in the CM Program will be referred to the Honor Council. Any students who are found guilty of dishonesty, plagiarism, etc. in the CM Program will lose those hours in question, as well as have one strike against them in the Honor Code, as per the Honor Council guidelines in the Student Handbook. Please note that in order to submit hours on x2VOL.com, a student must click the box agreeing that all that he/she entered is true. Students are accountable to every piece of information sent to x2VOL.com. Students should check each entry carefully before clicking the honor code box and submitting hours.
† Awards for Exceeding Hour Requirements
Students who go beyond the requirement of hours will be recognized with the following awards. Freshmen will receive a pin for recognition of achievement of 50 hours or more. Sophomores will receive a certificate for recognition of achievement of 100 hours or more. Juniors will receive a certificate for recognition of achievement of 150 hours or more. Seniors will receive a golden cord to be worn at graduation ceremonies for recognition of achievement of 200 hours or more. In addition, for each graduating class, one student will be chosen to receive the Christian Ministry Program Award, which recognizes that person who has most exhibited outstanding service to his/her community at large in the spirit of the Christian Ministry Program.
COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY PROGRAM
† What if I fulfill the 75 hours in one year?
WONDERFUL! We hope that Nolan Catholic students will continue to serve their school, church and community beyond the required hours. Continue to turn in these CM forms. Nolan Catholic will give special commendation to those students who model commitment to Christian Ministry. (see AWARDS above) Beginning in 2013-2014 with the Class of 2015, all juniors will have to fulfill a 25 hours project their junior year, regardless of number of previously earned hours.
† What is not included in my service hours?
Initial interviews, transportation to the ministry site, lunch breaks, dinner breaks and hours being served to Teen Court due to a ticket do NOT count towards one’s required ministry hours. However, training for a specific ministry can count towards one’s hours. Babysitting (unless for a parish in a group child care setting with supervision), work for family and/or friends, and such do not count. Donations of goods do not count, regardless of the donations site’s policy, but the time spent gathering the goods can count. Work done in one’s home, even with parental and/or adult supervision, cannot be counted. “Double-dipping” is not allowed either. There are many other requirements a person can have besides NCHS, such as Confirmation hours at a parish, Eagle Scout service projects, etc. These hours gain the benefit of those programs, and are not counted as valid hours in the NCHS Christian Ministry Program. Further, even if parishes accept NCHS hours in lieu of their own Confirmation requirement, this is still “double-dipping” and is not allowed. See also “Nolan Catholic Service” above for more information. If there is a question as to whether a specific activity is allowed, please contact the Director of Christian Ministry for approval.
† How are hours counted for ministry during Mass and Sunday services?
Liturgical ministry is GREATLY encouraged. Keep a record of all masses in which you participate as an altar server, lector, Eucharistic minister, cantor, choir member, etc. Altar servers and choir members receive a full hour for each Mass. Cantors, lectors and Eucharistic ministers will receive ¼ hour for each Mass. Any training will also count towards one’s total hours. See the Director of Christian Ministry with any questions regarding these hours.
CHRISTIAN MINISTRY AGENCIES
Nolan Catholic students are highly encouraged to minister through their church or parish. Contact someone on the staff about ministry opportunities (youth minister, DRE, pastor, liturgical ministry coordinator, etc.). In addition, there are many other agencies in need of support. Some of these are listed below. You are also free to find an agency of your choice. If you have any questions about the agency, see the Director of Christian Ministry.
Arlington Women’s Shelter | 817-548-0583 | www.womensshelter.org
Beautiful Feet Ministries | 817-536-0505 | www.thefeet.org
Catholic Charities | 817-534-0814 | www.ccdofw.org
Eastside Ministries | 817-446-3278 | www.eastsideministries.org
Habitat for Humanity | 817-926-9219 | www.fwhabitat.org
Harvest House | 817-295-6252 | www.yourharvesthouse.org
Mid-Cities Care Corps | 817-282-0531 | www.midcitiescarecorps.org
Meals on Wheels | 817-336-0912 | www.mealsonwheels.org
Mission Arlington | 817-277-6620 | www.missionarlington.org
Ronald McDonald House | 817-870-4942 | www.ftworthrmh.org
Tarrant Area Food Bank | 817-332-9177 | www.tafb.org
Texas Special Olympics | 817-332-3433 | www.sotx.org
The Family Place | 214-443-7714 | www.familyplace.org
The Salvation Army | 817-344-1820 | www.salvationarmydfw.org
The Warm Place | 817-870-2272 | www.thewarmplace.org
Union Gospel Mission | 817-332-2922 | www.uniongospelmissionftw.org
Wings of Hope | 817-790-8810 | www.wingsofhopehorses.org
Workforce Solutions For Tarrant County | 817-536-8559 | www.workforcesolutions.net
In addition to these listed opportunities, students should attend to the Daily Bulletin, pay attention to the weekly NCHS broadcast and check the Christian Ministry bulletin board in the Main Hallway for specific events available in the larger Tarrant County community. Students should consult their x2VOL.com page to see what opportunities are advertised there as well. To enlarge the possibilities on x2VOL.com, a student should click more items in their interest personal page. The Director of Christian Ministry will notify students through these venues of other available opportunities in the community.