PLAIN — Five years ago, St. Luke Parish catechists Vicki and Chuck Fenske challenged their freshmen students to watch the movie, The Passion of The Christ.
Afterwards, the Fenskes discussed the movie with the students. The young people felt that it was their turn to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
||Cody Diehl and David Yanke stir the meat sauce, which was made with 50 pounds of hamburger. (Catholic Herald photo/Joe Ptak)
They can show that love for God in direct ways, such as worship and prayer. “We also believe that by helping and loving others, we love as Jesus does and in this way we respect His sacrifice, which was His life,” said Vicki.
Helping those in need
“We asked the students to be a hands-on instrument for God and our Lord Jesus Christ through a mission project of making lasagna dinners for those in need within our community,” she said.
Thus the Lasagna Project was born. The Fenkes have developed and coordinated this Lenten outreach project for the past five years, said Angie Pulvermacher, St. Luke coordinator of religious education.
Each student is asked for donations to help cover the costs of the project as a Lenten sacrifice. They also assist in preparing and delivering the lasagna meals. This project grew from 37 meals prepared last year to 52 this year.
“With all the snow and ice this winter, there were many who were shut-in. With the economy the way it is, we felt there were those who could benefit from a hot meal and a short conversation from the students who contain a lot of energy and enthusiasm and could uplift their spirits, even in a short period of time,” said Vicki.
Caring for others
One of their lesson plans concentrated on Paul, who wrote to the people of Thessalonica, “So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our own selves.”
The Fenskes asked the students to consider these questions:
• How do we care for people around us?
• How do we care for our Church and the work of God?
• How prepared are we to share the Gospel of God with others as Paul did?
They challenged the students to share the Gospel with others during the Lenten season, starting with their family and friends.
They invited the students to join them in watching the movie The Passion of The Christ on a Wednesday evening and share their time, talent, and treasure in making and distributing lasagna dinners on Palm Sunday.
The Fenskes asked them “to look at the interest of others before their self by becoming a servant of God and let this come from their own heart because God expects us to love and care unconditionally,” said Vicki.
Appreciation for their efforts
After the students delivered the meals, they came back to St. Luke, ate dinner together, and discussed their experiences. They reported that they really enjoyed the smiles and happiness on the faces of those who received the lasagna dinners. “The joy they showed the kids for their appreciation was very evident and this impressed the kids greatly,” said Vicki. “This opportunity proved to them that giving is better than receiving, especially if it is from the heart.”
Vicki added that the youth “were also surprised at how fast time went and they couldn’t believe they had fun.”
Pulvermacher said, “We have been receiving many, many thank you cards and calls. The recipients are so thankful for the good dinner and the students’ acts of kindness and their willingness to share.”
These young people have learned that they can indeed be the hands and feet of Christ in the world and make a difference in their community.