Mary’s profound “Yes” led me to service

By: Jessica McCarthy ‘17

Hello, my name is Jessica McCarthy and I was a part of the 2017 graduating class at Cardinal O’Hara High School. The foundation of my Catholic school education sparked my interest and led me to explore opportunities within service. During my sophomore year at The Catholic University of America I said “yes” to spending my spring break in Kingston, Jamaica on a mission trip.

Not only did we practice ministry of presence and tutor kids, we learned about the poor and marginalized casted away by society. In returning to the United States I made an effort to seek more opportunities to serve and learn about the populations around me. I became a part of the community service team at my university and had the opportunity to make serving food to those experiencing homelessness a weekly practice. God started to invite me to take on opportunities that were outside of my comfort zone. I started a faith and service club at The Busch School of Business and right before the pandemic, I was in the works of creating and leading a business school mission trip to El Salvador.

Saying “yes” to going to a third world country almost two years ago was very scary but it was so rewarding and life changing. Before moving to Washington, DC to attend college, I lived in Springfield, PA my whole life. I had little exposure to different types of populations and I was not appreciative of the fact that I would not have to worry about if I would have a roof over my head, if I would have a meal for dinner, or if I was getting a good education. I encourage anyone reading this to start small, God will meet you where you are. Service is so broad. It could be asking someone on the streets how their day is going or asking what their name is. Gandhi once said, “ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ” I feel the most connected with Jesus when I am serving and I propose to you, no matter where you are in life to have courage to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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