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 | By Katie Helland, Director of Communications, Archbishop Mitty High School

What Would Jesus Do?

A Childhood Lesson Takes on New Meanings

What does it mean to live a life of service inspired by Jesus today?

That’s the question one group, made up of Archbishop Mitty High School faculty and staff members, attempted to answer during a recent Saturday at Sacred Heart Community in downtown San Jose where we volunteered to distribute hundreds of pounds of meat and vegetables to the needy.


This activity is one of three opportunities offered to Mitty employees with the aim of gathering together in faith. The Day of Service begins in the chapel where community prayer is held. Afterwards, we all  set out to volunteer at different nonprofits throughout San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.

I haven’t used the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” since my catechism classes at St. Catherine’s Church in Morgan Hill, but spending a day serving others is exactly the answer to that proverbial question. Service Day is at the core of Archbishop Mitty High School’s mission to view every individual as made in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:26).

Jesus was a walking example of service to all; to lepers, to those who were sick or differently abled, and to anyone who was marginalized. He saw the face of God in everyone and he served everyone.

Pope Francis asks us to do the same. Recently, speaking from Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, the Holy Father told visitors, “If we want to follow Jesus, we must follow the path he himself traced out, the path of service.  Our fidelity to the Lord depends on our willingness to serve.”  The Day of Service is the chance to put these words into action.

When we arrived, the volunteer coordinator at Sacred Heart Community Service instructed us on how to conduct ourselves during our four-hour service mission. They emphasized the importance of greeting clients and engaging with them as we handed out groceries. Wearing plastic gloves, we began preparing food for the clients arriving shortly. My small group, which included two Spanish teachers, grouped and bagged carrots, potatoes, and cucumbers into bags to hand out.

Then the clients started to arrive.  We encountered pregnant mothers, single parents, large families, and the elderly. We did our best to offer our packaged fresh produce. Sometimes the words came out in English, other times in Spanish,“¿Quiere zanahorias? ¿Berenjena?”and sometimes we simply gestured. This led to smiles and laughter when communicating simply wasn’t going well.

Despite its challenges, our staff Day of Service remains my favorite faith development day because it is so hands-on. We finished the day, and our backs hurt from lifting hundreds of pounds of food, but the results of our labor were tangible: everyone in line received groceries.  We showed up, along with the other Sacred Heart community members, and served others, just like Jesus did.  We became closer to our colleagues and to God through this special service opportunity which gave us a chance to laugh, smile, and reflect as we encountered God in the face of everyone we met, especially in our neighbors, just like Jesus did and would do.


After this submission, the Valley Catholic was informed that Kate Helland has transitioned to a new job and we wish her well!

¡Lee este artículo en español! (Spanish Language Version)