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Spiritual Retreats and Service


Our retreat program recognizes that each person is created, body and soul, in the image and likeness of God, and that discipleship is a lifelong calling.

None of us is a complete or perfect disciple. We don't pass a mysterious test and suddenly finish growing in faith. The spiritual life, like all of life, has highs and lows. Growing in our discipleship is a lifelong process, and retreats serve as reflection points along the journey. We retreat because Jesus set the example Himself, by retreating to out-of-the-way places to pray, alone with God. 

Through the sacraments, prayer, formation, and our retreat program, we seek to support the formation of each student in spirit, human flourishing, intellect, and in their pastoral needs.

Retreats count as a school day, and participation is required for high schoolers according to Diocesan policy. Students who miss their retreat for any reason —excused or unexcused — will be required to complete the material under the supervision of a pastoral ministry team member.

Here are the following retreat opportunities for each class:


The Christian Service program at Saint Joe provides students the opportunity to serve God, the Church and the world. 

Every student possesses unique gifts granted by God. At Saint Joe, we aim for students to discover their gifts, and to apply them in ways that benefit others, particularly the poor and marginalized. Students complete a minimum of 20 hours of unpaid service to non-profits annually, engaging in the real-life application of Catholic Social Teaching or enacting a Spiritual or Corporal Work of Mercy. We hope to develop a culture of service that extends well beyond a student's four years of high school, and that becomes a lifelong commitment for every graduate. 

Why is Service Required?

We serve because Jesus Christ served and called all who follow him to serve. "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all (Mark 9:35)." Our mission statement declares that Saint Joseph High School prepares students to "serve God, the Church, and the world." One of our animating principles, therefore, is to "serve with joy."

Our time and talents have been gifted to us so that we can give ourselves in service to others. Saint Joseph High School hopes to develop a heart for service within each student. Students are formed with a habit that enables them to incorporate service into their lives.

What & When are the Service Requirements at Saint Joseph High School?

All Saint Joseph High School students are required to complete 20 hours of Christian Service each academic year.  Each quarter, 5 total hours need to be completed and logged in MobileServe by the due date.   The grade associated with service is calculated into each student's GPA every quarter.  Service completed on or after Friday, June 2, 2023 applies to the 2023-2024 school year.  All hours completed beyond the 5 hour quarterly requirement roll over to the next quarter(s).  Hours do not roll over to the 2024-2025 school year.

These are the quarterly due dates for the completion and logging of all service:

·       Quarter 1: September 29th, 11:59 p.m.  All service done from June 2 to September 29 must be logged.  Minimum of 5 hours are due.

·       Quarter 2: December 8th, 11:59 p.m.  All service done from September 30 to December 8 must be logged.  Minimum of 5 additional hours are due for a total of 10 for the year.

·       Quarter 3: March 1st, 11:59 p.m.  All service done from December 9 to March 1 must be logged.  Minimum of 5 additional hours are due for a total of 15 for the year.

·       Quarter 4: May 10th, 11:59 p.m.  All service done from March 2 to May 10th must be logged.  Minimum of 5 additional hours are due for a total of 20 for the year.

Students are encouraged to make service a habitual part of their lives.  

·       The Aidan Short Service Award will be presented to all students who complete and log 40 hours of service.

·       The Saint Theresa of Calcutta Service Award will be presented to all students who complete and log 80 hours of service.

·       The Saint Joseph Service award will be awarded to the four students each year who complete and log the highest total number of hours of service for the year.  

Service Based Learning Requirements (SBL)  

SBL is required of all sophomores.  It is also required of Juniors and Seniors who transfer into Saint Joseph High School.  SBL fulfills one of three graduation requirements for the State of Indiana.  SBL has a total of 7 assignments involving reflection and a presentation of a final project.  These are done concurrently with the 20 hours of service.  These assignments can be found in the SBL course in Canvas.  This is also where assignments are submitted. Successful completion of SBL appears on a student's permanent transcript.

What Counts as Christian Service at Saint Joseph High School?

·       Service that directly correlates with the Works of Mercy 

·       Service that supports and advances the mission of Catholic education and formation at Saint Joe, at our feeder schools and parishes, and Catholic ministries in our area. 

·       Service that integrates the preferential option for the poor, an important part of Catholic Social Teaching.  

·       S.H.I.P. - Service that helps impact other people by their work in the following way(s):

o   Spiritual: Helping bring people to a closer relationship with God and the Church. (Examples: serving at Mass as servers, lectors, EMHC, cantors, choir, musicians, prayer leaders, assisting with retreats or religious camps, leadership in parish youth groups)

o   Human Development: Helping others grow in maturity, justice, balance, and discover or deepen personal gifts for the betterment of the world; and as persons created in the image and likeness of God. (Examples: tutoring, coaching, mentoring, “specialized” camp counseling, teaching practical life skills).

o   Intellectual: Helping others grow in their knowledge of the faith.  (Examples: vacation bible school, religious education, assisting with RCIA).

o   Pastoral: Pastoral ministry is the culmination of all formation. Students may serve others by mentoring/accompanying them in their journey toward lay leadership in the Church and school community.  Peer mentorship must be approved by one of the SJHS pastoral ministers, and will be overseen by them throughout the year.

Suggestions in finding opportunities to do service:

·       Look for opportunities to do service in MobileServe. Prioritize the time as opportunities become available.  

·       Develop the attitude that you want to be of service.  You are helping others.  It is not their job to help you, “get your hours in.”  As a result, find something ASAP.

·       You will be more successful if you commit to a place (example: after school care, Women’s Care Center, Logan Center etc.) for more than a minimum amount of time.  Some places like after school programs may even hire you once you complete your 20 hours.  Few places want to train you to do something for only a limited amount of work.  

·       Some places are open during business hours only (Food Bank).  

How you conduct yourself matters.  

·       Many sites have expectations for dress (cultivate culinary).  

·       It is appropriate to wear your school uniform in most cases.  

·       Leave your phone in your car.  The code of conduct for working with children in the feeder schools, for example, stipulates that you cannot use your phone.  To do so would disqualify you from being able to serve.  

·       Do not wear earbuds and listen to music.  Be attentive and engaged with the task and people around you.

·       Look to be helpful.  Anticipate things to do and what must be done next. Do not be idle.  

·       Remember #WEARESAINTJOE - You represent our school family when you are out in the community. Make us proud. Act in a way that you can be proud of yourself. Be good. Do good.

Pre-Approved Sites

These following activities are pre-approved for Service:

·       Assisting with catechesis or Christian religious education

·       Lector, MC, altar serving, cantor, choir, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, hospitality ministries at a parish. (Generally one hour)

·       Mission trips with parish

·       Vacation Bible School Volunteer

·       Service Programs and trips

·       Youth group leadership/planning (not just participation)

·       Fundraising activities for service projects and charities

·       Church/school cleaning, maintenance, and upkeep

·       Catholic school service, including:

o   Volunteer work in direct service to the educational and Catholic mission of Saint Joseph High School

o   Grade school service, such as After-School care, Tutoring, Field day, Volunteer coaching, direct help with children's activities like science fairs or plays, ICCL

·       Aidan's Masterpiece

·       Catholic Relief Services Club (CRS)

·       GREIA Tutoring

·       H.O.P.E. food drive / charitable initiatives hours served outside normal school hours

·       Right to Life Rosary (as part of an organized act of service)

·       March for Life in January in Washington, D.C. (will count for 10 hours of Service)

·       Saint Joseph High School Summer Camps

o   SJHS sports camps

o   SJHS arts/drama/tech/STEM camps

·       SECO

·       525 Foundation

·       A Rosie Place

·       All 4 Animals Rescue

·       Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County

·       Catholic Charities

·       Catholic Worker House

·       Center for the Homeless

·       Chiara Home, Inc.

·       Children's Dispensary, Inc. (A Place to be Me)

·       Christ Child Society

·       Common Goods Co-Operative Grocery

·       Cultivate Culinary

·       Dismas House of South Bend

·       El Campito, Inc.

·       Family and Children's Center

·       Food Bank of Northern Indiana

·       Girls on the Run

·       Habitat for Humanity

·       Hannah and Friends

·       Healthwin Specialized Care

·       Heartland Small Animal Rescue, Inc

·       Hope Ministries

·       Humane Society

·       Keith Gideon Community Outreach

·       La Casa de Amistad, Inc.

·       Logan Center

·       Michiana Down Syndrome

·       Michiana Performing and Adaptive Arts Community

·       Nursing Homes 

·       Our Lady of the Road

·       Pet Refuge

·       Prairie Winds Nature Farm

·       Real Services, Inc

·       Recover Michiana

·       Reins of Life, Inc.

·       Right to Life

·       Ronald McDonald House Charities (Preparing food or baskets can only be done according to sign up on specific dates in the Saint Joe MobileServe; and only one time every year)  

·       Saints and Scholars Camp in the Summer at Notre Dame

·       Santa on the Race Christmas Charity Event

·       SAWs - Servant at Work, Inc.

·       South Bend Animal Care & Control

·       South Bend Community School - SNAP Program

·       South Bend Education Foundation Mentor Program

·       Special Olympics

·       St. Joseph County Parks

·       St. Vincent De Paul Society of St. Joseph County

·       Summer Camp Counseling

·       SunBurst Marathon - volunteering

·       Sweet Pea Foundation

·       Together for the Long Run

·       Unity Gardens

·       Women's Care Center (only if training is completed at the beginning of the year) 

Any training associated with an approved site also counts as service!

At a Glance… Examples of Things that Don’t Count

·       Coaching, assisting with club/travel sports that are not accessible to the poor.  

·       Work that benefits wealthy organizations whose membership or services are not accessible to the poor.

·       Can never include monetary compensation.

o   "I worked at Crumble" or other related wage jobs with compensation will not count.  

o   After school care for which you are paid does not count.  After school care for which you volunteer does count.  

·       Cannot be directed towards or directly benefit your own family.

o   Your service should not at all be connected with your family's jobs, work, businesses, activities, services, or normal duties.  Example: cutting your grandma’s grass is part of your familial duty.  

·       Must be done during your personal time outside of school.

o   Any service done by taking time off of school to complete service will not count.

o   You must have special permission given by Deacon Andy or Mrs. Baglow to use Flex Period to complete service hours.

·       Should not involve typical activities that are part of the normal functioning of your own clubs.  Examples:

o   Quiz Bowl members setting up for a tournament does not count. 

o   Science club students cleaning lab equipment does not count. 

o   Theater students participating in set construction does not count.

·       Cannot be done in direct service or connection to a political campaign. 

·       Cannot be done for a program or cause whose mission is in opposition to the Catholic Church and its teachings. (Interpretation of this guideline is entirely within the purview of the pastoral ministry team.)

To work elsewhere other than these above approved locations, you need to seek approval from Pastoral Ministry prior to engaging in that service.  MANDATORY Pre-Approval Form Students who fail to obtain permission from Deacon Andy or Mrs. Baglow prior to service at a non-approved site, will NOT be awarded service hours.

How do I log my hours?

1.     Go to MobileServe.  

2.    Log in using Google and your Saint Joe high email login.  

3.    Click on “Log Hours” on the home screen as you scroll down.

4.    Click on the calendar and choose the date you did the service.  

5.    Enter the number of hours you served on the date.

6.    Enter the Category-type of your service.  

7.    Please explain what you did in detail! Generic statements like "I planned events" or "I did tasks" or “I helped people”  don't convey the nature of the service and won't be counted.

8.   Enter the name of the supervisor and get their email address.  

9.    Common problems with correctly logging hours into MobileServe:

1.     Not logging your hours within 24 hours of doing your service.

2.    Using your private email, rather than your Saint Joe email.

3.    Not entering the date the service was done and just using the date when the service was being logged.

4.    Not describing what you did with detail.

5.    Not perfectly accurately entering your supervisor's email.  

6.    Not checking within a week to make sure your supervisor confirmed the hours.

7.    Not kindly reminding the supervisor to confirm your hours if they had not done so within a week. 

8.   If any of your hours are not confirmed because of one of the above reasons by a due date, your hours will not count for that quarter.  

Important points:

·       Must be verified independently by an on-site supervisor connected to the organization.

·       Service hours will not be counted until your supervisor verifies them by e-mail through MobileServe.  

·       Parents cannot verify service done for organizations they are not directly in charge of.

Please see Deacon Andy in Pastoral Ministry with your computer to resolve logging issues.