MOUNT CARMEL – Mother Maria Kaupas Center has hosted its first college-affiliated group in a service visit to the Mount Carmel area.
The group, which consisted of three students, a recent graduate, the Catholic chaplain and an adult associate from the Catholic Campus Ministry at Millersville University spent the weekend of Oct. 16-18 at the Kaupas Center.
While in Mount Carmel, the group did volunteer work at the food pantry, located in the former First Congregational United Church of Christ on Market Street, picked up litter at St. John the Baptist and St. Peter cemeteries and ministered to and did small household tasks for four Mount Carmel senior citizens.
A principal goal of the Mother Maria Kaupas Center, which is a ministry of Divine Redeemer Church, is to give college students an opportunity to carry out community service projects.
The Kaupas Center, located on West Avenue, was dedicated last April in honor of Mother Maria Kaupas, a Lithuanian immigrant and the founder of the Sisters of St. Casimir religious congregation. The congregation’s first mission was the establishment of Holy Spirit School in Mount Carmel in the early 20th century for children of Lithuanian descent.
Kaupas, who died in Chicago in 1940. Is a candidate for eventual canonization as a saint. She has already been declared “venerable,” the first step in the process.
The Millersville group’s lodging and transportation expenses were funded through a grant from Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
Catholic campus ministers from throughout the Diocese of Harrisburg met at the Kaupas Center in September and were encouraged by the Rev. Martin O. Moran, pastor of Divine Redeemer Church, to utilize the center as a base for community service visits. A list of potential volunteer service opportunities in the area has been prepared by Mount Carmel Downtown Inc., and may be viewed on the Kaupas Center website,
The Kaupas Center itself is the former St. Peter’s Convent. For many years, the convent was home to Felician sisters who taught in St. Peter’s School and later at Holy Spirit School and Our Lady of Lourdes School.
Moran hopes the Millersville students’ visit will be the first of many service trips by college students. Another campus ministry group from two other colleges located within the diocese is considering visiting the center in January.