Stepping into St. Anthony’s Shrine on Monday felt completely different from the other times I had come in. Having been familiar with the shrine for a few years, I recalled each time I had dropped in for confession, which I remembered being offered almost continuously throughout the day, or just a quiet place to pray before a mini church mission day of handing out socks to the homeless. Each time I had been there, I marveled at the beautiful and peaceful place the church was and how many impressive ministries they had. I never imagined I would one day be a part of the team.

My name is Jessica Vozella and I am an intern for ministry outreach from the College of the Holy Cross. Already, being here has been the beginning of a journey. I have met brothers, priests, staff members and my fellow interns, stuck countless labels to the back of prayer cards to be handed out for the feast day, and helped unload over 10,000 pounds of food for the Food Center from their bi-weekly delivery. It has been a bit of “baptism by fire” as George, a volunteer for Bread on the Common, described my experience, and I have been a little lost, a tad overwhelmed, yet completed welcomed by everyone I have met. I have learned the importance of dignity, safety, and respect and find myself being more conscious in the way I speak and think about my fellow brothers and sisters who are on different paths than me. I’ve learned that the Shrine truly is a place where all are welcome, especially those who “don’t feel welcome anywhere else,” and I am so excited to continue working here, meeting new people, and experiencing many new things over the course of the summer.