Currently, I find myself halfway through my second year as a Lasallian Volunteer. After serving my first year at Bishop Loughlin, I decided to change service sites and begin my second year at St. Peter’s Boys High School I could not be happier with my decision. The new challenges I have faced have proven to strengthen me in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the start of the year. One of my favorite aspects of what I do at St. Peter’s is helping to coach the hockey team. I am one of four coaches for the team, but I am the only one who works at the school. This creates an opportunity for me to check up on my players on an almost daily basis. So far, coaching has been a great blessing, partly because I am back around the sport I grew up playing, but mainly because I can serve as an example to these young men.
The realization hit me this year that a big role in my presence here at St. Peter’s is my presence both as an educator and a big brother. Being the youngest of four in my family, this is a new role for me, but it has been an important one nonetheless. My goal is to be able to serve as an example on the ice, but also as a spiritual example in the classroom.
However, the whole idea of serving as an example as a big brother can be a daunting task. On the ice, I am faced with the fact that it is my first year of coaching hockey. Even after playing hockey my whole life, coaching and playing are very different. In the classroom, it’s inevitable not every activity will work well and not everything I say will strike home the way I planned. But this is all part of the process. Being an example to others does not mean you are perfect. The support of the Brothers, my coworkers, and other coaches around me is where I find the strength to do what is needed.
In my time at St. Peter’s I have found myself drawing off my own experience of continuing to discern and applying to the seminary for the Diocese of Arlington. This year, I started up a discernment group at St. Peter’s, and the support it received from enthusiastic students greatly surprised me. It is my hope that my example serves as a witness as a young Catholic man to the young men on the team and at the school.
Last year I was hesitant to leave Bishop Loughlin, especially the students I served there, but this year continues to be an affirmation that I am where God wants me to be, both serving at St. Peter’s and having applied to the seminary. Often times we do not want to leave what is familiar or comfortable, but if we can trust in God’s will for our lives, we will end up where He wants us to be.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts… Forever.
Jeff Petroski is a 2nd year LV serving at St. Peter’s Boys High School in Staten Island, New York. He is a 2013 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University.