Committed To Serve
By Jackie Hart
Special to GoHolyCross.com
When incoming freshmen arrive at Holy Cross they are asked three questions: “Who Am I? Who Do I Want To Become? Who Do I Want To Be For Others?” At that time, graduation seems a long way off, and many freshmen are more concerned with making friends than finding their calling. However, when the spring of senior year rolls around, many students are able to look back and reflect on how they can answer these questions, and decide if their plans for after Mount St. James will further their mission. For men's lacrosse seniors Liam Driscoll and Parker Greiwe, their mission has only just begun.
Service has always been a big component of the lives of Driscoll and Greiwe. Before Holy Cross, they heard it preached from their families, parishes and high schools. “Service is one part of my life that I try to enhance. It's a passion for me and my family,” said Greiwe. For example, Greiwe and his family worked in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, which taught him that it's the little things that matter—something he hopes to find in a future profession.
An Indian Hill, Ohio native, Greiwe says his father in particular has been a huge inspiration in the community and in his own life. “My dad really strove to be active in the community," said Greiwe. "He's been teaching me from a young age the importance of helping out, which led me to find a college that valued this."
Driscoll, a Hingham, Mass. native, attended Xaverian Brothers high school where he learned how important it is to serve the community. Whether it was his time working in a nursing home, running a toy donation drive with friends this past Christmas, or leading up to his newest position as a CCD teacher in Shrewsbury, he has kept this lesson close. “Faith and service have always been a crucial part of my life, thanks to my parish and high school at home. Now teaching CCD to the kids is a great opportunity to not just give back but keep the faith going, pass on what I learned to the younger generation, so these younger kids will continue to serve,” said Driscoll.
For these reasons, Greiwe and Driscoll are stunning examples of why it is important to teach the value of service and volunteer work to the community at a young age.
SERVICE AT HOME AND ABROAD
During the summer, while most students were working and interning in Boston and New York, Greiwe was changing lives in Lima and Cuzco, Peru. Through the MedLife program, Greiwe was able to spend time traveling to impoverished areas and setting up mobile clinics with doctors, pharmacists, OB-GYNs, optometrists, dental hygienists and education stations. “I heard about MedLife through a doctor that I work with. I was looking for volunteer experience with medicine because that's really my main goal for the future,” said Greiwe.
He knew the work he was doing there was making an impact, but it wasn't so easy. He and his MedLife teammates first had the challenge of helping their patients understand their modern medicine. “There was a lot of skepticism about Western Medicine, so knowing that it's very unfamiliar to them, we worked with a lot of the community leaders in order to make the patients feel like they're in a safe environment, and allowed them to know we're here to help them,” said Greiwe.
However, once they were able to overcome this barrier, the rest came easy. Whether it was discussing different topics in medicine or playing sports with the kids, lifelong friendships and bonds formed immediately. “My favorite part was the people," said Greiwe. "Meeting the kids and educating them, being able to talk and get to know them was great and helping out was an added bonus." Having an experience like this right before his senior year certainly helped him reaffirm his desire to serve the world.
This past October break, when many students returned home or went on vacation, Driscoll spent his time on an immersion trip, volunteering on a farm through Agape Community in Ware, Mass., learning not only how to exercise sustainability, but how to better understand and practice his Christian values. “It was an eye-opening experience for a lot of reasons," said Driscoll. "One thing that was special about the experience was that I was living the faith, I got to learn from people who are true examples of living the faith and what the roots of Christianity are supposed to be."
During his days at the farm, Driscoll was given the opportunity to form relationships with other Holy Cross students on his immersion trip, as he knew Holy Cross is a special place to grow spiritually and wanted to utilize that aspect in his final year on the Hill. As a Religious Studies major, Driscoll understood this was a great opportunity to learn about his faith, see his faith in action and work on becoming a better Christian.
Both Greiwe and Driscoll have been four-year members of the men's lacrosse team, a program that has seen tremendous growth including earning its first bid to the Patriot League Tournament in the 2016 season. While the team puts in a lot of work on the field, it is their off field bonding through service that has really made them a family. All members of the team are part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, where each athlete is matched with a “little” at the Canterbury School. “We meet our littles once a week, to help them with their homework and then play board games or sports with them, and through all this, you create a really strong bond with your little,” said Driscoll.
Greiwe echoed that praise of the program saying “Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization and it really shows you how many people are in need while raising awareness for a lot of social justice issues."
Since the team enjoys its experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters, they take it a step further by annually participating in the Rodman Ride For Kids event, a cycling fundraiser that takes place each fall and helps the Crusaders raise money for their little brothers. Unlike many other fundraisers, the Crusaders are able to see the direct impact of their efforts in the lives of their friends at the Canterbury School. “Rodman Ride is incredible,” said Driscoll. “First because it's a fantastic bonding experience. Then, you walk into the starting line surrounded by people who are on the same mission as you, and seeing how it contributes to the Big Brothers program is something really special.”
For Greiwe, his fourth and final time at Rodman Ride was particularly special, as his dad got to join him on the 25-mile bike ride. “We've been participating in Rodman Ride for many years, and this year was probably the most special year for me, as my dad was able to ride and share in the community service with the team,” said Greiwe. “It's a fantastic experience, and they're a fantastic organization,” said Greiwe.
Even after Driscoll, Greiwe and their fellow seniors graduate, the team's commitment to service will remain essential.
REMEMBERING FATHER K
This past December, the Holy Cross community lost someone very special, Rev. Anthony J. Kuzniewski,S.J., a professor of history and chaplain of many athletic teams over the years. As chaplain of the men's lacrosse team, his presence and spiritual guidance made so much of an impact that the lacrosse field was named after him just last April. Although he is not physically present, the lessons he taught the student-athletes will live on as his legacy. “Father K. was definitely an inspiration to me as a soldier for Christ. He helped me understand the value of my commitment to service and became my spiritual role model,” said Greiwe.
Among many other things, Father Kuzniewski played a crucial part in helping student-athletes understand the connection between faith and sports. “For lacrosse, one thing Father K. would say is that if you play the game with all your mind, heart, soul and strength, then you're honoring God, and to do something you love with everything you have is to honor God and Jesuit values,” said Driscoll.
In his duties as the team chaplain, he made sure faith and spirituality were central to pregame and post game prayers and masses. “When you're next to Father K. you can't help but have these spiritual experiences, whether from a pregame homily or just a conversation about your own life," said Driscoll. "His incredible faith rubbed off on us, and he helped me form my groundwork for faith and service."
LIFE AFTER MOUNT ST. JAMES
As the springtime rolls around, seniors across campus are busy trying to make sure they have plans for after their time at Holy Cross. For Greiwe and Driscoll, they are not exactly sure where their paths lead, but they know that service will always remain a major component. As an Anthropology major who plans to stay in the Northeast and work in pharmaceuticals for two years before graduate school, Greiwe knows he wants a career that makes a difference in peoples' lives. “I want to either attend medical or dentistry school, and after seeing how important these services are from my MedLife experience, I know I want a career that benefits and serves other people, not just me,” said Greiwe.
Driscoll also wants a career that will give back to the community, though he thinks he's best suited in the classroom. “After graduation, I hope to do two years of service through teaching, ideally in a low-income school or impoverished area,” said Driscoll. “I want to take what I learned here through classes regarding social justice and apply them to my life through my occupation,” said Driscoll.
Before Greiwe and Driscoll can reach these goals, they've got one more thing to do: bring the men's lacrosse team to new heights this season, reaching for a Patriot League Championship. The men's lacrosse team opens up its 2017 campaign on Saturday, Feb. 11 against Providence at 2:05 p.m at Kuzniewski Field at the Luth Athletic Complex.
The Holy Cross Athletics Team Shop will be open in the Luth Athletic Complex for the season opener. So be sure to check out all of your favorite Crusader gear!
You can get the latest news and results on the men's lacrosse team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts go here. You can also follow the men's lacrosse team on Twitter at HCrossMLax, Facebook, and Instagram.