The Holy Cross Mission Center is pleased to share this interview with Caden Reader (pictured left), a student at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, who recently participated in the SERVE (Students Engaged in Reflective Volunteer Experiences) trip to Bangladesh led by Br. Jimmy Henke, C.S.C., and King’s Campus Ministry Community Outreach Coordinator Kelly Gibbons.
HCMC: Which ministry most inspired you? Describe that ministry and what you experienced there.
Caden: The ministry which most inspired me was that of a very small village which had very little to their name. We attended a mass in their little chapel, which was the size of a living room space, and just hearing their devotion and sincerity in their singing voices was heartwarming. They played their own music and everyone, including the kids, sang all the songs throughout the mass. Not only this, but during their cultural program they held for us directly following the mass, they said that they had very little to offer to us and they apologized, but they were able to provide us with a beautiful array of flowers they picked. What I took from this is that it isn’t about what you offer to someone physically or monetarily, but it is the love and hospitality which really matters in this world and how we are all able to come together, understand each other’s struggles, and worship as a community.
HCMC: What did you realize about yourself from your experience of Holy Cross missions?
Caden: What I realized about myself is that your personality is what truly matters, and it isn’t the money or objects that you have. Your love for others is what really makes an impact on this world, and I have made it a mission of mine to live a life which I truly impact others with love and kindness rather than supplying them with monetary objects that essentially have no real effect on them.
HCMC: What did you realize about God from your experience of Holy Cross missions?
Caden: I realized that God is such an important part of not only my life, but is so crucial to those who struggle with economical issues, poverty, and much more like those in Bangladesh do. The church is one of their only constants in life and provides them with such a greater value than just a belief. This in turn has led me to grow in my faith and religious experiences by opening my understanding of other cultures and people who believe in God.
HCMC: What details from your trip do you want to remember 10 years from now?
Caden: I wish to remember the names and interactions I had with those I met over in Bangladesh, most importantly the kids. I had such a great time and felt like I had such an important impact on all of the kids I was lucky enough to interact with. For example, I taught a group of very little children to play rock paper scissors with absolutely no language involved. Also, one little girl which I will never ever forget, Julianna, was a child in a small jungle village bordering India who never left my side and even waited outside the door for me to finish my lunch. We had such a blast playing together, walking through the village while she held my hand, and watching her smile and hearing her laugh was something I will never forget.