JFK Hospitality Service is a unique program offered through the Department of Campus Ministry at St. John’s. This program truly reflects the Vincentian spirit of compassion and service by offering the opportunity to students to serve ill pilgrims traveling from all over the United States. This experience allows volunteers to interact with the elderly, wounded veterans, and/or disable men, women, or children. Each pilgrim has his/her own stories and, by listening to them, volunteers come to understand why the pilgrims do the journey to Lourdes.
Together, volunteers will travel from St. John’s University to greet the pilgrims arriving at different terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport. They will assist pilgrims by helping them transition from their arrival Terminal to their departure Terminal at Air France Ticket Counter. Due to airline regulations, many of the pilgrims are unable to travel with their own wheelchair. St. John’s University Campus Ministry will provide wheelchairs so that volunteers assist best the pilgrims until they check in for their outgoing flight to Lourdes, France.
A week later, the pilgrims will be returning from Lourdes to New York and will need a similar assistance to make the transition from their arrival Terminal to their departure Terminal. What is so special about this service is that the volunteers will be able to greet the pilgrims who, after going on the journey to La Grotte, were emotionally and spiritually transformed. Connecting flights at JFK Airport could be confusing and scary for many people. Our accompaniment will provide support and peace of mind to the group of pilgrims who are traveling.
As with all Vincentian service, the students reflect on their experience as they return back to campus. This reflection brings together St. Vincent’s own practice of reflecting and praying upon the experience so that the service may take a deeper meaning and purpose within the volunteers’ lives.
For more information or upcoming JFK Lourdes Hospitality service opportunities, please contact Campus Ministry at 718-990-6255 or stop by our office in Marillac Hall Room 239.