Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2021-2022 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters to them. Chris Zaragoza serves at the Father McKenna Center as a Case Manager Assistant. Today, he reflects on the importance of faith, family, and social justice. 

This year of volunteer work and community life with the Franciscan Mission Service has allowed me to reflect on my personal life. It has given me the opportunity to understand what matters most to me as an individual and why. There are different things that matter to me as a young adult, but the most important ones would be family, faith, and social justice issues. 

My faith in God is a major component of value in my life. It has been a solid foundation that has sustained me even in the most difficult moments. Through my Christian beliefs, I have learned more about my true identity, origin, and the responsibility I share with the rest of humanity. It has allowed me to put things into perspective and has given me ethical values like, “Do unto others as you would have them done unto you,” or that every life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death. 

Growing up, my four siblings and I had the privilege of being raised by loving, hard working parents. We also had the love and support of our extended family. As a Mexican American, family has always been important and this concept was instilled in me from an early age. Now that I am older, I have understood the importance of family relationships. Personally, I believe these relationships are distinct from others since they provide comfort, understanding, and a unique closeness. Even though we sometimes have disagreements, at the end of the day, we have a strong love and intimacy with one another.

Various social justice issues such as racial equality, immigration reform, and climate change are very important to me. My parents taught me to help the most marginalized and to take initiative. I have refused to wait on others to make a change and for that reason, I am part of various social justice organizations. There is a great feeling that comes from helping someone or making a difference. Currently, I have been able to serve at the Father McKenna Center as a Case Manager Assistant. 

Each one of us will have different things that are important to us. But in reflecting on what matters most to us, we are capable of learning more about ourselves. All of this can allow us to put each of our personal lives into perspective. 

Reflection: I invite you to look interiorly and see what matters most to you as an individual, for these emotions and passions remind us of our shared humanity.