MOUNT CARMEL - When Bishop Ronald Gainer confirms the nine eighth-grade students from Divine Redeemer later this month, he will anoint them with the aromatic oil known as chrism and the words "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit."

On Saturday, the young people were the gift when they gave their time and efforts to perform a variety of small, but much-appreciated tasks for shut-ins of the parish. Students found the few hours they spent at homes of fellow parishioners spiritually rewarding.

"The best part of this project was seeing all the happy faces," said Emilee Barnhardt.

Another participant, Chloe Smith, was equally enthusiastic. "This was a fun experience and I really enjoyed helping the elderly in our parish," she said.

"One of the hallmarks of outreach in the earliest days of the first outreach to the poor, widows and orphans," said the Rev. Martin O. Moran III, Divine Redeemer pastor, who originated the project. "What a wonderful service project for our confirmation students and their parents to continue that great tradition of assisting the elderly in our local community," said the pastor. "The Mount Carmel area is blessed to have so many amazing young people living in our community."

Nine confirmants, chaperoned and assisted by their parents, went to the homes of 21 elderly parishioners where they performed a variety of services. Project coordinators were eighth-grade teachers Mary Sawicki and Esther Fegley. The shut-ins were notified and given an opportunity to complete a work order sheet which included: installation of smoke alarms in their bedrooms, changing batteries in existing smoke detectors, changing porch light bulbs, power washing the front porch and siding, washing the front porch windows, sweeping the sidewalks in front of their properties, raking up any debris that might have accumulated over the winter and putting out their porch furniture.

The goal was to make the life of the parish shut-ins a little easier and to assure them that they are valued as parishioners. Divine Redeemer parishioners donated all the supplies.

"This project set an example of how all of us, young and old, can give testimony to the Christian practice of serving others," added another participant. Each student is expected to complete 20 hours of community service in compliance with the confirmation guidelines. Divine Redeemer students fulfilled this by volunteering to be altar servers in the parish. To complete the number of hours required, all agreed to perform Saturday's project. Mia Kaminsky, another confirmant, summed up the four hours of service. "This project made me feel one with the community, knowing that I could make a difference by helping someone in need," she said.