In preparation for her Confirmation, eighth grade student María Angel decided to do something she loves and to use it to help others.

For the social justice project required for Confirmation students, Angel, who attends College Park Academy in Riverdale, Maryland, and is a parishioner of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Seat Pleasant, led an effort to crochet scarves and deliver them to people in the area who are homeless and often spend time outside in the cold. She also invited the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary to join her in the project, so they all packed lunches with a special note to deliver with the scarves on Feb. 16.

“My service project deals with corporal and spiritual works of mercy,” Angel explained. “It connects to Confirmation because I think as you are being confirmed [and] you are growing closer to God, you should also be proclaiming that to the world, not just keeping it to myself.”

María Angel delivers a homemade scarf. (Photo courtesy of María Angel-Selden)

Father Damian Shadwell, the parish’s pastor, noted that in leading others to participate in her project with her, Angel was doing something similar to women like St. Frances Xavier Cabrini or St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who gathered followers to help them carry out their ministry.

“That’s what makes a saint,” he said.

Angel’s mom, María Angel-Selden, recalled that as the group was preparing the meals and the scarves, a young girl who was helping out by making a card told Angel, “I want to do something like you when I grow up.”

With the help of her family, Angel exceeded her goal of 20 scarves and made 27 in total. Her Confirmation sponsor, Carol McCreary-Maddox, who accompanied Angel as they handed out the scarves, noted that she was inspired by how many of the people receiving the scarves planned not to keep it for themselves, but rather to give it to someone else whom they thought would need it.

“I always like helping others,” said Angel. “Before I did this project I told my mom, ‘When I grow up, I want to do something that helps the world.’”

She noted that her family often watches the Spanish news channel, which features stories about how people in Central America are helping their countries. She drew inspiration from wanting to be like those individuals.

“I always tell my children that sometimes we complain about what we don’t have, but we have to be grateful for what we do have, because some people really have nothing,” said Angel’s mom. She noted that if they see someone asking for assistance, they always stop and give whatever they have in the car. One time, Angel asked her mom to turn the car around so she could give someone the salad that she had planned to eat for lunch.

“When they see people coming around – they know God manifests Himself in people who give them anything,” said Angel’s mom. “…They realize that they are not forgotten.”

Some of the scarves made by Angel and her family and friends. (Photo courtesy of María Angel-Selden)

Angel hopes to continue delivering scarves about once a year, with the help of her friends, family, and fellow parishioners. She is already very involved in the parish and helps out a lot with Sunday school. When the parish’s pastor presented the candidates for Confirmation to the parish, Angel had a journal where she asked parishioners to write about their experience with Confirmation and share any advice they had for her.

Angel chose St. Maria Goretti as her Confirmation saint, because “she had a very mature mind and was able to forgive someone who did something very bad to her.” Angel also noted that St. Maria Goretti came from a poor family and “always smiled.”

“I’m excited that I am going to be fully initiated into the Church,” said Angel, noting that afterward she can “move forward to do other things to contribute to the Church.”