While the weather may have been freezing outside, several dozen Redding teenagers — dressed in gold crowns and colorful robes — worked up a sweat as they cooked and served a hot breakfast to more than 150 parishioners at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Redding.
The event took place on Sunday, Jan. 7, to recognize Three Kings Day, or the Feast of the Epiphany, which was on Jan. 6.
The breakfast cost $6 and consisted of pancakes, sausage, coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, and hot chocolate.
The teens served breakfast in two shifts, with more than 80 parishioners attending each. The church held two worship services as well, in between the two seatings.
The teens, who are seventh and eighth graders in the church’s religious education classes, were volunteering as part of their required 20 hours of community service for their confirmation.
There are 26 eighth graders and 37 seventh graders in the class.
Redding resident Jeanine Herman, director of religious education at the church, said the breakfast is a social event “to promote the community within our parish.”
“We always break even,” she said. “Whatever money we get that’s in excess, we put toward corporal works of mercy projects,” she said.
These projects include feeding and clothing the hungry, such as coat drives and making meals for the Dorothy Day Hospitality House.
“We are doing this to raise awareness and money for those in need,” said 13-year-old Leo Houser. “The kids make the whole breakfast.”
It’s Leo’s second year volunteering at the breakfast.
Joey Cordoni, 13, said he likes seeing the faces of the kids he serves.
“I like to see them happy,” he said.
Alex Czerkawski, 13, said, “I like helping other people to stay warm.”
“I think it’s good to help others,” said 12-year-old Matthew Butera as he walked around, asking people wanted they wanted to eat.
This is the third year Matthew has volunteered at Three Kings Day. “It gives you a good feeling,” he said, adding that he likes getting the chance to talk with people while they eat their breakfast.
Aside from the breakfast tables, a rectangular arts and crafts table was set up for young children. The teenage volunteers were supervising the crafts.
Amy Morris was eating pancakes with her 8-year-old twins, Henry and William. Her oldest son, Karl, 12, was one of the volunteers. This is her first year at the breakfast.
“I think this is a great community experience and is very important for the kids,” Morris said. “It helps them give back. Rather than having them focus on themselves like many kids their age do, cooking, serving and entertaining teaches them responsibility.”
Redding resident Barbara McGuigan said she thinks the pancake breakfast is “fabulous.” She has been coming to it every year since she can remember.
“The food is very good. The service is absolutely excellent,” McGuigan said. “The children are caring and courteous. It’s very uplifting to see the generosity of the children.”
According to pastor Joseph Cervero, the church on Black Rock Turnpike has held a Three Kings Breakfast for at least 30 years.
St. Patrick Church was established in 1847 and has more than 540 families.
Three Kings Day
This holiday marks the 12th day of Christmas. It is a Christian feast day that recognizes the biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the Three Kings, who are also referred to as the Three Wise Men.
According to Cervero, seven days after the birth of Jesus, the Three Kings traveled to Bethlehem with three gifts for Jesus: gold, frankincense (incense) and myrrh (an oil).
“Gold represents Jesus’ kingship, frankincense represents the Kings’ divinity and myrrh represents the time of his death,” Cervero said.
“The feast signified to the world that Jesus Christ came for everyone — not just the Jewish community, but the Gentile community as well,” he said.