Encounter is the DCC’s immersive service and social justice program that involves service opportunities, educational programming, and advocacy. This call to encounter God in service of others is central to our life of discipleship, so our programming is open to all students

Each semester we will dig deep into a theme, exploring how our Catholic faith calls us to make a difference in the world. We will partner with local nonprofits in Durham to serve our community, take the time to educate ourselves about areas of injustice, and find concrete ways that we can better love our neighbors.

Read more about our themes for each semester.

Fall 2022: Dignity

This semester, the Duke Catholic Center is engaging in service and learning that acknowledges and protects the dignity of the human person. Our service projects seek to not just provide support, but rather to see the humanity in every person. Join us as we go to the margins of Durham.

Spring 2022: Family

Supporting families is not a political or partisan question, it’s a our call as Catholics. This semester, we are working to create generation change in communities in Durham and throughout the world. We will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity to make home ownership possible for low-income families. We will be partnering with Catholic Relief Services to support refugees from Afghanistan. We will get the chance to not only serve, but also to learn more about the lives of others. Here’s a quick preview of what we’ve got going on:

  • Bamboo Clean Up with Reality Ministries, January 17, 9am-11am
  • March for Life, January 21st*
  • Mobile Distribution with the Food Pantry, January 28, 4pm-7:30pm
  • Mobile Distribution with the Food Pantry, February 18, 4pm-7:30pm
  • No Longer Strangers: Prayer Service for Immigration, February 24, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Diaper Packing for the Diaper Bank, February 26, 10:30am-12pm
  • Welcoming the Stranger: A Presentation on Afghan Refugee Resettlement, March 21, 7pm
  • Mobile Distribution with the Food Pantry, March 25, 4pm-7:30pm
  • Habitat for Humanity Build, March 26, 8:30am-11:30am


If you’re interested in getting involved, email MyLan Metzger.

*to learn more about why we are pro-life, read here.


Winter Break Service Trip

Mision Maya


Spend part of your winter break with the Duke Catholic Center serving the indigenous Mayan communities in Mexico. During the trip, we will have the opportunity to support the rural Catholic communities in Mexico, helping to construct and remodel chapels and community buildings and visiting local references. This is a special opportunity to build partnerships with a different Catholic community and learn more about the needs of Catholics around the world. We will depart from Durham for Mexico (via Charlotte and Cancun) on January 3, 2023 and arrive on January 10, 2023. Registration deadline is October 1. A $100 deposit is also due on this date.

Sign up here

Spring Break Service Trip



Cultivate is our spring break service trip that will take you around the country, dive deep into communities, and strengthen your prayer life. We’ve all heard that St. Francis loved animals. He even brokered a peace deal between a wolf and an angry village! But let’s unpack this more and learn about what St. Francis offers us in an age of climate change and environmental crisis. This year, we will be going to Baltimore to volunteer at a sustainable farm run by the Franciscans friars, as well as to visit the soup kitchen the food goes to. With a day trip to Philadelphia in between, we will then head up to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in Connecticut where we will help out at the yard of their motherhouse and learn more about their spirituality.

Check out the full schedule below and sign up!

  • Friday, March 10, 5pm: Depart by car for Ellicott City, Maryland
  • Saturday, March 11: Volunteer at Little Portion Farm
  • Sunday, March 12: Mass at the Shrine of St. Anthony and Volunteer at Little Portion Farm
  • Monday, March 13: Visit to the Franciscan Center in Baltimore, Paddle boating in Baltimore inner harbor
  • Tuesday, March 14: Drive to Meriden Connecticut
  • Wednesday, March 15-Thursday, March 17: Volunteer with and learn from the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist
  • Friday, March 18: Day trip to Boston to site see
  • Saturday, March 19: Return to campus
Sign up here

Catholic Relief Services

Duke's Chapter

As Catholics, we are part of a universal Church, and we are called to love and care for our sisters and brothers around the world. At Duke, to help us live out this call, we are starting a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University Chapter.

Catholic Relief Services is a nonprofit that works to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. They “promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.” There works includes helping families in Ukraine receive food, clothing, child care, and transport to safe shelters, helping small farmers worldwide build sustainable livelihoods, and supporting high quality education for children, among many other initiatives.

At Duke, our university chapter will share in CRS’s mission through fundraising and advocacy. This means raising money for CRS’s different monthly initiatives, forming relationships with our elected officials so that we can advocate for policies that protect the poor and marginalized, and partnering with campus and community groups to further CRS’s mission. This semester, we will be focusing on climate change and environmental justice. If you are interested in getting involved in the chapter, fill out this form to let us know! As a chapter, we will be connecting with and learning from other CRS university chapters around the country.