Earlier this summer, 14 high school students and two adults from St. Jane Frances de Chantal Roman Catholic Church went on a mission trip to help the less fortunate of Charleston, South Carolina.
The trip was organized under Catholic HEART Workcamp. From a June Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 3:00pm, small groups from the churches participating in the camp went into the community to help residents with a variety of tasks.
“My particular group painted the outside of a resident’s home,” said Claire Horvath, youth ministry director at the church. “They sanded, washed and painted the whole outside of the house. Other groups worked in food banks. And some people worked with Habitat for Humanity.”
The St. Jane Frances Church does mission trips every year to places across the East Coast with high school students. Along with trips to South Carolina, the church has also organized trips to parts of Rhode Island and Virginia.
The church has done trips with Catholic HEART Workcamp for eight years. Although this was Horvath’s last trip as youth ministry director, she expects the program to continue.
“This is something that the parish loves and the kids love,” Horvath said. “And I have a feeling that it will continue for many, many years.”
For Horvath, the goal of the trips is to teach the students compassion and help them learn about people from all walks of life. A big component of each job is meeting the people that they’re going to help.
“It develops a real compassion and understanding that lives are very different, and you can help simply with a can of paint,” Horvath said. “We can do a great deal of work and a great deal of good.”
The students also grew in their faith. “The goal that I have is that we come back having seen Jesus in the different people that we work with and the counselors,” Horvath said. “The kids learn to see him in all of these different people. They can be the hands and feet of Christ.”
The church also has a summer mission program for middle schoolers. Instead of going to other states, the younger kids go on day trips to help residents in places closer to home in places such as Pasadena, Glen Burnie and the outskirts of Baltimore.
The adults benefit from the trips as well. “We get to know the youths really well, which is a bonus, but the service work affects us as well,” Horvath said. “We all grow in our love of service by accompanying these kids.”