Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

St. Mary youth’s ‘local mission’ an adventure in applying Catholicism’s social teachings

the Inland Register

(From the August 18, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Youth from St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, found practical applications of Catholic social teaching during their “local mission” this summer. (IR photo courtesy of Jeanette Benson)

For the fourth year, youth from St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, took a week of their summer to help out in the local community.

This small but mighty group of 6th through 9th graders tackled weeds, deep cleaning, overgrown bushes, and painting for Family Promise of Spokane, the House of Charity, and a parishioner who cannot get out to do the work on his own.

The students learned about Catholic social teaching and were able to apply what they learned in the evenings to the experiences they had during the day. To a man digging in a dumpster for food they were able to offer food, water, and some personal items – gaining a smile and a sense that even the most vulnerable people are worthy of love. They gave out over 20 “Bags of Blessings” they created during the mission trip.

Special thanks to St. Paschal Parish, Spokane Valley, for allowing use of their facilities as the group’s “Homebase.” It was a peaceful place to come back to each evening for prayer, reflection and sharing a meal together.

Participants in the adventure were Paige Wagoner, Gabrielle Benson, Dillon Tran, Bella Mazza, Owen Benson, Luke Benson, Gabrielle Wagoner, and Olivia Gump. Tremendous support came from St. Mary parishioner Bill McMillan, who has been volunteering his time with the youth of the parish for over 20 years.

The fruits of these experiences can be seen in the friendships made amongst the group and in their desire to continue to serve.

Last year, Gabi Wagoner went on vacation after her experience with the local mission and encountered a family on the Oregon Coast with a cardboard sign – and she begged her mom to go to the store and get supplies they used to make sandwiches for the family.

As Pope Francis tweeted recently “Jesus seeks hearts that are open and tender toward the weak; hearts that are not hard, but docile and transparent.” These young people embody this.

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