The high school teens from OLGC returned from a week long service opportunity with Group Catholic Mission Trips and sponsored locally by NeighborWorks NorthEastern Pennsylvania. 36 students and 8 adult leaders (3 others serving as staff at camp) arrived in Scranton, PA on July 29th and stayed until our jobs were done on August 4th. OLGC and 3 other churches stayed at the beautiful campus of Marywood University.
Churches were broken into 20 mixed crews, all with different tasks to help our residents. These residents ranged from single moms, a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, disabled veterans, and others in need. Most of the day would be spent at the work site and in the afternoon, crews would return back for program that would make them dive deeper into our service through the lens of faith. Our daily themes would reflect on a saint's life. Mass was available daily, led by the Capuchin Friars of St. Augustine. The chapel we had access to was absolutely gorgeous with incredible acoustics. Our very own Fr. Dolan came to assist in the sacraments and was a presence on campus.
One of the powerful moments of the week was an adoration procession into confession. Through music, prayer, reconciliation, many students had a beautiful emotional encounter with Christ's mercy and grace. Music over the week was led by our Youth Minister, Derek Rogers and the choir sounded beautiful. Our monthly youth masses paid off and other churches joined in with our choir.
Gracie Tecala said, "Even though music is already my absolute favorite thing, when you're joined by a group of a people whose sole purpose is giving praise to God, it elevates my favorite pastime to a whole other level. Every night, the worship team gets to lead the entire camp in a couple of worship songs, often including some really exciting hand motions! It's an incredible opportunity to offer glory to God and to meet other musicians and singers. Being able to offer praise in such a creative form is priceless and such a great prayer. In the words of St. Augustine, "he who sings prays twice."
During the week we had a half day where we got to enjoy some fun at Laheys Family Fun Center. Go-karts, miniature golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and arcades allowed us to kick back as a group. God blessed us overwhelmingly during the week in so many ways. Our bus broke down and rain was everywhere in the forecast but these ended up being lessons about trusting in God's will. All students and adults received some assurance of God's promise this week that he is always present and loves us. It was a truly powerful and beautiful week of service, growth, and fellowship.
Natalie Yanni said, "My favorite part of work camp is always the people. Their stories and personalities always inspire me. With such an eclectic group of people there are always some amazing stories of faith. When you listen to the beautiful journeys and moments that have collected all together to create a person of immaculate faith it's always an inspiration to grow closer to God and stronger in faith. When you are all there to worship God and serve in his name a lot of people are emotionally vulnerable and ready for a revelation or change in their own relationship with God. To even fathom being part of am experience that allows someone to grow closer to God is worth every moment of sweat and hard work."
We would love for you to join us in 2019 on our next trip!