Annual Summer Mission Trip a Success

On the morning of Sunday June 9, 2013, fourteen intrepid Joliet Catholic Academy students and three brave faculty members set out on an unforgettable week of service. JCA’s campus ministry department for the second year partnered with Catholic Heart Workcamp to provide a week of service to some poor and needy people in our country. Catholic Heart Workcamp is a national organization that provides Catholic teens with mission experiences around the United States. This summer the JCA contingent spent the week of June 9 to June 14 in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The group arrived at camp on Sunday afternoon and met up with about 150 other teens from around the Midwest.  The group participated in ice breaker games, learned their work assignments and then had Mass together that evening.  Monday through Thursday the camp started the day with Mass together and then split into smaller work groups that fanned out around the Mishawaka area. The campers worked at sites such as local food banks, two women and children’s domestic violence shelters, Habitat for Humanity and many other charitable organizations. In all, work was done in three different counties of north-central Indiana.

Each evening the campers had various programs that included skits, videos, motivational talks and games.  One night was set aside for a period of prayer and adoration and one night involved a special prayer experience called Four Corners. The students were given the chance to pray for various needs such as healing, forgiveness and for guidance. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also offered to all the campers.

 The JCA campers were all very positive about their experience and many mentioned how eye-opening and life changing it was.  JCA students are very good about volunteering and doing charitable work, but it is a different experience to be away from home for an extended period of time and involved with more hands on work with the poor and needy. All the camps had to make sacrifices such as sleeping on the floor of a classroom all week and for many lack of shower and bathing facilities. These sacrifices helped all to grow in more solidarity with and appreciate for the plight of many poor and underprivileged in our society.  It was great learning experience for the students and all are looking forward to next year’s mission trip.

The JCA contingent included students: Kayla Belofsky, Jordan Bergeson, Mary Rose Bruno, Johnny Kalisik, Frank Kalisik, Maddie Kennedy, Chloe Korst, Megan Matthews, Sidney Munch, Courtney Peterson, Taylor Shetina, Modesty Tan, Adriana Trizna and faculty members: Fr. Jeff Smialek, O.Carm.,  Mr. Mark Clarke and Mrs. Celeste Mackey.  The mission trip was made substantially made possible by a generous grant from the Peace and Justice Fund of  Carmelites, and donations from many individuals including the Council of Catholic Women at St. Ambrose Parish in Crest Hill.

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