Catholic youth gain memories of doing good for others Print this post

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

8/23/17

Each summer the youth of the Diocese of Venice scatter to take part in a variety of activities including summer camps, family vacations, sports, going to the beach and even some lounging around. However, many also took time out to do good for others.

To assist them in this effort, parish youth directors organized many mission trips and other prayerful activities which kept the boys and girls connected to the parish and encouraged them to reflect the light of Christ for others.

A group from Epiphany Cathedral in Venice took a trip to Immokalee on Aug. 8 to assist at Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities. This trip included packing 50 bags of food and personally delivering them to the needy at their homes as part of a new Pantry on Wheels program.

Youth from Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice assists with the Guadlalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities Pantry on Wheels in Immokalee on Aug. 8.

Filled with a variety of practical food items that can serve a family of four for a more than a week, the youth were directed to knock on doors in a nearby neighborhood and offer the food. Included in the delivery was bottled water and processed eggs and cheese. The program is targeting neighborhoods where it might be too far for people without vehicles to reach the offices of Guadalupe Social Services.

The families were grateful for the unexpected bounty and thanked the youth for taking the time to visit. Epiphany Youth Director Coleen Roca also prayed for and with the families them after each delivery.

Youth from St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres particpate in a prayer walk for life in front of an abortion doctor office in Fort Myers on Aug. 5.

The youth at St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres spent their last weekend before the start of school to prayer in front of the offices of an abortionist in Fort Myers. The youth were accompanied at the peaceful vigil by their Pastor, Father Dennis Cooney. The vigil served as a reminder to the youth that there is a continuing need to pray for an end to abortion, to pray for the mothers who are considering, to pray for the lost babies and to prayer for the people who work in the industry that they may abandon their work to do good for others.

At St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota, the youth also had the opportunity to go on a mission trip. The middle schoolers went to a “Just Five Days” trip to Jacksonville where the team volunteered in the emergency response office of Catholic Charities. In five days, the team sorted children and young adult books, baby clothes, 15,000 pounds of food, and filled 300 bags of groceries, made 50 bags of fresh vegetables, archived veterans’ files and completed demographic data entry for the food pantry.

Middle schoolers from St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota sort through files while on a “Just Five Days” mission trip to Jacksonville in June.

Samantha Romanczuk, 13, said the mission trip “made me feel happy because I got to help a lot of people who don’t have homes or people that don’t have a lot of food that need to help their children grow.”

The high school-aged team at St. Thomas More Parish participated in a service week called Young Neighbors in Action, working with other parish groups from across the country on the Winnebago and Omaha Reservations in rural Nebraska. While there, the team served the St. Augustine Indian Mission itself, which has housed and hosted visiting missionaries for many years. The team worked tirelessly to do grounds-keeping, gardening, and maintenance of the school and church grounds.

The work was manually hard, made more challenging because they couldn’t see who we serving (the kids were all out of session), but they were told that the work saved the parish many thousands of dollars that could then be put towards scholarships for the kids.

Danny Bo DeLongaig, 15, said “I feel as if more teens should go on mission trips not only for the experience, but for the experience of gratitude… to be able to go home and say to your family and loved ones, ‘Thanks you for all you do for me and thank you for bringing me into a happy and healthy household.’” 

Youth from St. Jude Parish in Sarasota and Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto gathered Aug 4-6 for a retreat in Spanish called AGAPE which the Archangels of St. Jude Youth Group hosted at Holy Cross Parish the weekend of. There were a total of 43 new participants for this retreat between the ages of 14-17.

These are just some of the many different activities youth took in part during the summer. Check back in the Florida Catholic as the youth teams get back together and start doing more exciting things in the coming months.

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