July 19, 2016
In my role as Sacred Heart Parish Coordinator of Youth Ministry, the idea of getting teens and young adults involved in an Summer mission trip started for us at Sacred Heart Parish 11 years ago. I can hardly believe that the first week in July was my 11th Catholic Heart Workcamp (CHWC) mission trip! Last year was our parish’s largest group for the mission trip and this year was scaled down in participants—but we were still mighty in power, perseverance, and commitment to the jobs we had at hand to do for the people of the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois community. This mission trip was close to being my favorite one so far (outranked by Greensboro, NC camp). I truly enjoy the whole mission trip experience and I look forward to them every summer.
But I must admit that this year I said a little prayer that the work assignment I would be given would be a more gentler one—not in the sense of easy work but more in the sense of not overly taxing this time with the weather or the type of work. I prayed that whatever work I would be given would be something that I could accomplish with my workteam. It was not that I was being selfish but just that this year the mission trip was being sandwiched into my schedule following two hectic weeks of Summer Religious Education and Summer Vacation Bible School and coming right before the pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day. I really did not want to get sick with anything (as sometimes has for me) on the trip or coming home because of getting ready for an even bigger trip in 10 days. God heard my prayer and I was given the painting assignment at the Champaign County Head Start Preschool in Rantoul. It is one of the few federally-funded year-round Preschools in the area assisting families from pre-birth through age 5. Our Team #7 task was asked to paint all the walls (10 long hallways + 4 mini hallways) in the Preschool, which hadn’t been done in awhile. I enjoy painting jobs and so I was glad to be involved in brightening up this Head Start school. Of course, many people who know me know that I am a “color girl” in that I love using colors—colored markers, pens, paper, etc. —because I think color makes things pop and can bring on good emotions, etc. White is my least favorite color and so what color did we have to paint every one of the walls?—WHITE! Of course, many people will say that white is a clean and bright color and it makes everything look so fresh and new. And while the walls did look that way after our team was done painting the walls with many coats of white paint, I still would have preferred a different color(s). The staff of Champaign County Head Start were very pleased with the end result of our work by the end of the week.
The rest of the mission trip was filled with all the events of daily morning Mass, a wonderful CHWC team of young adult leaders led by Fr. Geoff Rose, great evening programs each night with many faith-building experiences for all attendees. Catholic Heart does a great job every year and for that reason, I will continue to promote attending a CHWC Summer Mission Trip within Sacred Heart Parish for as long as I am able. God calls each of us to serve in many ways—God could very well be calling YOU to get involved in our annual mission trips. Are you willing to say ‘yes’ and join us next Summer?
Our 2017 Mission Trip plans begin on September 15th when CHWC opens up the camps for registrations. There is always a limit to the number of participants from all across the U.S. able to register before the camps fill up. This is definitely something totally worthwhile that will for sure change you for the good! Contact me at the Parish to find out more information. ~Julie Wieleba-Milkie