Project Description

Last week I had the great pleasure of spending a couple of days with our high school youth as they made their annual mission trip.  This year’s trip was to the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.  Our youth spent the week assisting the Franciscans of the Eucharist in putting on a Bible Camp for the children of the neighborhood.

Their days were busy!  Our youth were assigned to one of two groups (younger children and older children), and they assisted in all sorts of activities.  The children heard stories from the Bible, as the Sisters led them through salvation history in a way that they could understand.  They participated in arts and crafts and songs designed to reinforce the Bible messages.  They prayed with the children and played with them as well. And then when the children left for the day, our young people pitched in to help the sisters with cleanup and taking care of the building.  It made for long days, and they certainly went to bed tired, but they did everything with a smile on their face!

The most important thing they did for these children, though, was simply to provide love, attention and a joyful Christian witness to the children of the neighborhood.  This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, and the children there grow up in the most challenging circumstances.  A lot of them grow up without things that our young people often take for granted – not only material things like food to eat and a roof over our heads, but intangibles like love, stability and hope for the future.  Even though the camp only lasts a week, many children look forward to it all year long.  I think one of the main reasons is that they get a lot of positive attention from such a terrific group of young people.

Many thanks to all of you who made this trip possible – the chaperone volunteers, all those who supported the fundraisers for this event, and all of you who prayed for our young people while they were away.  (And of course a huge thank you to Abigail, our Youth Minister.  The logistics in preparing a week like this are really daunting, and she did a marvelous job of leading our youth in this experience.)  I am so grateful to have been with them for a couple of days during this camp.  I was so proud of our kids, and I know that all of you would have been, too!