by Bill Scholl
I spent my summers in high school helping villagers make latrines in South America.
Sister Mildred had invited me to do a mission trip with a program called Amigos de las Americas. Of all the things I chose to spend my time doing in my youth, it most impacted my life.
We never get so much as when we give of ourselves and that is why I feel so blessed to be part of another program that gives youth the chance to have such a transformative experience with Prayer and Action. Prayer and Action is a weeklong, local mission experience that unifies prayer with works of charity, and spiritual reflections with fellowship and fun.
Years ago, the Salina Diocese developed this backyard mission. They named the program Prayer and Action after a phrase coined by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Since 2005, Prayer and Action has provided a local, weeklong mission experience that unifies prayer with local works of charity, and powerful spiritual reflections with time for fellowship and youthful, innocent, goofy fun.
Last year, the office for social justice, working with the vocations office and a dedicated team of youth ministers, brought the program to this archdiocese. Because of its propensity to help teens meet Jesus through organized works of charity and powerful prayer experiences, we are continuing Prayer and Action again this year. The days begin with Mass and a rosary and then youth teams go out to do service work in the community. In the afternoons, they return for games and fellowship; the evenings are spent in engaging worship and reflection.
This June, four separate mission trip weeks will be offered for the youth of northeast Kansas to pray and work in the urban core of Kansas City, Kan. The first week will be for college-aged youth and the other three will be for high school-aged groups. Youth groups have loved participating in this service retreat because everything is planned by the archdiocesan seminarians and staff.
As well, since the trip is local, the costs are affordable. The weeklong trip only costs $100 which includes food, lodging and materials. Also, there are scholarships available for families who are sending more than one youth or who might not be able go otherwise.
Pope Benedict XVI teaches that religion without love of neighbor makes our faith arid, and that “only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me.” As a teen, I had to travel to another continent to learn this truth. Because of Prayer and Action, our youth don’t have to. To register or learn more about Prayer and Action, go to the website at: www. wix.com/prayerandactionkc/mission trip.