Prayer and Action: a mission trip in your own backyard

Do unto others

by Bill Scholl

As a Catholic parent, do you share my fears: Are my teens going to grow up to serve others? Is the virtual world of memes going to have more sway than real reality? Are they going to grow up to be more reactive than proactive?

The church, as parent, calls our children to something higher.

In an address to young people, St. John Paul II once said, “Look to Mary to see how to respond to Jesus’ call. First, she kept all things, pondering them in her heart. She also went in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. Both attitudes are essential parts of our response to the Lord: prayer and action. That is what the church expects of her young people.” This quote became the clarion call that impelled a group of seminarians to start a summer mission trip called Prayer and Action.

Prayer and Action, a program founded through the Diocese of Salina, was soon adopted by our archdiocese along with many others. The idea was formed by seminarians who wanted to accomplish three things: Offer a low-cost mission trip experience, provide service to the people in their own communities and encourage young people to listen for a call to a priestly or religious vocation.

Prayer and Action sessions last five days, with teens arriving on Sunday evening and staying until Friday morning. Throughout the week, young people will paint, clean, do yard work and perform other meaningful tasks for the poor, disabled and elderly. The students will spend the week in an atmosphere that is free of distractions in order to foster their faith, inspire charity and lead them closer to Christ.

The experience will also allow them to get to know seminarians, as well as other high school students from other parts of the archdiocese who share their Catholic faith.

One teen said this after a Prayer and Action week: “We helped an elderly woman clean out years of collected papers and magazines. Her home was dark when we came, with papers stacked to the ceiling, piles covering the windows. When we left, her house was light. We literally brought the light of Christ when we helped her.”

The Prayer and Action mission team consists of three of our seminarians and some dynamic young women. Prayer and Action weeks begin June 11 with a break for the Fourth of July weekend.

We have a few spots still available, with our final week (July 16-20) mostly open. If you are interested in your teen or your teen group responding to Our Lord through prayer and action, go online to: archkck.org/socialjustice to learn more.

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