They pointed to service projects completed by teens from Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, who participated in its summer mission experience, Camp MOSH, or Maternity Outreach Service for Humanity.
Consider some of their projects: painting the interior of a YMCA, installing a fence at a women’s shelter, setting up a men’s shelter, working at two soup kitchens and painting the stalls at a horse rescue facility. And that’s not to mention their efforts to refurbish and brighten 60 parishioner homes.
Whew, these teens have energy and a can-do spirit!
Patty Bailey, youth ministry director at Maternity BVM, says she used to organize summer mission trips to places throughout the Midwest, when it occurred to her that residents right in their own community needed help.
“There are more than 6,000 people in Kankakee County who are below the poverty line, and experiencing financial difficulty, medical difficulties, or may be elderly and in need of a helping hand,” says Patty Bailey, youth minister. “These are the very people we strive to help.”
This is the fifth time the parish is sponsoring Camp MOSH, and it is truly a parish-wide effort. Fr. Richard Pighini, CSV, pastor, as well as Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, associate pastor and Br. John Eustice, CSV, are all involved.
The nearly 350 teens all sleep in tents on the church campus. They begin each day at 7:30 a.m. Mass before going inside the school to have breakfast — prepared by volunteers — pack their lunches, circle in prayer before heading off to their respective work sites.
Each night, teens lead a liturgy of the hours in the afternoon before enjoying a dinner provided by local restaurants and then a praise and worship session at night, with speakers, bands and other entertainment.
Working behind the scenes are the 150 volunteers a day who make sure the army of kids are fed, transported, and supervised, to name just a few of their efforts.
“This is what parish is all about,” Br. John says. “There are many people from several generations working together to make the local world a better place.
“They are doing this in an effort to encounter Christ,” he adds, “through those who are served, those who are doing the serving and through the spirituality. Jesus is being adored and loved throughout each day.”