The teens from St. Louis worked hard to host this Mission Trip – 4 days of service aimed at working together to build a stronger unity between the two Teens4Unity groups. Everyone took an active role. They focused on organizing an unforgettable experience, all the way down to the menu, serving toasted raviolis, a St. Louis style specialty, to their visitors. The teens from Chicago took the opportunity to invite their friends and let them know about the Teens4Unity.
According to one participant, “During the days of the Mission Trip, we experienced intense moments of prayer, service and a lot of fun. Every morning began with prayers together and daily Mass. Before leaving for each service project, we would agree on a mathematical symbol, which gave the right tune for the day.
+ is to remind us to add love
- is for less suffering
X is to multiply our efforts to do good to others
÷ to divide and share what we have and are
% is to remind us to do 1% while God will assist us with the other 99%
= is to remind us that we equal one human family”
Together, the youth worked on a food pantry and thrift store with the FeedMyPeople organization, made sandwiches for residents of Karen House, a Catholic Worker homeless shelter, and spent time with the seniors of the parish’s nursing home.
They were inspired by the life of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, and during the religious education sessions, learned about the Art of Loving from Chiara Lubich and the Theology of the Body from Pope John Paul II. For many of the Chicago teens it was also their first visit to St. Louis, so they took the opportunity to go sightseeing as well.
According to the youth, by the end of their trip, they became a family. “We had a life changing experience in just four days,” said one of the teens. Another said, “Personally, I not only felt closer to God, seeing him in other people, but I also met some very kind and caring people who share my faith and who made an environment where I could relax with complete strangers.”