GSP Citrus County Edition
by Mylene Taylor
Hard to believe that GSP 2020 was a month ago! This would have marked the third year that the kids at Our Lady of Grace Parish would have been able to participate in GSP and they were looking forward to it. However, it was not to be. But, with the help of our awesome Project Team at the Diocese, we were able to do something different and special. We were also able to share the experience with a few other students from two other parishes in the Deanery!
GSP2020, Citrus County Edition, started Monday night with everyone tuning in to the diocesan Zoom where we were able to see Ryan, Mike, and youth from other parishes as we all gathered for the opening night. We were able to watch the Good Night as well as Hannah and Jeremy together and as we gathered in our virtual meeting room as a “parish/deanery” group, students were excited but also apprehensive. None of us knew what the week would have in store. One of our members who thought they were going to be able to participate in person with us ended up not being able to participate due to a quarantining issue and that was heartbreaking but he was determined to still join us virtually as many times as possible.
Tuesday morning was our parish service day. We all met on the campus of Our Lady of Grace. We received our shirts and started the morning at 8:45 with Mornings are Better with Mike and Melissa. We then switched over to live stream mass with Fr. Chuck. Had some technical difficulties, but we persevered. The day of service included painting new lines in the parking lot, organizing classroom supply closets for Faith Formation, painting the sacristy, helping out in the Food Pantry, and cutting out various templates for our DRE. We were able to include some team-building games and activities before we ended our day with the Good Night and our speaker. It was a good day and we were all excited about going out in the community for the next two days of service.
Wednesday and Thursday both started out at home for all our participants with the parish Zoom where we watched Mornings are Better together and tuned in to daily mass with Fr. Chuck together as well. As soon as mass ended, we all left our homes to meet up at our three service locations for the day. On Wednesday, we had groups at St. John Paul 2 Catholic School, Family Resource Center of Citrus County, and the Pregnancy and Family Life Center. On Thursday, we had groups at St. John Paul 2 Catholic School and the Pregnancy and Family Life Center again and a group at Good Counsel Camp. Each group of students got to experience two different service sites and service consisted of everything from a free carwash to painting to moving to clean-up. All the service sites were very thankful and happy with the help from the kids and wanted to know when we would be back. The kids enjoyed the visits by the seminarians and Fr. Chuck at Good Counsel Camp and from Ryan and Mike at the other sites as well.
Friday was a service day to the domestic church. We met up on Zoom in the morning and then spent most of our day doing jobs for our families. Kids cleaned rooms, did laundry, did yard work, among other jobs. We all convened back at Our Lady of Grace Parish to end our week with Eucharistic Adoration, led by Mike (thank you!) and presided over by Fr. Erwin. It was a very special hour with our parents joining in on the time as well. As we ended our week, we all realized that even though we didn’t know what would happen, the week gave us a chance to serve within our own county and share our time and talent with those closest to us.