Being A Good Samaritan
by Justin Lantz
"This is one of my favorite weeks of the year." That's what one of the students, Mikayla Croissant, said after experiencing a week long local mission trip that 20 students from St. Timothy Youth Ministry attend in June 2020. We joined other students from all over the Diocese in a program called G.S.P. (Good Samaritan Project) at Bishop McLaughlin High School. Typically, the GSP service week would gathered students to stay the night at Bishop McLaughlin High School to stay the night and get sent all around the community to serve those in need during the day but this year was very different due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Students remained at their local parishes and served their own backyard, literally. However, this didn't change the spirit of the program at all.
Our mornings each began with prayer at Mass and a digital morning show presented by our famous Diocesan Directors of Youth Ministry and their college staff. Our students really loved it. Instead of loading up on busses every morning to complete projects all over town our students dedicated this week to a few major projects at St. Timothys. We created an outdoors stations of the cross and also did some painting in our youth center. To complete our stations of the cross students cleared land alongside a 1/2mile stretch of sidewalk, then dug holes to instal 8ft. poles, stained those poles, attached the station at the top of the pole, and completed the stations with some landscaping and plants along each station. We built multiple benches for a few of the stations.
Being united for such a project at our own parish had some other benefits. Our St. Timothy Men's Club decided to help fund the Stations of the Cross project and also send us one of their best, Wayne Gaskill, to help manage the project and mentor our students teaching them construction skills and service through joy. Students worked really hard on these stations in the blazing heat in the dead of summer and it decided not to rain at all that week, which made it just that much more sweltering. What our leaders noticed though was that students didn't complain, they leaned into their work of building the stations of the cross, as if to carry their own cross.
After a long day of work we gathered back together in the Youth Center at 6ft apart for rest, play and some very powerful talks and prayer experiences to motivate us all to live as Jesus’ disciples. Students expressed how this week was the perfect mix of fun and service.
Every year at St. Timothy we focus on a different theme, two years ago was Relentless Father, last year was FIAT, and this year Life Teen came up with our 2020-2021 theme, "New Fire". With every new theme students and Youth Ministry staff put on their creativity hat and get to work on creating a new stage design for the theme. This was part of our second wave of projects. Students designed on computers a beautiful stage design to usher in our new theme, painted our new design on the wall as well as upgrade our Youth Center Underground studio with some new paint. Our last few days of GSP was exciting, fun and a welcome break from the heat of Stations of the Cross.
What GSP was all about was not just service work for a week during the summer or even an opportunity to get service hours for school but a call to be missionary for a lifetime. GSP is a lesson to reach sainthood! Students learned to find true J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, Yourself), by prioritizing their lives in that order. Jesus calls us all to live a life contrary to what the world teaches us. Jesus says, talking to his disciples, “If any of you want to be great, you must be a servant” Mark 10:43. We are called to remain in God’s love through His word and prayer and then spread God’s love by having a servant’s heart always.
Pray for our students to continue the "New Fire" that has stirred in their heart. St. Timothy Youth Ministry has been so blessed this summer to have a few adults step up to make weeks like this possible. We thank you. We hope the Lord is calling more adults to work with our Youth Group and become a mentor. This will allow for more opportunities like this as God calls us all to be a missionary, starting in our own backyard.