Diocesan News

Students participate in mission trips

Bishop Neumann in Wahoo sponsors work in Chicago, New Mexico

WAHOO (SNR) – Students from Bishop Neumann High School in Wahoo had the opportunity to participate in the school’s two mission trips at the end of May.

Neumann offers two mission trips each year, one to Chicago and the other to Gallup, N.M. Forty-four students and 16 chaperones participated this year.

The school began leading the annual mission trips in 2016 with a trip to Chicago. Students worked with “Mission Youth,” that works with the Missionaries of Charity and the Franciscans of the Eucharist in inner-city Chicago. 

Students benefited from the experience, and it was decided in 2017 to add another trip to Gallup, N.M.

“Gallup was added because we were wanting to offer a completely different experience for our students from the Chicago trip,” mission trip coordinator Gery Kenney stated. “In Chicago, students are working directly with the poor in several soup kitchens, homeless shelters and even on the streets. In Gallup, students also work with the Missionaries of Charity, but this trip is more of a ‘hands-on’ experience. Students help at several locations, moving rock, building things, making repairs, painting, pulling weeds and doing more physical labor.

“Both trips are amazing experiences,” Kenney continued, “just different. I encourage students to try them both.”

The mission trip experience has evolved into a retreat type experience. This year, four priests were able to be a part of the trips. Mass was offered each day with time for adoration, confessions and reflection each evening. 

In Chicago, students were able to visit several of the beautiful Catholic churches. Kenney added, “Having our priests with us is so vital in having these trips be a spiritual journey. They are working directly with the students, encountering Jesus in the poor and are able to bring the sacraments directly to our students to tie it all together.” 

The experience was especially powerful for junior Spencer Wiese, who described his trip to Gallup.

“I felt that not only did we grow in our faith, but we all grew closer to each other,” he explained. “The trip also helped me to see God in the littlest of things. I felt like everywhere I went I had this appreciation toward God and all he has done for me.

“Before the trip,” he said, “we were asked to explain what each of our gifts were and what each of us brought to the trip. As we went through the week, I could see how everyone used their unique gifts for the benefit of us all.”

Graduate Zoe Bohaty has gone on the Chicago mission trip for three years. Even though she graduated in May, she went on the trip again. When asked what brought her back, she said, “When I see God, I see him through other people. On the mission trips, every person I encounter, I see God.”

Some participants this year experienced the trip for the first time. Sophomore Carlee Zwick attended her first trip to Chicago in May.

“The Chicago mission trip was an amazing way to open my eyes to the different ways people live,” she said. “Not only could I feel God working through me, but I saw God in all the people I encountered. The trip was an experience that has changed my life and changed my perspective of people less fortunate than myself.”

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