Mission & Service Trip - Catholic Heart Workcamp
Ten Gwynedd girls, along with Dr. Clementi and Mrs. Mischler, headed to Catholic Heart Workcamp in Boston, Massachusetts.
They joined 250 other students from nine states and thirty schools!
For more information regarding Catholic Heart Workcamp, visit https://heartworkcamp.com/
- Erin Mullen '20
- Julianna Persia '20
- Kerri Maguire '20
- Ariana Trabachino ‘20
- Ashley Hartz '20
- Kathryn Tereshko ’20
On Sunday, 10 brave Gwynedd girls ventured off to Boston for a week full of service and religion. When we arrived, we learned some of the basic rules for the week: how to stay safe on campus and on our sites. Then, each girl met the small groups they would be working with for the remainder of the trip. (Some girls even had some PA locals in their groups!) After dinner and some group bonding, everyone headed over to mass at 9 PM. After a long day of traveling and socializing, we headed up to the shared living spaces and rested up for our first day of work!
– Erin Mullen ‘20
My group was blessed to serve a sweet elderly lady named Regina. She has five sons, but they all live far away. Her sister is a nun and teacher who lives on the floor above her! We were able to accomplish many things throughout the week. We scrubbed and removed some graffiti on the back of her shed that had been there for about 10 years! We continued with landscaping by pulling weeds, after trimming her bushes on Monday. We spray painted the railings on her front steps and cleaned out the gutters around her shed. We scraped the old paint off the front and back deck, and I worked on painting the railings of the back deck. My group was filled with people from different parts of the country, but by listening to music while we worked and talking about our lives throughout the week, we were able to bond and become close friends. I also made sure to take lots of pictures to remember the wonderful journey! Regina was so thankful for even the littlest things, like socializing with us at lunch. It fills my heart to have helped her in any way that I could. Regina loved to tell us stories, and my group loved to keep her company.
On Tuesday, Regina told me something that really stuck with me: “What if all of our “coincidences” in our life are actually God’s miracles in disguise? What if God put us in this place of work with this group of people for a reason we did not even realize?” This caused me to reflect on God’s intricate plan for all of us, and in order to fully live out your purpose in life you have to give yourself up to God. By giving yourself to God, he will guide you and direct you on the path best created for you. On Tuesday night, we had a big dance party followed by adoration. Adoration was the most transforming and peaceful experience of our week in Boston. We were able to reflect and pray. As Regina’s sister said, “Prayer is the greatest wireless connection.” After adoration, we met as a Gwynedd group and wrote in our journals sharing personal experiences of God’s love and plan for us. This was my second time going to CHWC, but this trip in particular further strengthened my faith and helped me create friendships with many people along the way.
– Julianna Persia '20
Wednesday, the fourth day of camp, allowed me to truly see how my service affected others. Due to the hard work my group did for our resident, she insisted on giving back to us as well. She decided to take us to lunch at one of her favorite places and paid for the entire group, even when she did not have a ton of extra money to spend! The staff at the deli knew her well and they were not shocked at how she wanted to serve us when we were supposed to be the ones serving her.
Later that night, the whole camp went to Four Corners. This gave us the opportunity to pray, receive Reconciliation, light candles for special intentions, write letters to God, and talk to a leader about your faith or anything that was currently on your mind. This experience allowed me to grow in faith and reflect on how I can truly serve God and others better.
– Kerri Maguire ‘20
Wednesday, July 17th, began as a normal day at Catholic Heart Workcamp. We began our day with a Mass; this always has every person feeling a special connection to God and each other. Following Mass, we traveled to our work sites where I enjoyed another day serving a lovely lady named Regina. After our long day of scraping and painting the porch, we returned to begin the Four Corners Activities. At Four Corners we had four options: confession, converse with a mentor, write a letter to ourselves, or pray the rosary. I chose to go to confession; the priest talked with me for a period of time and miraculously said exactly what I needed to hear. I see God every day and I saw God throughout all of Catholic Heart Workcamp, but this night at confession really showed me how amazing God’s love is and how blessed I am to recognize the miracles God performs daily! Catholic Heart Workcamp opened my eyes to my call to serve those in need in the name of God our Father. I feel God with me and my life will forever be changed after my week at Catholic Heart Workcamp.
– Ariana Trabachino ‘20
The week moved fast, full of service and getting to know one another. We began with daily mass and departed to our work sites. I was given the opportunity to go to four different places; my group and I painted three decks on Thursday! That same night, we closed with music, prayer, and stories from the residents that we served throughout the week. I’m so thankful to have had this experience. I found myself growing deeper in faith and was reminded of the great happiness we can bring to someone’s day by being kind. Seeing the impact our work had on the residents was incredible! My eyes were opened to the wonderful presence of our Lord. It was truly beautiful to be surrounded by people who were strongly rooted in their faith and who wanted to serve. This trip allowed me to help so many deserving families and I am forever grateful for this week.
– Ashley Hartz ‘20
Thursday at Catholic Heart Workcamp in Boston was one of the most bittersweet experiences I’ve had in my life, but still one of the most reassuring. After several days of work, I had woken up tired and had to practically drag myself out of bed, but I continued to remind myself that I had to get up and start the day because someone else was relying on me. This thought was reassured when my group arrived at our worksite that day. Being able to take a look at the work that my group had completed over the last few days and to see the fruits of our labor was incredibly rewarding, especially when the managers of the offices that we were painting and cleaning up told us about how the facilities would be used. These offices belong to Arlington’s Council on Aging and would be where elderly members of the community could come to meet with social workers to receive the benefits that the organization offers, such as transportation assistance and food provisions. Thursday was also the day that my work group had the most productive conversations. I spent a lot of time talking to the deacon that was working with us on my perspective on women’s roles in the church as a young woman myself. Although at the end of the day it was nice to leave our work site knowing that we had accomplished our goals, my entire group agreed that we all left with the feeling of wishing we could have done more for the people that we were working with.
Lastly, Thursday evening’s program left me with a sense of belonging, not just in the camp, but in the Catholic Church as a whole. I felt like Catholic Heart Workcamp did an incredible job of reminding us that we, as a church community, are bonded by so much more than a common belief: we are bonded by love, by service, and by mercy. This experience allowed me to experience mercy at a tangible level by serving others not just out of duty, but out of love and out of a desire to share Christ’s message of kindness to all.
– Kathryn Tereshko ‘20