Last week thirteen youth and three adult chaperones traveled to Cincinnati, OH to spend a week working with the Franciscans for Poor. During this week of service, our group worked in Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky area with developmentally disabled youth, served brunch and talked with residents at the Ronald McDonald House, helped with a VBS for refugee children from Bhutan and Nepal, served in a pregnancy resource center, delivered and restored furniture for families who are just coming out of homelessness, served in a homeless shelter playing board games with residents and helping with a bible study, and worked in soup kitchens. We also had the opportunity to visit St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati, St. Mary Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky, have dinner with the Sisters at St. Clare Convent, to go salsa dancing in downtown Cincinnati, and attend a Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

We met many people who challenged us to stand firm in our faith and to put our faith into action. We spent most of Monday and Tuesday without power at home base due to a storm. Wednesday night Cleo and a rep from the Homeless Coalition talked to us about their experience with homelessness and the root causes of homelessness. Fr. Fred Link challenged us every morning at daily Mass to remember that we might be the only encounter of Christ that those we are serving might experience, and Thursday we were blessed to encounter at morning Mass a pair of missionaries from Brazil who were in America with only the clothes on their back and no money for a week. The missionaries were coming to share two things with all those they encounter: How God’s great mercy has changed their lives. And that great mercies are about to come upon the United States because of Pope Francis’ upcoming trip for the world meeting of families. Our new missionary friends joined us for dinner on Thursday night and shared their stories with us. The group working at the Rose Garden Home Mission on Thursday also had the opportunity to work with Sr. Fiona. That Thursday was Sr. Fiona’s first day of being a sister! She had just recently turned 18 and shared with us her vocation story.

Our group would like to thank the parish for supporting and praying for the success of the high school summer mission trip. We can’t wait to continue to serve in our community and to go forth again next summer. You can read more about our mission in Cincinnati at:

Comments about the mission trip from the participants:

– I saw Jesus in a man that I interacted with at the homeless shelter because even though he was hit with a difficult conflict, he was joyful and very kind to everyone. This experience opened my eyes to realize that everyone has dignity and life should be lived joyfully.

– This week has really changed my life and my perception of homeless people because they have a story just like the rest of us. This week also strengthened my relationship with my friends in youth group and, more importantly, my relationship with God.

– This was an amazing week for me. On Monday I met five-year-old Timothy who has liver cancer and a mitochondrial disorder, along with other things. His grandparents said that a lot of his problems stem from his birth mother being a drug addict. But they love him and make
so many sacrifices for him and his younger sister, who is in the hospital. You would never realize that Timothy has any diseases from how he played and interacted with us. It really made me realize how fortunate I am to have a good family and a healthy life.

– Working with the disabled youth at the St. Joseph Home was truly special for me. I had a couple of workers at the home ask me “why don’t you work here” and “maybe working with the disabled is your calling.” Maybe they are right but I don’t know yet and I’ll have to pray more and
ask God if this is what He wants me to do.

– This has been the most amazing week of my life! I can’t thank our adult leaders enough for this opportunity. The worksites were eye opening; we had a great time exploring the city; and our evening speakers and night prayers encouraged me to grow in my relationship with Christ and
to try my best to do his will, not what I want to do.

Jennifer Giddings, Coordinator of H.S. Youth Ministry, may be reached in the Religious Education office at 694-9082, ext. 153, or by email at

Monday – 6:30 a.m.

Tuesday – 8:15 a.m. and 7 p.m

Wednesday – 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Thursday – 6:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.

Friday – 6:30 a.m.

Saturday – 8:00 a.m. and vigil at 5 p.m.

Sunday – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and seasonal evening Mass:

7 p.m. Memorial Day weekend in May to Labor Day weekend in September

5 p.m. after Labor Day to the weekend before Memorial Day weekend