Our Lady Queen of Peace students immerse themselves in faith-filled service Print
Written by Cheryl Horne, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Queen of Peace students
Members of the mission team from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison are shown on the Blackfeet Reservation in Butte, Mont., along with a group of students from the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D., on the same work group. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- So, what do you think most teenagers do during the summer? Sleep in? Head to the beach? Hang out with friends?

All of that may be true. I hope it is true -- summer is summer, after all.

But summer is also a time to serve: to be the "light of Christ" in the world and to be "Sent Forth by the Spirit."

Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison has students that serve all year long: as ushers, altar servers, cantors, leaders of the Children's Liturgy of the Word, etc.

But during the summer months, with the support of our pastor, our parish families, and our Social Action Commission, we immerse ourselves in faith-filled service on mission trips.

Love Begins Here

Middle school students are invited to be part of Love Begins Here, the diocesan mission trip experience.

Our Lady Queen of Peace hosted two of those mission trips last summer and this summer.

Celebrating that theme, Love Begins Here, the middle school students worked with a design from one of our eighth grade student artists, Phil Fabian, and left a message behind to inspire and challenge us all for years.

Serving on reservations

High school students are invited to travel to serve some of the poorest of the poor in our country on reservations out west.

In fact, on our trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota this summer, we served people in the third poorest county in the United States.

A second mission trip allowed a different group of high school students to serve people on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

College students also have the opportunity to serve through the parish when we visit our Sister Parish in Chiapas, Mexico, during winter break.

Living out Catholic teaching

In serving -- whether locally, nationally, or internationally -- our students live out the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. We seek to live the Works of Mercy. We pray. We seek God. And we discover how God is calling us to live as people of faith in the world.

But no matter where or how we have served, the real challenge of the trip, the TRUE mission, remains: to serve in the name of God and allow ourselves to be sent by the Holy Spirit to help others every single day of our lives.

On mission trips, we get into an easy and joyful habit of serving and praying every day. The challenge comes in continuing those habits of joyful and consistent prayer, attending Mass together regularly, of serving whoever comes into our lives, and recognizing the Spirit of Christ in others as well as in ourselves.

So, the real challenge of mission trips remains for when we return, just as Phil's beautifully painted reminder remains: How are we all "Sent Forth by the Holy Spirit" today?

Cheryl Horne is director of youth ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison.


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