St. Agnes Youth Attend WorkCamp 2018
This past week, St. Agnes sent a group of 8 high school students, led by Fr. Rich Miserendino, to WorkCamp in Fredericksburg, VA. Nearly every parish in the Diocese of Arlington participated in the week of service sponsored by the diocese. Roughly 700 high school students and hundreds more volunteers packed into Massaponax High School, which would be “Homebase” for the week. Students and adult volunteers slept on classroom floors and ate in the cafeteria. The gymnasium was converted into a concert venue, where the camp gathered every night for “Program” and filled the room with an explosive energy. The theater served as the chapel, where Mass was celebrated first thing each morning.
Though parishes arrived in their own groups, on the first night the entire camp was split up into work crews comprised of 7 or 8 complete strangers. After a day of team building exercises, the crews set out to improve the homes of families in need. Each crew was assigned a project and an experienced volunteer contractor to oversee the construction. After four full days of work, crews had installed new windows, built wheelchair ramps, and replaced roofs and floors at 140 homes in central Virginia.
The focus of WorkCamp is loving Christ by loving others in need. Over the course of the week, crews formed relationships with their residents. Each day, crews brought an extra bagged lunch for their residents so they could pray, share a meal, and discuss their faith together. On the last day, the residents were invited to Homebase to share one last lunch with their crews and get the full experience of WorkCamp. Crews and their residents packed into the Program room one last time to pray, sing and express gratitude. Residents were given the opportunity to say a few words and express what the week meant to them. Many thanked God and commented on how wonderful their crews were. Some said that their crews had given them hope for the future and restored their faith in the goodness of humanity. At the end, the room was filled with hope and joy as everyone joined in singing Amazing Grace.
Many participants left WorkCamp changed in ways they had not expected. Through homilies at daily masses and talks at the nightly programs, participants were encouraged to deepen their faith and use the week as an opportunity to grow closer to God. Each night parishes gathered to discuss their experiences and how they have influenced their faith. During a night of adoration, many experienced closeness to God in prayer in a way they never had before. One of the most powerful aspects of WorkCamp was the energetic community that formed, united in service and growing in faith. The community and close friendships that were formed enabled participants to experience the reality that living out the teachings of Christ brings inner peace and joy.
Check out our St. Agnes Facebook page for more pictures, or to get a sense of the joy and spirit of WorkCamp, check out these videos: