Bettering our faith community:

Bettering our faith community:

Youth mission trips need support

By Jordan Whiteko

Multimedia Content Manager

For more than a decade, youth across the Diocese of Greensburg have traveled to nearby Appalachia and other parts of the United States on a mission to better their faith community. COVID-19 may have temporarily halted in-person work, but the tidal wave of need is approaching, and local teens are ready to answer the call.

Madison Suman, 18, a parishioner of St. Barbara Parish, Harrison City, participated in the Manus Christi (Hand of Christ) service trip to West Virginia in 2019, during which the youth ministry team helped to restore families’ dilapidated homes.

“I truly think that one can get happiness by providing others with happiness,” she said.

Suman said helping those less fortunate made her appreciate things she previously took for granted and realize how she should use the gifts God gave her to continue helping others in need.

Christie Smith, Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry, added, “It was amazing to see how the young people of the Diocese truly made Mother Teresa’s quote, ‘Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.’ come alive during their time in West Virginia. They were so enthusiastic to do the work and willing to learn new skills to make the projects happen.”

Nick Kravitz, 18, a parishioner of Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville, was also on the West Virginia trip. He urges other youth to pursue mission work.

“Because of how much you were praying and reflecting during the week, it made everything you did seem more meaningful,” he said. “I know it can seem daunting at first, but it is truly fulfilling and worth the impact you have on people’s lives.”

Smith said spending time with people whose homes they repaired had the greatest impact on the young people.

“Having the opportunity to speak with them, hear their stories and know that they were doing work that mattered was extremely moving for all of them. Two years later, many of our teens still say that the week in West Virginia changed them in ways they had never imagined,” said Smith.

Kravitz agrees.

“You could tell how much it meant to some of those we helped to just be able to sit down and have people listen to them and care what they have to say. It was a really cool experience being a part of that for someone,” he said.

Suman added, “Being the hands and feet of Christ is something you should be proud of, and you should put that on display for everyone to see and try to change as many lives as possible.”

The Diocese of Greensburg is planning a mission trip for summer 2022. To support the Diocesan Mission Office, visit


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