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Scecina hosts Missouri youth on mission trip

High school and college students from Vincentian Marian Youth-Southeast Missouri get ready to paint a house near St. Philip Neri on Indy's Eastside that's being converted into a youth center.

By Beth Murphy

Scecina Memorial High School welcomed 80 people -- high school and college students and adult leaders -- who traveled from Perryville, Mo., in southeast Missouri to help improve the homes and lives of people on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. The group is Vincentian Marian Youth, or VMY, and they call their mission trip “Operation Overhaul.” Scecina was their home base for the week of June 8, the place they slept, showered, worshipped and ate.

But by day, they went into Indy neighborhoods to toil in the yards and houses of thankful residents, putting in showers, painting, trimming trees, pulling out and replacing carpeting and pulling weeds. They also are rehabbing a house across the street from St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, helping to create a St. Philip youth center at 1270 E. North St. They also worked at Midwest Food Bank.

“We have adults helping who are experienced in construction, and we’re doing some major work, such as ceilings, drywall, and wheelchair ramps,” said VMY adult leader Lynn Davis. “We could not do these bigger projects without them. Some people even use their vacation time to come help us every year.”

The youth group participates in other missions and activities such as March for Life throughout the year. But Operation Overhaul is their biggest mission trip, and each year they travel to a different location. The Indy mission was the 11th for the VMY-Southeast Missouri group.

Levi Krauss, 17, who will be a senior at St. Vincent High School in Perryville, Mo., said he was having a ball.

“It’s great. It’s awesome,” Levi said after his first day working on his group’s service project. He said they cleaned up the home and yard of an older woman who was very thankful for their help. “We had a good day and helped some people, and we’re going out and doing it again tomorrow.”

Every day the group celebrated Mass in Scecina’s chapel in St. Francis Hall, sometimes before dinner, sometimes at the start of the day. They participated in Eucharistic adoration, reconciliation and Stations of the Cross. Thursday night, they prepared a “Love Banquet,” inviting all of the folks they helped this week to have dinner with them at Scecina. On Friday, relaxed with a river float trip in White River in Noblesville, and then visited the sites where they worked all week.

"We had 100 guests at the Love Banquet," said Shirley Klump, who is one of  the founders of the VMY chapter. She said the banquet was attended by people with local organizations who provided support and by grateful recipients of the VMY's work throughout the week. "There were tears, so you know they were touched, you know we touched hearts."

Ericha Mueller, 17, said her experience in VMY has changed her life. “I would not have a relationship with God if not for VMY,” she said. Indy was Ericha’s fourth mission trip with VMY, and the experiences have led her to plan to major in theology and become a youth minister.

Vincentian Marian Youth of Southeast Missouri offers youth and adults alike many opportunities to grow in a faith community through service and worship.

According to the website of VMY-USA, “All members of the Vincentian Marian Youth Movement contemplate in Mary the young people’s resolve to imitate the virtues characteristic of the Association [of the Children of Mary]: transparency (purity), collaboration (humility) seeking the will of God (obedience), sensitivity to the poor (charity). These are virtues that all young members must acquire.”

Visit for more information about Vincentian Marian Youth.

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Bette Smith wrote:
I was fortunate to be one of the families who were blessed to be assisted by the "pink team". I could not have been more impressed by their spirituality and work ethic. It truly gives me hope for the future that will be shaped by these fine young people. I loved listening to them banter among themselves and appreciated their eagerness to go above and beyond expectations. I wish them all well in coming years and gratefully thank the organizers for all their efforts. God bless you all!

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