Service trip to Kentucky inspires St. Cyprian youth

Jim Shotsberger, Rachael Pepin, Matilda Davis, Joe Gurnig, Michael Haun, Liam Egan and Santia Lopez Joyce. | Contributed photo
Jim Shotsberger, Rachael Pepin, Matilda Davis, Joe Gurnig, Michael Haun, Liam Egan and Santia Lopez Joyce. | Contributed photo

Inpirational words from Pope Frances on helping others convinced Franklin Park resident Jim Shotsberger to participate in St. Cyprian Church’s teen mission service trip to Maysville, Ky., the church parishioner said.

“In December, we made an announcement that we were offering this mission trip,” said Shotsberger, whose son went on the trip last year and loved it. “We put it out to any kids at St. Cyprian or in the parish that would be interested in attending.”

Shotsberger and another adult served as chaperones for Michael Haun, Matilda Davis, Joe Gurnig, Liam Egan, Rachael Pepin and Santia Lopez Joyce.

St. Cyprian teamed up with St. Patricia Church in Hickory Hills and took a bus to Maysville. Students helped refurbish houses for the disadvantaged, veterans, and the elderly June 22-28.

“It wasn’t just our group in Maysville,” Shotsberger said. “It was 408 Christians from different denominations and from different parts of the country. There were all people from different walks of life.”

The students from St. Cyprian and their chaperones were split into different groups and each was given a duty to complete. Shotsberger said he felt he wasn’t very skilled in construction, so he was in charge of a painting crew. While managing students from across the country, he made sure they were doing a good job and were safe. The 408 students on the mission trip completed all types of refurbishing from roofing to painting to building decks.

Both the students and Shotsberger learned and grew so much during the course of the trip. He was really touched seeing those in his group help an 88-year-old woman refurbish her home.

“They were giving up themselves to help a woman they’ve never met,” he said.

One St. Cyprian student wrote a paper about the trip, lauding experience. The student enjoyed being able to meet kids from all across the country providing service.

“I just feel so lucky to have gotten back as much as I gave,” the student wrote.

Shotsberger said St. Cyprian plans on attending the mission trip again next year.

“The trip helped the students grow because they got to see how important service is to the disadvantaged,” he said. “They matured a lot over that week.”

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