As the Parish Community of St. Helen’s continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary, 50 parishioners made up of youth and adults from Westfield and Scotch Plains, spent a week in Roanoke, Virginia helping those in need. The group’s theme this year was “ECHO.” The team was called to imitate the very acts of love and kindness that Christ demonstrated throughout His life on earth. They were called to ECHO the heart of Jesus in our world today by serving the neglected, brokenhearted, and marginalized members of society. The trip set out at 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 15. This is the seventh year that St. Helen’s has participated in CHWC- Catholic Heart WorkCamp.
In attendance were: Karen Abaya, Nora Bergin, Caroline Bielen, Elizabeth Bielen, Patrick Bourke, Grace Cash, James Cirillo, Emma Conlon, Nick Corsentino, Anita Dazzo, Caroline Dwyer, Sean Dwyer, Emily Edwards, Anastasia Fowler, Caroline Francisco, Cathy Francisco, Cecilia Guarnuccio, Matthew Guarnuccio, Faith Hrinkevich, Liam Jackson, Molly Jackson, Malcolm Kahora, Erin Kylish, Chris Larkin, Brendan Loder, Lauren Logozzo, Olivia London, Gianna Mangiamele, Sophia Maurillo, Bridget McDermott, Will McGlynn, Mia Melao, Ronnie Melao, Ricky Mercer, Elisa Saint-Denis, Brianna Weber, Alissa Witzel, Chris Witzel, Jake Zrebiec. Adult Team: Jim Conlon, Fr. Gabriel Curtis, Nick Dazzo, Patti Gardner, Marie Guarnuccio, Mike Guarnuccio, Kevin Larkin, Chris Loder, Tricia McGlynn, Mari Melao and Lisa Travaglini
During the week the group broke up into separate work teams. The teams gathered at 7:30 a.m. for morning prayer/program and departed for the worksites at 8 a.m. Some of the organizations that they worked with were Habitat for Humanity, Community Food Banks and soup kitchens.
Upon returning from the worksites each day, CHWC provided the youth with an evening program that consisted of music, reflections, games, Mass and a candlelight prayer service.
The team stayed at Roanoke Catholic High sleeping on the floor all week in classrooms and showered in the gym or at the local YMCA. This was an unforgettable experience for all, which enabled the youth to truly appreciate all of the blessings that are provided for us in our own community. They plan to continue to serve those in and around our community and encourage those in the parish community to serve alongside with them.