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A Day at Love Begins Here

High school students at Love Begins Here before heading to morning Mass.

A Day at Love Begins Here

By Melissa Coleman, Religious Education Coordinator and Love Begins Here Lead Missionary

It is 6 a.m. and the diocesan Love Begins Here Core Team of young adults gather for their daily morning meeting. They are joined at 6:20 a.m. by the lead missionaries (adult chaperones). The next 20 minutes consist of prayer, reminders, a review of the schedule for the day, and our worksite assignments.

Now the real fun begins! The lead missionaries and core team members wake up the high school students, who are sleeping on the floors in the SMG school classrooms. We witness a miracle—50+ teenagers get ready for Mass, eat breakfast, and pack their lunch and bag for the day in time for the daily missionary meeting at 7:30 a.m.

We start the meeting with a little cardio activity (this summer’s favorite was learning the famous line dance from the movie Footloose), get inspiration from St. Mother Teresa, and learn some helpful worksite tips. This time is filled with smiles and laughter, and it is not even 8 a.m. yet!

After being spiritually fed at the 8 a.m. Mass, we are ready for our work to begin. We arrive at the different worksites by 9:30 a.m. Our work included painting projects, garage cleaning, yard work, helping at the Pregnancy Helpline, headstone cleaning at Resurrection Cemetery, and several lofty projects here at St. Maria Goretti. We finish our work around 3:30 p.m.

A hard day’s work is rewarded by fun time at the Middleton pool—and a shower of course. Clean and refreshed, we return to SMG for some free time before we pray the rosary. Again, we are spiritually fed and now we need to feed our stomachs.

A favorite worksite is kitchen duty. Our teens prep and prepare our homemade meals daily. There is never a shortage of food while at Love Begins Here. Dinner is filled with laughter, storytelling and getting to know new friends. The pure joy of the missionaries never ceases to amaze anyone who witnesses it!

The day ends with Collatio, which means “bringing together.” We share how we saw God in our day. Hearing the teen missionaries share their witness to God in their life is very uplifting. This is followed by a personal testimony by a Core Team member. Then we all go into the church to pray and meditate on our day. Such peace and joy are felt after a long day of service and fun as we kneel in silence.

Afterwards, we gather in our parish group to wrap up our day. Sometimes this time is filled with laughter and stories and sometimes we dive deeper into the personal testimony given earlier in the evening. Friendships are strengthened and an LBH bond is formed—and it is a strong one! It is 10 p.m. and we prepare for bed in anticipation for another day of Love Begins Here.

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