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St. Paul youth attend Youth Elect Service retreat

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Aug 23, 2018 at 3:00 PM

WILLARD — St. Paul Catholic Church director of Christian education Kelley Ericsson recently took a group of students from St. Paul High and Norwalk Catholic schools and the St. Paul parish to the Youth Elect Service (YES) retreat at St. Francis Xavier Church in Willard.

Nate Tokarsky, Sam Tokarsky, Luke Depinet, Mark Depinet, John Depinet, Kathleen McKinney, Brogan McKinney and Michael Kirk embarked on a weekend of service to others. The theme of the retreat was “guilty of serving the Lord.” The projects and communities that they serve in vary from year to year, but the youth travel from Norwalk to Bucyrus, from Willard to Butler and everywhere in between.

“It takes a team of people to make a difference. YES is not just a nice group to visit; we want to make a difference in our communities by getting out and serving others,” Ericsson said.

The youth spent the day cleaning windows, removing fences, cleaning yards, trimming trees, painting garage doors and washing cars. A huge part of the day of service is focused on each of the youth spending some time with the homeowner to find out more about them and to share some fellowship with them.

The weekend culminated with Mass and music was performed by Toledo Diocese seminarian Peter Grodi.

“One thing that I hope the students learned is that opportunities to serve and make a difference in the lives of people in need can be found in our back yards,” Grodi said.

He further reflected on what he hoped the youth learned, saying the YES retreat was a great opportunity for the youth of the area to get out and serve God’s call.

“We sometimes forget that when Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, it literally can mean our neighbors. And although it is less glamorous and adventurous than going overseas, it is just as much the work of charity and selflessness that Christ calls us to do,” Grodi said.

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