Our Name Is Ignatius

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Saint Ignatius High School

Cleveland Mission Trip Reborn As Homeless Immersion

Seven students and two adult leaders participated in the newly revived Cleveland Mission Trip, one of the eight excursions offered through the Fr. Thomas Gafney, S.J. '50 Mission Trip Program. The four-day experience focused on homelessness in Ohio City and around Cleveland.

Thursday, July 27, concluded the revived Cleveland Mission Trip, back after several years of hiatus. Seven students along with science teacher Mr. Ed Nolan and communications coordinator Mr. Connor Walters '09 (both are the Labre co-moderators) participated in the four-day, three-night experience, which focused exclusively on homelessness.

Students toured and served at several local agencies, visited with many men and women who are or were formerly homeless, celebrated Mass on the banks of the Cuyahoga River with Fr. Ray Guiao, S.J. '82, and heard from many individuals who are involved in homeless outreach.

Throughout the experience, the group formed relationships with Cleveland's homeless population at neighborhood agencies like the West Side Catholic Center, St. Pat's Church, St. Malachi Parish and St. Augustine Church. Instead of seeing strangers, the trip participants soon saw people with whom they're now on a first-name basis.

In plunging into this complex problem located right at home, the students now have a greater understanding, interest and motivation to find ways to serve Cleveland's homeless community, from Sunday nights on Labre, to lunch periods with Men of Regis, to weekday afternoons with the Movers ministry, as well as countless other volunteer opportunities in the neighborhood.

Inspired by the words of Labre co-founder and Theology teacher Jim Skerl '74, the group lived out his saying: "A smile, your name, and a handshake can go a long way."

The trip partcipants were: Danny Brenan '19, Michael Fitzgerald '18, Ryan Grace '19, Matt Hutchinson '19, Kevin Shearer '18, Zack Strom '19 and Andrew Zerman '18.

When these young men return to school in August, it will be with many new friends and neighbors in their community.

The group was featured on Channel 19 in their "Romona's Kids" segment. WATCH NOW