August 8, 2014

Youth volunteer outreach helps Brown County residents

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and parishes in Terre Haute spent four days in late July assisting people in need in Brown County. (Photo by Carol Nathan)

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and parishes in Terre Haute spent four days in late July assisting people in need in Brown County. (Photo by Carol Nathan)

By Carol Nathan (Special to The Criterion)

BROWN COUNTY—Each summer, teenagers from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville and young people who participate in Terre Haute youth ministry come together with adult leaders to help needy persons in Brown County.

Indiana Nazareth Farm is a service camp sponsored by St. Agnes and five Terre Haute parishes which have combined their youth ministry efforts—St. Benedict, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Patrick, St. Margaret Mary and St. Joseph University. The camp is based on four cornerstones—community, prayer, simplicity and service.

This summer, the outreach effort occurred on July 25-29 and included 17 teenagers, seven young adults and 12 adults. The youth directors for the project were Adrianne Spahr from St. Agnes Parish, and Tom Gattuso and Mary Kate Hosty Becker, youth ministers for the Terre Haute parishes.

The youths and their leaders reached out to the Brown County community. They provided their spiritual and physical strength to make the lives of some residents easier, and to help them manage their homes.

Some of the projects included cutting and stacking firewood; dismantling and constructing a deck; building a ramp; staining decks and a storage shed; weeding and mulching; building a dog training pen; digging a drainage trench; building storage shelves; yard cleanup; gutter cleaning; and adding railing to steps at a home.

Each teenager and adult leader averaged 36 hours of intensive hard labor in just four days, equaling 1,296 person hours. In addition, the youths and leaders shared prayers and reflections each day.

The original Nazareth Farm was formed as an association of the Catholic Church and is located in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,W.Va. Its purpose is to provide volunteer service to the people of Appalachia.

In 1994, the program was started in Brown County by Benedictine Sister Mildred Wannemuehler, then parish life coordinator at St. Agnes Parish, former youth ministry coordinator Janet Roth at St. Benedict and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Terre Haute, and Mike Lewis, then youth ministry coordinator at St. Agnes Parish in Nashville. Dee and Gene Suding have been instrumental in the ongoing success of the project, providing space for the camp and continuing support of the mission.

The appreciation of the people served by these outstanding youth and adult leaders is impressive and heartfelt, youth leaders said. They added the spirit of warmth and caring was so sincere that it was “vibrant and magnetic.”

The Nazareth Farm project is held each summer at the end of July

Brown County residents who need assistance are encouraged to keep this outreach in mind for themselves, or if they know of others who might benefit from the gift of service provided by these youths and their leaders.
 

(Carol Nathan is a member of St. Agnes Parish in Nashville. For more information about Nazareth Farms, contact Adrianne Spahr, youth ministry coordinator at St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, at spahr6@gmail.com.)

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