August 18, 2017

Serra Club vocations essay

Inspiration of priest leads student to mission trip to Honduras

By Reilly Trieloff (Special to The Criterion)

Reilly TrieloffI have learned what it means to be a disciple through the ministry and witness of the former priest at my parish, Father Jeffrey Godecker.

Not only was I baptized by him, but he was the priest for my first reconciliation and first Communion. I remember hearing his homilies every Friday during my first three years at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) School in Indianapolis.

I also remember him constantly talking about his mission trips to Nuevo Paraiso, Honduras. Being so little, I did not fully understand what exactly the trips were about, but traveling to another country to help less fortunate children sounded like something right up my alley.

Every Friday at Mass, I donated the coins I had earned that week to the mission that Father Jeff brought to IHM, “Young Hearts to Honduras.” Through Father Jeff’s witness, I knew I would one day be called to travel to Honduras myself.

This calling finally came true for me on June 6, 2016. I remember waking up at 3 a.m. that morning to head to the airport to travel to Honduras with a youth group from IHM.

I was beyond excited that I was finally going to be able to experience the incredible things that Father Jeff had talked about time and time again. I did not know what to expect, but the trip exceeded any and every preconceived notion I had.

The landscape was magnificent. The people were kind, and I saw God in each and every child I had the honor of meeting that week in Honduras.

I really bonded with one child in particular. He was a twin, like me. He was a tiny, weak little 5-year-old boy named Jefferson. He loved when I would push him on the swings, or when I would play tag with him around the playground.

It was not until about the fifth or sixth day that I learned where Jefferson had gotten his name. He was named after Father Jeff Godecker.

I got goose bumps when I realized this. It truly showed me the impact Father Jeff has had on the wonderful people of Honduras, and how much his mission has changed all of their lives.

I thought it was really special that the little one I bonded with was named after one of my childhood heroes.

Even though I do not see Father Jeff anymore, I really do appreciate the impact he had on my childhood and his love for mission work. He has instilled the same passion in me, and I will forever be grateful for that.

His ministry will live on forever through the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, and I am beyond excited to go back to Honduras this summer to continue my ministry there.

(Reilly and her parents, Scott and Jonell Trieloff, are members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. She completed the 12th grade at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 12th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2017 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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