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Pope Francis recently proclaimed to the youth of the Catholic Church: “Go forward. Make noise. Do not be afraid.”

That is exactly what the San Marco Catholic Youth Group did recently, participating for the fourth year in Catholic Heart Work Camp. The mission: Help locals with housing projects, and at the same time provide the young volunteers with a positive, life-changing experience.

Various groups have traveled to Tampa and Belize in recent years. This year, the destination was “The Spice Island”, Grenada, in the Caribbean, 100 miles off the coast of Venezuela.

This year’s participants included Kim Adamson, director of Religious Education, Deacon Mark Leonard, Marissa Mengelkoch, Lauren Jeter, Samantha Jennings, Gina Palumbo, Jacob Olguin, Sean Hennell and Emmanuelle Meurgue.

Fun activities before the start of the work week were a rainforest hike, snorkeling, and an indigenous meal of meat and vegetable stew as well as bread fruit and dumplings steamed in coconut milk.

The next day, the volunteers were grouped into over 20 teams, painting many churches inside and out which brought challenges considering it was their rainy season. The volunteers also did murals, tile work, fencing, and upgrading the community space at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the capital.

There were also sessions interacting with local residents at the Dorothy Hopkins Home for the Disabled, playing with children at local schools and learning about their local hero, Kirani, Grenada’s first Olympic medalist in any sport, winning 400m gold in London.

Plans are in motion as the Youth Group prepares to attend World Youth Day 2016, in Poland.

Contact Kim Adamson, San Marco director of religious education at 394-5181 x 13.

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