Attendees: John & Katherine Mischlich, Larry & Julia Kovac, Brittain Kovac, Staci Streich, Sandra Scheuler
Last Summer’s 2014 mission trip:
Hand In Hand Scholarship: meetings with the parish council so that they agreed to take responsibility for reporting and oversight – emphasizing that this cannot rest on Fr. Mushi’s shoulders in case he is re-assigned it can only continue if the laity/parishioners are involved. All members were eager to help with the various aspects: oversight of grades, attendance, transportation, service at Missionaries of Charity home. We also met & interviewed the 5 scholarship recipients – learning about each of them and emphasizing their responsibility to be good students and helpers in the parish community. They are pioneers and therefore the future of other youth getting scholarships depends on their success as good scholars. We met with Mother Superior and 2 other sisters from the Missionaries of Charity home and they agreed to take ownership/lead with the service requirement of all scholars. They will assign them work to do at the home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Regarding the finances of the HIH scholarship: over $9,000 has been given to HIH scholarship through our parish office so far with pledges for the next 1-2 years, the total will be close to $15,000. This year’s scholarship disbursements will be $2,400 for the 5 students. The diocese of Mandeville recently received charitable status and the diocesan office is setting up to handle the transfer of our money to an account for the scholarship. The diocese will then make the disbursements to St. Gabriel in Balaclava or to the schools of the students. Hopefully, this new process will work out to make administration easier for all.
Activities: we went on home visits with Fr. Mushi, painted the ceiling, benches and posts in the breezeway between the Sisters’ home and the church. During our stay we participated in a funeral mass, procession and graveside service for a resident of the home and we also witnessed the baptism of 2 young girls at Sunday Mass. Josh Dickey is godfather for the two girls
Planning for Summer 2015 trip:
Getting Missionaries: We want to encourage the youth of the parish to participate in the mission trip experience; therefore, we are going to talk to the newly confirmed high school students on Feb. 12th and to the rest of the high schoolers at a LifeTeen night on Feb. 22nd. Olivia Messina agreed to talk and S. Scheuler will provide a flyer/hand-out. If more youth are interested then the adults will be drawn in. Interested missionaries will be asked to submit a $100 deposit by mid-May – either before or after the bake sale. Will send out an email to all the alumni with links to the meeting notes on the weebly.com website and a direct “Is God calling you to visit friends in Jamaica again?” There needs to be a core group (2 or more) going to accompany any new missionaries. Targeted date for summer 2015 trip would be July 20-30; however, these dates accommodate KC high school youth. If no high school youth are going, then dates can be flexible to August (unless Fr. Mushi on vacation – which he usually is for the month of August) or September. NOTE: Jamaica schools’ summer break is July 1-Sept 1, we think. John & Katherine Mischlich are unable to travel during the very hot season (summer) and would not be going on summer mission trips anymore. They will decide if /when to schedule a visit to Balaclava separately since Fr. Mushi says they are welcome anytime.
Mission Trip Activities: Discussed activities that could be planned for the mission trip because interested people will ask. The main purpose of the trip is relationship and sharing faith; however, having “something to do” is important in order for some (especially adult males) to commit. Ideas: building 1-2 picnic tables for parish yard/ outside rectory, adult faith-sharing group for learning about “why does the Catholic church do that?” and having games /crafts and summer school for the younger children. Brittain said that there are a lot of projects online with used car tires so she wonders if there are some available in Balaclava area and will look into it. We also discussed creating a video here in Kansas City called “parish life” and showing it to the people of Jamaica and then creating a video about parish life in Balaclava while on the mission trip to bring back to KC. Staci has a projector and we would only need a white sheet to show the movie outdoor. It was discussed that 2 people may be needed to go down ahead and arrange the supplies (eg: lumber) for the mission trip if building a picnic table.
Fundraising: We plan to continue the May Bake Sale & the June Car wash. Additionally, Staci Streich and Fr. Sharbel are figuring out the details of a raffle fundraiser using this fall’s trip to Fatima, Lourdes & Barcelona. $50/ticket with only 200 tickets being sold. This raffle sale would take place between Feb-May. Proceeds from the raffle would be given to the HIH scholarship and possibly some to the mission trip expenses.
The 20th year of the sister-parish relationship or the 20th year of missionary trips is in 2015 or 2016 - something worth celebrating and could be a uniting activity. God has blessed both our communities with this special connection—it was discussed that a celebratory event should be planned. Someone needs to spear-head this with some research into the specific date/year that the “twinning” began – during Abbot James’ time here at our parish while Fr. Denis Dougherty was pastor. The event could coincide with our parish’s ethnic festival or could be a dinner here that is catered by a local Jamaican restaurant -- per Brittain Kovac, the Kansas City Jamaican community is active and there may be a willingness to support or be involved with our events/fundraisers.
Next Meeting: tentatively March 18 or 19th. There may need to be a new approach to generate interest in going on the trip. Ideas are welcome.