Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Marietta Teens Find Heart In Mission Work

Published September 10, 2008

The group’s mission was to serve those in need in Bluffton, Ridgeland, Hardeeville and St. Helena’s Island. Work sites varied from individual homes needing repair to a Habitat for Humanity warehouse to Girls and Boys Clubs and daycares. The group made repairs to 50 homes in the Bluffton area.

Each morning of the mission, teens and adults gathered for prayer, picked up tools and needed supplies, and navigated to the rural work sites.

Caity Szalay helped Ms. Daisy, who had lost her son, and her house was in bad shape. Szalay’s team knocked down and rebuilt Ms. Daisy’s porch and painted the entire inside of her house. Szalay said, “Ms. Daisy was thrilled, and I learned that even the smallest things, like replacing smoke detectors, can make a big difference. This experience has motivated me to change the world, do God’s will.”

Alexis Sarris gained insight and a different perspective about judging others. She helped an older, paralyzed man who lived alone and was confined to bed. Sarris’ team “cleaned out what started as a cluttered trailer and made it into a comfortable home.” She said, “Talking to old Mr. Bill taught me how much you can gain from serving others. The mission trip truly brought me closer to God, my work group, Mr. Bill and Transfiguration Catholic Church.”

Tori Plourde served at a children’s center and said, “Seeing their faces light up when they see you walk in to play made me feel like I was really making a difference in their lives. The mission trip renews my love for God and strengthens my relationship with God. It is an amazing experience to help others in need and to meet so many new people.”

After working each day, teams returned to McCracken Middle School (which was home for the week), showered, had an opportunity to attend daily Mass, ate dinner and participated in the evening program. Evening program consisted of reflections from the day’s service, singing and praising, skits, witness talks and prayer.

Transfiguration’s ChrisTeen Youth Ministry has been participating in mission trips for the past nine summers. In addition to fundraising events, the teens met monthly to prepare for the trip, this year focusing on understanding the principles of Catholic social teaching and applying them to their own experiences.

Transfiguration Church is located at 1815 Blackwell Road, NE, in Marietta. For more information about the church, go to For more information about Catholic HeartWork Camp, go to