Pratt hosts mission group from

Minnesota en route to NM

By Glenna Borho
Special to the Register

At 4 a.m. Saturday, July 18, a group of 34 high school students and 11 adult sponsors boarded a bus and traveled from St. Charles, Minnesota bound for Mescalera, New Mexico.  
Their true mission was to meet 355 other people in Mescalera to refurbish homes located on the Apache Indian reservation.  This was arranged through Work Camp, the sponsoring organization which has been organizing missions within the United States for more than 30 years.

This industrious group hailed from a tri-parish located about 40 miles from Rochester, Minnesota, home of the famous Mayo Clinic.  For one year, the 34 young people had various fundraisers to cover the expenses that would be incurred for their one week mission in Mescalera.
The exact mid-point of their total mileage was Pratt, Kansas.  Randy Dick, who works in the IT Department of Mayo Clinic, was the point of contact.  He called Sacred Heart Church in Pratt to make arrangements for their group to stay at Sacred Heart School’s dining area/music room Saturday, July 18 and on their return trip on July 25.  The group arrived around 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon; they had time to stretch, and then they joined us in celebrating Mass at 6:30 p.m.  That weekend Father Jack Maes was our celebrant.  After Mass, their bus driver drove the group to the Pratt Teen Center where they were hosted to dinner arranged for by Tina Heien, Church Secretary at Sacred Heart.  Along with Tina, the group enjoyed visiting with a number of high school youth and visited with parishioners Rita Hitt, Mike and Rhonda Westerhaus, Michael Nall, Gabriel Nall, Stephanie Becker, Cheyenne Becker, Melissa McGuire, Ian Hampton, Alec Hampton, Grace Fellhoelter and her friend Dominique Staats.
The group left Pratt Sunday morning at 4 a.m. bound for Mescalera.  They worked diligently that week painting, repairing and remodeling homes of the Apache Indians.  Although the Apache were restrained at first in interacting with the volunteer workers, by the end of the week they were embracing one another and exchanging addresses to keep in touch with one another.
When the group returned to Pratt on July 25, they arrived just in time for Mass, which was celebrated by Father Michael Kissane, a Carmelite missionary priest from New York City.  The Stewardship Commission of Sacred Heart hosted the group and the visiting priest at the home of Blake and Chris Himmelwright.  The youth had a great time swimming in Himmelwright’s pool until Mother Nature acquired an attitude problem and let loose with rain, thunder and lightning.  All in all, everyone had a great time.  The other members of the Stewardship Commission are Jerry and Jeanette Siemens, Ed and Sharon Barrett, David and Glenna Borho and Alan and Bekki Pribil.
The bus ride coming home had its challenges.  Their bus broke down in Texas, the replacement bus lost air conditioning in Iowa, but the third bus was the charm. The group arrived home physically tired, but spiritually rewarded for helping those fellow brothers and sisters who so appreciated their gifts of time and talent.
The parishioners of Sacred Heart Church in Pratt feel very blessed to have been chosen by this group to be their host.  This is a true testament of stewardship of time, talent and treasure demonstrated by the St. Charles Borromeo Parish.  Come back again; you are always welcome in Pratt, Kansas!