Cypress, TX News – Local Church Cleans Up the Community

Cypress, TX News (October 24, 2014) - #ServeGodServeOthers is more than just a catchphrase for Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church youth; it is a way of life. CtR’s Youth Ministry (CtRYM) was hard at work for Fall Service Day. Fifty six adults and teens beautified the church and five other work sites to better serve the Cypress community. In different groups, volunteers stained and sealed an 875-sq. ft. fence, spread a pallet and a half’s worth of mulch, stained a deck for the school  playground, weeded gardens, took down a fence, pruned bushes, painted the outside of Cypress Assistance Ministries, and washed out food collection bins among other service activities.

Bryan Smyth, coordinator of high school ministry and coordinator for Fall Service Day, said there is a long-standing tradition of service in the youth ministry and Fall Service Day is no exception.

“On Saturday, we were able to serve more than five different work sites and provided assistance to the parish, our priests, members of the Christ the Redeemer community, and members of the greater Cypress community,” Smyth said. “It is a remarkable thing to see teenagers giving back to those who need it; they bring a joy to their service as well as the Gospel.”

Keeping it in the family so to speak, the youth greatly improved the CtR playground, which is used by Genesis Early Childhood Program and CtR Catholic School students. Six adults and 12 teens volunteered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., logging over 100 man-hours of labor for maintenance of the playground.

Assistant Director of the Genesis Early Childhood Program, Melanie Gehrt, was especially impressed with their work.

“The staff at Genesis ECP extends our appreciation to all those teen and adult volunteers who helped to beautify the playground,” Gehrt said. “Their efforts and time will be a huge blessing to the children in our program as well as the children in CtR Catholic School. Thank you for helping the youngest members of our community to learn about the beauty of God’s creation.”

Rachel Poyo, director of youth evangelization and catechesis at CtR, loves working the students because it helps them to see that they are a part of a bigger community and not just their age group.

“We get to know the students on such a different level when we’re out working with them in the community,” Poyo said. “You get to see their little personality quirks and it provides great opportunities to hear about what is going on in their lives.”

She also said seeing the gratitude on the faces of the residents they are helping is inspiring.

“Most of the people we worked with are unable to get outside and do the work themselves so it was a joy to be able to help them enjoy their homes more without the stress of overgrown plants,” Poyo said. “We plan on continuing to seek out work in the community and teach our students the importance of lending a hand and being the Body of Christ.”

Although spending a Saturday giving back in service to the community was the objective teens, adults and those they were serving forged a valuable bond with one another that goes beyond pruning bushes and painting fences. Smyth recognizes the importance of teens being exposed to the fellowship of service at such a young age.

“Seeing a high school student give up a Saturday morning to love their neighbor brings me great hope for a world that sometimes seems so bleak,” he said. “It is a great reminder that the Church is indeed alive and well and Christ is truly present where two or more gather in His name.” CFM