A group of St. Joseph’s Academy students, along with a group from Catholic High School, spent June 8-15 in Klagetoh, Arizona, working with the Navajo people on Saint Anne’s Mission.
The week began on Sunday, June 9, with mass at the Mission complete with a special Navajo blessing. The group then hiked Canyon de Chelly in Chinle.
During the weekdays, the volunteers taught Vacation Bible School to youngsters ages 4-16. They facilitated a variety of instructional and recreational activities, including music and arts and crafts. They were also charged with prepping, cooking and cleaning up after breakfast and dinner.
The afternoons and evenings were spent participating in a variety of activities, including a 5K walk/ run as part of the “Just Move It” campaign to promote healthy lifestyles. The group visited Gallup, New Mexico, for sightseeing, traditional Navajo dancing and dinner. At Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, the travelers toured the local museum and zoo. Other highlights included a traditional sweat lodge ritual, touring the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and the Petrified Forest National Park. Each evening, children from the area returned to the Mission to play with the mission trip participants, then the day ended with a “God moments” discussion around the fire.
Coach Liz Fontenot accompanied the group.
Senior Mary Catherine Daniels said she particularly enjoyed getting to know the children she worked with. “While they were shy at first, it didn’t take long before they were asking us all for piggyback rides and playing little pranks on us,” she said. “What I found to be most memorable about the trip was how easily the community welcomed us into their home. Without hesitation, they invited us to join in (and lose to them) in their nightly volleyball games, run alongside them in their community 5K and experience their unique culture. This openness and welcoming attitude are what allowed us to have such a great connection to the Klagetoh community and to build true relationships with those we served.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt