The most memorable statement from the angry email was, “This is not what my son signed up for.” Three weeks prior to departure, I had finally informed our youth group of some final needs for our summer mission trip to Hardin County, Kentucky: a sleeping pad or air mattress, as we would likely be sleeping on a floor, and a swim suit—mainly for the tarpaulin-screened bucket baths we would be taking. “Kevin McQuiggen’s” mother was distressed by the conditions in which her son would be living for the week of the trip. The theme for the week was Catholic social teaching, so I replied how our “difficulties” for the week would be a good exercise in solidarity with the people with whom we would be staying to try to assuage her objections.
My town has only a few people I would consider “rich.” The population is mainly mid to lower-middle-class. Kevin’s family is solidly middle-class, and his parents are understandably happy that their children have a comfortable life. Kevin was a regular altar-server, but wasn’t involved in much else at our parish. When he did attend some youth activity it was for him primarily a social event. I was somewhat surprised when his mother turned in the paperwork to have him make the trip, really. The first time I had tried to recruit some teens after a Mass he had jokingly asked, “Can’t we just write a check and stay home?”
Find out what happens to Kevin and how God changes his life. And find out about Laura, who believes God doesn't love her...can't love her.