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Mission of Hope volunteers make an impact in South Pittsburgh


Last updated 8/16/2019 at 9:19am

Seventeen volunteers from St. Joseph Catholic church in Strongsville, OH who call themselves “Mission of Hope” descended on Pittsburgh in mid-July with a single goal: to help.

This multi-generational group of volunteers provides “traveling retreats” for its members, as they set out to local and out-of-town sites to complete skilled rehab work—cleaning, painting, dry walling, electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, and landscaping—for communities in need.

The group spent a week with the Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization which provides homes and support services for people with intellectual disabilities in the Pittsburgh region.

Accompanied by their pastor, Father Bob McWilliams, the volunteers visited the Emmaus headquarters and residential home in the South Side, as well as Emmaus homes in Brookline, Mt. Lebanon, and Scott Township. They tackled an assortment of projects, including painting a resident’s bedroom, renovating a bathroom, staining decks and renovating a patio at the Emmaus homes, and projects in the Emmaus bowling alley and office space.

According to Emmaus’s Director of Community Relations, MiRan Surh, “the group was just amazing. They had a plan, they worked so hard, and they got everything done.”

Ms. Surh noted the volunteers had an opportunity to meet and enjoy refreshments with some of the Emmaus residents as well. Following the trip, Mission of Hope made a donation to the Emmaus Community.

According to Mission of Hope Trip Facilitator Kathy McConnaughy, the visit was about more than just work. It was also a “journey in discipleship.” She said the group spends several months fundraising for supplies and “preparing themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for their journey of faith.”

Work days also include time for prayer services, Mass attendance, and daily devotions. This trip was one of 12 the group has embarked on since 2007. According to Mission of Hope, “the purpose of our mission experience is not only to provide labor, but to be a spiritual journey for our missionaries.”


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