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Students Prepare for 2nd Service Trip to Nicaragua
Posted 06/24/2016 09:54AM

Montini Catholic held a very special commissioning Mass on June 8th. The Mass, celebrated by Pastor Father Jeff Stoneberg of Christ the King Parish, was held for the students and chaperones preparing for their Nicaragua Mission Trip (June 27-July 1). 2016 will the second year for the trip to the garbage dump in Nicaragua. Montini, under the direction of Campus Minister Michael Blanchette, teamed up with International Samaritan for this life-changing service trip and is very proud to be globally expanding its service learning program.

Montini's first "global mission" occurred in June of 2015 when they sent a team of nine to work with the garbage dump community in Nicaragua. The group helped build a house for a single mom and her eight children. "It was such a powerful experience, a life changing experience," said Mr. Michael Blanchette, Campus Minister at the school who has been instrumental in helping Montini Catholic's service ministry to go global.

International Samaritan is an organization that serves victims of severe poverty in developing countries by partnering with them and others to alleviate hunger, homelessness, endemic disease and ignorance. The mission of this organization is to build homes for single moms, and support educational programs for the children. Inspired by the parable of the good Samaritan, the group works to alleviate hunger, homelessness, and endemic disease across the world. According to International Samaritan, volunteers such as Montini Catholic not only lend physical and educational support to their missions, but more importantly, they bring hope to the people served. International Samaritan is proud to lead service-learning immersion experiences that touch the lives of both the people they serve, as well as the volunteers.

Blanchette said that last year, upon their return from Nicaragua, the students said that they were very changed from their unique experience. "They have become more aware of how others live in the world and it challenges us to be more conscious of living simply so that those who are in need can have more. It reminds us all of what is important in life."

Blanchette and his team are very excited to be returning again next summer to the same garbage dump community in Nicaragua. The Campus Ministry team held a meeting in October and signed up a new team to travel to Nicaragua this summer. One student, Veet Zavari also traveled last year. "Veet and his family were very reluctant last year when approached about traveling to Nicaragua," said Blanchette. "He was so inspirited by the experience, however, he was inspired to travel with us a second time."

This year the team is planning to blog daily about their experiences to update their family and friends of their ventures. "We are happy that our friends and supporters back home will be able to keep up with us on a daily basis this year," said Blanchette. "The students are very excited to be able to share their thoughts on this life-changing experience." The blogs will be posted on the website and on our Facebook page (

The 2016 group includes students Enrique Sandoval, Emeka Nkuku, Ashley Dunning, Gustavo Sanchez, Daniela Torres, Veet Zaveri, Ava Gianatasio, Lainey Nielsen and Paulina Torres. Chaperones - parent, Mrs. Maureen Nielsen, and teachers, Mrs. Hilda Castor and Mr. Michael Blanchette.

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