Mountain State Missionaries in Pursuit across the Diocese

By Tim Bishop WEST VIRGINIA—The missionary team from the Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center in Huttonsville is in pursuit of youth and their families across the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston this season. “Pursuit” is a program that travels to many parishes across the diocese to offer faith-based programming to youth and their parents. The goal of the program is to give parishes a positive youth ministry experience led by the missionary team. Robert Perron, director of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said that many parishes in the diocese do not have active youth ministry, so the Pursuit tour is a way to teach those parishes and give them a model for good youth ministry. He said the program also connects his office with young adults who want to become more active in youth ministry in their parish. “I think Pursuit has been a wonderful opportunity for our missionaries,” he said, “to provide a fantastic evening for parishes across the diocese. I believe it is some of the most important work our diocese does throughout the year.” Perron said each night involves prayer, fellowship and games as well as other fun activities for youth and their parents. Nick Chancey, a 24-year-old missionary team member from Ripley, said he values his time traveling the diocese to engage youth in their faith. “We’ve been on the road for several weeks now,” he said. “We began in early January and we will finish up during the first week of March. So far we’ve been to four vicariates in our tour of the diocese. It’s been a fascinating experience getting to see all of the different parishes and parishioners throughout. As a West Virginia native I feel extremely blessed to have had this opportunity. Most of these places I had only heard of but now I can say that I have actually been all over the state. The people are wonderful, the places are gorgeous and Jesus has definitely been with us on this journey.” Chancey said the evening offers something for everyone. “Pursuit is an evening in which families come together to find out what it is that they are working toward,” he said. “They answer the question, ‘what is our goal together?’ What we do is raise the question and then provide an opportunity for them to explore that through games, prayer and some other fun activities. And it’s not just for families, we’ve also had groups of friends participate as well. There’s something there for everyone.” The Pursuit tour rolls on until March 2. Upcoming dates include: St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling Feb. 22, Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling Feb. 23, St. Anthony Parish in Follansbee Feb. 24, Sacred Heart Parish in Princeton March 1, and St. Patrick Parish in Weston March 2. For more information on the Pursuit tour, contact the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at (304) 233-0880, ext. 311.