Within three weeks, The Culture Project Cleveland missionary team has inspirationally reached hundreds of young Catholics through presentations to more than 50 schools, youth ministry teams and confirmation retreats.
Each day missionaries travel across Northeast Ohio to talk to middle school, high school and even parent groups sharing a simple message formed by the words of St. John Paul II, “You are not who ‘they’ say you are.”
On Nov. 5, the five-member local team -- joined Cristina Barba, founder of the Philadelphia-based Culture Project -- greeted guests at Onix, a cloud solutions provider located in Lakewood, along with Onix CEO and Catholic philanthropist, Tim Needles.
Needles offered to host an evening fundraiser for The Culture Project’s mission at his company’s headquarters, “without hesitation,” said Patrick Grace, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation. Together, the Catholic Community Foundation, The Culture Project and Needles invited guests to learn more about supporting the mission.
Approximately 50 people gathered to meet the missionaries, hear their real-life stories and the impact they are making as they set out to restore culture through the experience of virtue.
“Hi everyone, I’m Laura Riebe,” the Cleveland team leader said, “and I am going to share with you just a few questions written by seventh-grade students that we received just last week here in Cleveland.”
Riebe read aloud questions focused on tough topics from how to break up with an atheist to the desire to stop engaging in sending a ‘sext’ from one teen’s cell phone. Attendees listened intently as the missionaries talked about how they tackled these difficult situations.
Missionary Emily Harpole gave a testimony about guiding a female student to confession, praying in what she described as “a big sister moment” with the teen, encouraging chastity by signing a commitment pledge card and coordinating with administrators and parents counseling services.
Barba explained that there are operating costs to keep the mission of being counter-cultural strong. “Help us share that there is more for each of these young people,” she said before turning the program over to Julie Pesusich, development director for The Culture Project. Pesusich said there is a fundraising goal of $50,000 to help sustain the local mission.
“We have a grand goal but we’ve seen what the culture says to young people and instead of complaining about it, we are doing something. And we invite you to do something too,” she said.
To help support the mission and make a donation to the Culture Project click HERE.
Photography by: Tara Marcic