St. Mary’s students serve in alumni priest’s footsteps

St. Mary’s Catholic High School (SMHS) sent eight students, three alumni and three faculty and staff members on mission trip to Mexico June 8-13. Besides serving the community, they also visited the home of Fr. William Wasson, a 1947 SMHS alum, to honor and celebrate his life as a Knight.

Fr. Wasson was ordained a priest shortly after graduating high school and founded a non-profit organization called Nuestro Pequenos Hermanos (NPH), which means “Our Little Brothers and Sisters,” for the abandoned and displaced children of Mexico.

“Saint Mary’s students have been moved by the joy of these children and the overwhelming, positive impact that Fr. Wasson left on the community,” said Fr. Robert Bolding, the President-Rector of St. Mary’s Catholic High School.

Students were impressed that a fellow alum founded such a great organization. The joy and love of the children in Mexico inspired six St. Mary’s students to sponsor a child of their own and are now considered godparents.

NPH has educated and provided for more than 18,200 children in the last 50 years through the homes it operates in nine countries: Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Bolivia. Ryan Ayala, campus minister, coordinated the trip in conjunction with the high school’s ongoing centennial celebration and already foresees more mission trips in his future. Three seniors already committed to returning next summer plus one alum is deeply contemplating a year of service at one of the homes.

“The highlight was when we walked into Fr. Wasson’s museum and saw his St. Mary’s diploma and yearbook photo,” Ayala said.

“We ended our trip at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and thanked Mary for being our namesake and safeguarding our school for the past 100 years. It was a very powerful moment.”

Other recent alum are already eager to attend the mission trip next year.