Hahnville native Meghan Schexnayder Greco passed away from cancer in 2019, but her mission here on Earth lives on thanks to friends and family who are creating opportunities for youth to travel on faith-based pilgrimages in her memory.
The objective of Meghan’s Mission is to continue to inspire others through Meghan’s faith and spiritual conversion. The organization plans youth pilgrimages and provides an opportunity to fundraise to supplement the cost for each child that joins in on the pilgrimages.
Kelly Bourgeois, who currently volunteers with the group, said while many of the volunteers and teens associated with Meghan’s Mission are parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Luling, anyone in the parish is invited to join in.
The first Meghan’s Mission trip was in 2019, when a handful of teenagers took the trip to Medjugorje.
“That trip really solidified the desire to found the mission,” Bourgeois said. “We said, ‘Let’s make this a non-profit’ … we want to take the kids at least every two years.”
The 2019 trip followed Meghan’s own trip there in 2018, when she and her mother Angie Schexnayder and Father Anthony Odiong of St. Anthony of Padua Church, along with friends and other parishioners, made the pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Meghan, at the time, was very ill and diagnosed in her seventh year of bone and lung cancer. During the trip, Meghan stayed as part of a group with the visionary Mirjana Soldo. During her stay, Mirjana and Meghan bonded, and Meghan and Father Anthony were invited to kneel next to Mirjana for the October 2, 2018 Apparition. Father Anthony was also asked to lead the English version of the Rosary before the Apparition started.
Immediately after the Apparition, Meghan was approached by Stella Mar film Crew, who asked if they could document her story. Father Anthony was invited to be The Main Celebrant for nearly 30,000 pilgrims at St. James Chapel.
Meghan was asked to return to help to lead the 2019 Youth Fest, where an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 youth congregate each year, and share her Story of Conversion.
Because Meghan died before that trip could happen, Bourgeois and others brought parish youth there, and it was from that trip that Meghan’s Mission was founded.
Bourgeois said fundraising for subsequent trips started immediately, but that the COVID pandemic side-lined efforts for a while.
Now, however, the group is back in action to fundraise for the next trip.
“We’ve done raffles and meals from the church,” Bourgeois said. “Those have been hugely successful. Our parish has been so wonderful. Their generosity is beautiful.”
Bourgeois said the next trip was originally slated for this June, but because of COVID restrictions was pushed back to at least October, and maybe even into next year.
But no matter when it happens, Bourgeois said fundraising will continue.
“It’s so beautiful,” Bourgeois said of the community’s generosity. “It’s wonderful to live in such a community. Our community is so generous and so supportive. The experience teaches the kids fundraising and working together for an end goal.”
Bourgeois said 13 participants have signed up for the next trip.
“A few of the kids who went on that original trip are wanting to go back,” she said. “It was cool to see that eagerness for them to go back because it had impacted them so much. The kiss going on this kind of trip at such a young age has such a huge impact on their lives.”
For updates on fundraising efforts and events, visit the Meghan’s Mission Facebook page.