SALINA, Kan. (CNS) — Ten years ago, Father Gale Hammerschmidt, then a seminarian, said he had no idea what to expect from Prayer and Action, a summer mission project he helped launch. “I was hoping we could do one week a summer,” he said. The popular program has mushroomed. Now spanning seven weeks each summer, it draws almost 500 high school and college age people and adult sponsors. In a week’s time, participants focus on their faith and on helping the less fortunate. “I stopped counting about three or four years ago, but I’m sure the number of projects is in the hundreds and the number of participants is in the thousands,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “It’s kind of humbling.” Seminarian Brian McCaffrey led this year’s mission under the direction of St. Joseph Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, diocesan director of youth ministry. McCaffrey said he continues to be overwhelmed by the response that Prayer and Action generates. He joined the project in 2008 as a high school student and was on staff last summer. He enrolled at Conception Seminary College in Missouri this fall. This year’s Prayer and Action schedule included spending four weeks in June in Stockton, Kansas, followed by three weeks in July in Ellsworth, Kansas, both in the north central part of the state.