|A Woodlands Academy alumni leads the Rosary for some children.|
May 7, 2009. Dublin, Ireland. At times, it may seem
that teenagers are uniquely resistant to efforts to teach and
form. But the case of 15-year-old Vahania Gomez proves that
when a teenager has grasped an ideal and made it
her own, she will bring it to life.
Hermosillo, Mexico, Vahania spent a year studying abroad at Woodlands
Academy in Dublin, along with other girls from all over
Mexico. For girls at OAK language academies such as
Woodlands Academy, the year spent together is full of
unforgettable experiences of faith, friendship, and family spirit.
This was the
experience that Vahania wanted to recreate through a unique school
reunion held in the town of Toluca, Mexico this past
Holy Week: a mission at the service of the town
and its parish.
A total of 33 teens from two grade
levels joined in the mission, along with 4 Regnum Christi
co-workers and 2 consecrated women who had worked
with them during their year in Ireland.
In addition to
the door-to-door missions and activities for children, the girls participated
in the liturgies of Holy Week, sharing their fervor and
joy with the local people.
Along the way, they also
had the opportunity to make a child’s dream come true.
During the mission, they met a little girl who was
about to make her first communion, but whose family did
not have the money to buy her a white dress.
The teens pooled their money to buy her a first
communion dress fit for a little princess.
|The missionaries pooled their money to buy a little girl a new dress for her first communion.|
The experience of missions
reawakened that personal experience of Christ that they had felt
so vividly during their year at Woodlands.
On Holy Thursday,
Isabel Lopez shared in a Eucharist Hour, “This week has
helped me very much. I have felt Christ very near
me. We have talked a lot during this week. Being
with my Woodlands sisters has helped me to remember how
we lived Holy Week during our year in Woodlands Academy,
accompanying Christ and carrying his cross. These days have especially
made me ask myself, why me? Why did Christ choose
me to go to Woodlands? Why am I here today
on these missions? And the only response that I find
is that he loves me so much that he wants
to remind me that he died for me. Even though
I get caught up in other things, he doesn’t get
|Woodlands Academy alumni: united in the mission.|
tired of telling me ‘Isa, I am here.’ He is
here with me right now, helping me with my daily
Isa added, “And I know that he will not
let me go, that he will always be with me
just like right now I am with him and trying
to take away a little of the weight of his
Looking back, Pamel Villareal reflected, “God didn’t really need us,
but he chooses to need us. I learned every day
more than I was giving.”
Mariana Ortega, a consecrated woman who
worked with the girls during their year in Ireland remarked,
“We all concluded that the missions were an excuse from
God to bring them closer to Him. They were a
moment that the girls felt they could pause, breath again,
live and give their faith and share what they’ve received.”
at the group, she added, “It is beautiful to see
the young women that they have become.”
Thanks to the initiative
of Vahania Gomez, this first Holy Week reunion mission will
be the first of many to come.
“We hope to
hold annual Holy Week missions for students of Oak International
Academies,” said Mariana Ortega. “They are a moment of reunion
and renewal for the girls, and the experience helps them
to grow more in their relationship with Christ and their
mission as apostles.”
For more information on Woodlands Academy or
other Oak International Academies please visit the website at www.oakinternational.org or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.