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Mission to Mexico
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Fr. Michael Mitchell LC shares experiences from south of the border

Fr. Mitchell
Fr. Michael Mitchell LC working on mission in Mexico

With the help of Brother Brett Taira LC, Father Michael Mitchell LC spent most of the month of March directing two humanitarian missions in Mexico. Fr. Michael was ordained on December 12, 2011.  He is originally from Cranberry, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Chicago, where he works in youth ministry and is the vocational director for the greater Chicago area. He relates some of his recent mission experiences below.

On a Saturday night in early March, 2012, I stepped off an old bus in Rancho Nuevo, a poor village in the state of Veracruz. An excited group of villagers approached us and introduced themselves. As soon as I told them that I was a priest, their eyes lit up, and they asked if I would celebrate Mass for them the next day.  I readily agreed, and one of the villagers took off to the church to ring the bells. The church bells sounded throughout the sleepy countryside and as soon as the bells stopped, a voice shouted over a megaphone, “We have a priest in the village, and we will have Mass tomorrow!” 

What a beautiful way to start the trip! The local priest could rarely make it out to
Father and friends
Father Michael and friends
this mountain village since he has to cover 30 small villages altogether.  He tries to come to the village once a month, but, as you can imagine, it’s not easy for him. The townspeople felt truly blessed that I was going to be able to provide the sacraments every day for an entire week!  For a newly ordained priest this was a real joy; I was walking on clouds the entire week.

I was accompanied on the trip by a group of high school students and their fathers from Mount Michael Benedictine High School in Omaha, Nebraska.  Generous souls that they all were, they spent their spring break at the missions rather than on vacation. God blessed their generosity, as the mission trip proved to be most fruitful. We built two houses for poor families, and reroofed 11 other homes!

The next week found us in the Mayan village of Nuevo Durango. This time we were with a group of young men from Lincoln, Nebraska, who also took time from their spring break to be missionaries for a week. Here we finished pouring cement for the roof of the church and mission center. This meant spending the greater part of two days carrying buckets of cement up two stories and hoisting them onto the roof. We also built the walls of a new schoolhouse
Walls
Missionaries build walls for a school house in Nuevo Durango
for the village. It was very labor intensive, but the missionary spirit was running through our souls. We were literally building the Church!

Each day I attended to the villagers’ spiritual needs through confession, visits to the sick, blessings of homes and farms, and above all, the Mass.  For a newly ordained priest it was an awesome experience; so many years of seminary formation and now I could finally see the fruits! I met a young man named Enrique got into a fight at a bar and was dumped off at his home the next day with a lump on his head. A local doctor said his skull was cracked, and he had to go immediately to the city for treatment. I heard his confession and prayed over him before he was taken away.  I never found out what happened to him, but I know that he was at peace with God.

We finished the walls of the schoolhouse, and the roof will be put on by another missionary team in the coming weeks. Our time in Nuevo Durango helped all of us to grow spiritually and to grow in love for our faith. Being a missionary for a week is an eye-opening experience; all of us realized that we had received much more than we had given!

For more information on participating in a humanitarian mission to another country, see www.demisiones.org.

 

 

 


PUBLICATION DATE: 2012-04-06


 
 

Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
MissionYouth
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center


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