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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Missions around the US
In 11 cities, Mission Youth missionaries serve those in need and witness to their love for Jesus Christ

Washing Feet

During Holy Week 2012, families and young missionaries from Mission Youth gave up their daily routine for three days to serve those most in need in 11 cities throughout the country.  More than 1,250 missionaries followed Christ’s command to “Go out into the whole world and preach the Gospel.” (Mark 16:15)

In cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington DC, missionaries filled the streets, parish gyms and parish halls to relive the most important days of salvation history. 

Holy Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Los Angeles, in remembrance of the words of Christ to his disciples, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another´s feet” (Jn. 13:14), about 100 missionaries symbolically washed each other’s feet, and then served in a local soup kitchen.

In West Phoenix, Arizona, at the White Tanks Cemetery, 20 missionaries fulfilled a corporal work of mercy, offering
Chain Gang
Missionaries witness burial of 5 homeless people
songs and prayers during the burial of 5 homeless people.  Along with local musician Michael John Poirier, the missionaries paid their respects to the four adults and one infant who were laid to rest by a local women´s "chain gang."  

In the Detroit metro area, more than 50 missionaries traveled to the city of Lapeer to help spruce up the grounds and facilities of some residences in low income and retirement communities, as well as clean a local chapel.

In Washington DC, 18 missionaries visited the “House of Peace” run by the Missionaries of Charity.  The sisters there tend to more than 50 terminally ill residents.  The visiting missionaries served in the woman’s ward, offering services such as painting the residents fingernails and toenails, and other simple comforts, as well as doing some house repairs.

Also in the area of our nation’s capitol, about 70 young women (50 in middle school and 20 in high school) gathered at Our Lady of Bethesda retreat center to “follow in Christ’s footsteps.” In addition to the special Holy Week ceremonies, they met Jesus at each moment of His passion through heartfelt and hands-on activities.  The group held a traditional Seder Supper with a reflection given by Fr. Anthony Sortino LC about the thoughts of Christ on that holy night.  Then they celebrated Mass (the actual remembrance of the Last Supper.)  Afterwards, they accompanied Christ in procession to the Garden of Olives, to an “altar of repose.” Throughout the night Christ was never left alone.

A religion teacher who participated in the Washington DC missions as a chaperone said she was impressed by the religious women she met there– from the Missionaries of Charity, to the RC consecrated women, to the Sister Servants of the
Legion of Christ priest gives absolution to penitent
Lord from Our Lady of Maranatha parish.  She said she noticed how these women’s witness affected the young student missionaries. “It was beautiful to see how these consecrated persons help to make the whole message of Christ real and concrete.  Sometimes religion class is all about rules, and the students have debates about different themes, but the mission experience helps them to understand and see what’s really important and what’s certain -- that God loves us and Christ died on a cross for us.” 

Good Friday, April 6, 2012

In the early morning, 40 young girls from Chicago met “Christ” in the homeless, serving them hot chocolate and bagels.  Approximately 20 boys helped refurnish a home for a family of 10 who had lost their original home to storm damage. 

In Dallas, 28 families “encountered Christ” by acting out the Stations of the Cross in an impoverished residential community.

In New York City, missionaries started their day carrying a wooden cross through the
Carrying Crosses
streets of Manhattan.  Afterwards, they continued in Christ’s footsteps, performing a live representation of the Stations of the Cross from the Soho area to St. Patrick´s Old Cathedral. (Click here for more information and a video.)  They finished the day delivering warm food and basic toiletry kits to the homeless.

Detroit missionaries also witnessed the Live Stations of the Cross procession through the neighborhood community of the church of St. Vincent DePaul, part of the cluster parish of St. Damien of Molokai in Pontiac, Michigan.  They attended the parish Good Friday services, and then held a prayerful Stations of the Cross devotion at a local assisted living facility.

Union Station
Good Friday witness at Union Station
Washington DC, the missionaries participated in evangelization activities, the Stations of the Cross, veneration of the cross, and watched the movie The Passion of the Christ.  Fifty middle school students traveled to Barnesville, Maryland to participate in a reenactment of Christ’s walk to Calvary.

At the famous DC Union Station, where reportedly several thousand people pass through the doors each day, 20 young women missionaries, along with Legionary priests and consecrated women, brought the Good Friday message that “Jesus died for you today.”  The missionaries passed out holy cards, prayed the rosary with passersby, held signs reminding people of the special day, and gave bagged lunches to those in need.  The missionaries discovered that, of those
Our Lady
Following the path of Our Lady of Sorrows
people who did stop to listen to them, a surprising number were completely unaware it was Good Friday.

“Instead of being discouraged, it brought us conviction, commitment and action,” said RC consecrated woman Becci Sheptock. “The participants left with passion and plans to make a greater statement next Holy Week.”

Holy Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Washington DC missionaries decorated a procession route to commemorate the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin.  Each table was dedicated to a specific sorrow, covered with bright table cloths, framed photos of Our Lady, and other symbols of love.

In San Antonio, Texas, at the International Children’s Services Center, nearly 100 missionaries brought some motherly love to children waiting to be reunited with their families.

Detroit missionaries held a Living Rosary at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan and then prayed in front of an area abortion facility.  They also sponsored activities in the afternoon for families of the St. Damien of Molokai parish in Pontiac, including a presentation of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in Spanish.

In Los Angeles, at the St. Clarita’s correctional facility, 20 young missionaries stood beside family members waiting to visit their loved ones in prison. They listened and consoled the suffering mothers. They prayed with them, and even taught some young mothers how to say the rosary. 

One of the young missionaries -- a 9-year -old boy -- said of his experience at the Los Angeles mission events, “My experience was happy and sad.  I was sad when I heard a woman say she doesn’t go to church.  I gave her a few things and talked to her about the importance of going to Church and asked her if she was sad that she was not going to see God.  At the end she told me ‘Thank you.  You changed my life with your words.’”

Thanks to all the missionaries that made this Holy Week so special!



Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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