|Lauren Hawkesworth with schoolchildren in South Africa|
April 26-May 4. 1 trip. 12 missionaries.
Dr. Phil Kelley led
a medical mission to Ghana at the end of April.
A number of doctors, a nurse, a Legionary priest, and
several seniors from Pinecrest Academy made the trip to this
very remote region of Ghana, were the main occupation is
mining. The mission was sponsored by the local diocese in
Ghana, and the doctors, including an orthopedic surgeon, a dentist,
and an urologist, assisted hundreds of people.
Along with medical assistance,
the group gave testimony to their faith.
“We tried to make
our presence a testimony of our faith and our love
for the people,” said Fr. John Hopkins, LC.
Fr. John added that
many of the doctors prayed with their patients, and “a
tremendous amount of witnessing went on.”
“It was an intensely prayerful mission,
as we came together to express our faith in prayer,
in joy, and in service.”
Durban, South Africa. May 27-June12. 1
trip. 18 missionaries.
Another group of missionaries from around the US
arrived to Africa in May, this time to the southern
tip of the continent. In Durban, they volunteered at a
daycare, playing with the children and painting the outside of
the building. They also built a library at a school,
and brought clothing and food to an orphanage with about
50 kids under the age of 5.
|Fr. Michael Mitchell, LC in Haiti|
They spent time with the
children at the orphanage, and also with children in the
cerebral palsy section of a hospital. While the mothers of
the children took classes on how to help with the
rehabilitation, the missionaries held and played with the children.
“It was amazing to see their joy, even when they
had nothing,” said Jazmin Jeffords of Denver, CO. “We couldn’t
do a lot and we didn’t speak the same language,
but they were so grateful just for us being there
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: May-July. 5 trips. 72 missionaries.
sponsored 5 week-long trips to Haiti in May, June, and
July. Volunteers helped the Missionaries of Charity in a malnourished
clinic, a wounds clinic, food distribution, and a home for
Most of the work was with destitute mothers and
children who are suffering from malnutrition – the missionaries helped
with food distribution for about 400 people. They also played
with, held, and fed babies and toddlers who were abandoned
or sick in the hospital, and sang and accompanied those
in the home for the dying.
“It was an experience of encountering
the suffering Christ,” said consecrated member Jennifer Ristine, who flew
to Haiti at the end of May. “I would call
it an apostolate of presence, joy, and service, because we
didn’t speak their language.”
Jennifer said that all of the missionaries
had a very powerful – sometimes life-changing – experience in
Haiti. At the end of the trip, the missionaries shared
their experiences, saying that they had learned that poverty has
a face, and had seen the power of love at
“It was the first time I really lived for others
without thinking about anything I would get out of it,”
said one member of the group. “It changed my life.”
May 14-31. 1 trip. 6 missionaries.
A group of Regnum Christi
members travelled to ‘Mother Teresa’s city’ to volunteer with some
of the many programs and institutions for the poor. They
volunteered at a home for sick and destitute women, a
home for handicapped teenage boys, a home for mentally disabled
children and girls, a home for the dying, and a
home for disabled toddlers. Some of them also volunteered at
FreeSet, a ministry that helps free women from prostitution
and sex trafficking.
|Jenn Kelley with new friends in Calcutta|
The missionaries prayed and attended Mass with the
Missionaries of Charity each day, and had the opportunity to
attend the final professions of 17 sisters. The bishop of
Calcutta presided at the Mass, which was filled with other
sisters, Missionary Brothers, families, and volunteers.
“I was impressed by the
sisters’ joy in making their final vows,” Jenn Kelley wrote
in her blog. “They all looked so young and
so happy to be dedicated to Christ and to the
service of the poor.”
Consecrated woman Fernanda Páez was also touched by the
example of the Missionaries of Charity, and described her own
experience of working at the service of the poor.
“In Calcutta, I have
touched poverty, misery, suffering and death,” she said. “I have
not seen despair, anger, resentment, or bitterness; but rather, simple
faith and acceptance of the cross. I have also seen
the transforming power of love; the beauty and elegance of
a soul who embraces everything as coming from the hand
me, being here has made what you know about poverty
and people living in slums or on streets come alive,”
Jenn Kelley said. “And not just alive, but with a
face, a name and a family. It is impressive to
see the sisters love and love and love and serve
without ceasing - all and only because they know they
are loving and serving Christ in those faces.”
Cancún, Mexico: June-July. 3
trips. 60 missionaries.
Mission Youth also sponsored trips to Cancún in June
and July. The mornings were spent in construction work –
missionaries built a library, painted the Mission Youth center, and
built tables, benches, shelves, and desks.
In the afternoons, they had activities
with the children, including a puppet theatre where sock puppets
made an appearance every night to talk about virtues. They
also helped the local women to develop a center to
make and sell handicrafts, and taught English classes. The missionaries
were rewarded for their hard work with an outing at
the end of every week!
The people of Cancún weren’t the
only ones who benefited from the missions; the missionaries themselves
were also touched by the experience. One of the missionaries
on a month-long trip had never been baptized, but after
helping to prepare children for the sacrament, she ended up
being baptized with them! Paola Treviño, a consecrated woman who
works with Mission Youth said that it was an example
of how God’s grace can work even outside of the
believed in God, and God was there for her, even
before she had received the sacraments. She had an open
heart to give and to serve others. It was the
most beautiful experience to be there for her; the biggest
gift for my 17th anniversary!”