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Turn to Jesus (Article)

To the Ends of the Earth
This summer, more than 160 Regnum Christi missionaries helped thousands of people in need

South Africa
Lauren Hawkesworth with schoolchildren in South Africa

Bibiani, Ghana. 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
Fr. Michael Mitchell, LC in Haiti
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.

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 with them.”

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: May-July. 5 trips. 72 missionaries.

Mission Youth 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 the dying.

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 work.

“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.”

Calcutta, India: May 14-31. 1 trip. 6 missionaries.

A group of Regnum Christi
Jenn Kelley with new friends in Calcutta
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.

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 of God.”

“For 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 sacraments.

“She 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!”  



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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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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