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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Sharing Christ’s Love:
Seminarians from Sacred Heart Apostolic School help villagers in small Mexican town improve their homes and construct a local church

apostolic boy in  mexico
An precandidate works on building a church for the local villagers.

Chilapa, Veracruz, Mexico – Last month, twelve nervous and excited young men in sweaters and gray slacks walked down the jet bridge at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.  In their backpacks they carried Bibles, leather gloves, candy and other sundry items.  They would soon have an experience that will change the way they look at the world.  They will forget about themselves and become apostles to share the love of Christ.

These members of the junior class from Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana soon disembark into the neighboring country of Mexico.  Upon arrival in Mexico City, they stop to pray and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The next day they set out on a five-hour drive to Chilapa, Veracruz, to visit a small village at the feet of Pico de Orizaba Mountain.  When they arrive, they see people in great poverty, but with a serene happiness the seminarians have not experienced before.

Most of the people in the region still cook on open fires inside their houses without ventilation. The townspeople breathe in the smoke and many become ill.  The seminarian missionaries’ main work will be to install stove caps with small chimneys into
basilica of guadalupe
In front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico City.
these homes.

“I remember stooping down to enter one elderly man’s house because it was too small for us to even stand up in,” recalls Max Nguyen, 15, a student at Sacred Heart since 2008.  “The open fire was still burning when we arrived.  None of us could stay inside for more than a minute without having to step outside for some fresh air.  I am grateful for the opportunity I had to really experience first-hand how some of the people there live every day.  It made me realize how much we have and what a difference we could make for their lives.”

Another project for the missionaries was to construct a new church building.  Each of them raised money before the trip to be able to purchase cement and other materials.  In the afternoons, they mixed, hauled, and poured cement for the walls.

“It was hard work,” said Aaron Estes, 15, of St. Louis, Missouri. “But we knew it was worth it to help the people. Almost all the little boys in the town came out wanting to work with us as well, and that was cool to see that our enthusiasm was contagious. I guess it was an opportunity to
apostolic boys orizaba
Among the village children.
‘build the Church’ (part of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi motto) in a very literal sense!”

In the evenings, the missionaries invited all the townspeople to Mass.  Afterwards they performed a skit and lead games for the children.

The last day, they hiked up the mountain, reaching their goal of 14,500 feet. The volcano summit, at 18,491 feet, is the tallest in Mexico and third-tallest in North America.

Ten days after leaving for Mexico, twelve young men dressed in sweaters and gray slacks, along with a sombrero, walk up the jet bridge at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  In their backpacks they carry images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexican sweets and knick-knacks, and a few left-over pesos. These high-school seminarians are not the same as they were when they left Chicago.  Their real mission is just beginning...

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Altius Foundation
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Sacred Heart Apostolic School
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