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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Opportunities Abound: Mission Hope in June
What we do can seem small but have amazing long-term effects.

Misiones después de Katrina
Many of us might figure that the city is well on its way to being restored...

By: Jay Dunlap, Regnum Christi Communications Office

The headline of an Associated Press article published, May 2, 2006, caught my eye because it was about a devastating reality that I had just witnessed: “Debris, Misery Pile Up for New Orleans.”

Before getting into the sad details, I want to mention what’s positive: You can help do something about this. Mission Hope, the effort launched by the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi to bring aid to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, is offering three week-long missions fast approaching in June to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. For more information and to sign up, please visit and click on the Mission Hope link. Let me explain why.

It’s been eight months since the hurricane hit New Orleans. The story has receded to the back pages if not entirely off the news media’s radar screen. Many of us might figure that the city is well on its way to being restored. I know I did.

When I visited New Orleans last week as part of my work with Regnum Christi members, several of them arranged to take me on a day-long driving tour of the city. They were hoping what I would see would convince me to help them promote the upcoming Missions so people won’t forget the massive amount of work still to be done. They were right. Despite the support of people throughout the US and the world, the excellent leadership of Archbishop Hughes and the efforts of the priests of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and their many collaborators, as well as a massive government effort, the work of restoring New Orleans will take years. It could take as long as a decade.

Associated Press reporter Mary Foster puts it well:

The piles of plaster, plumbing and broken appliances top 6 feet in some places, filling the gutters and spilling onto the sidewalks.

Despite the heat -- it´s already in the high 80s -- the piles are moist from the still-waterlogged material ripped from flooded homes. Something in each of them attracts hordes of flies that buzz up at every disturbance.

Eight months after Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans, this is the first sign of an attempt to revive the "Gert Town" neighborhood, a poor, mostly black part of the city.

Many neighborhoods are still utter ghost towns, with house after house, block after block, mile after mile of flood-destroyed homes that sit
Misiones después de Katrina
You can be the hands, the face, the physical presence of Christ’s love reaching out to brothers and sisters in need.
as empty, fetid shells. The areas are so vast, no television pictures, no aerial photographs can come close to replicating the experience of being in the middle of it. It is immense. To see it is to know what is meant by a “disaster of biblical proportions.”

Worse yet, the people of New Orleans tell of the fact that the storm is continuing to take lives. Many older residents return home, living in one of the thousands of white trailers FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has provided for people who return to restore their homes. In fact, the shiny, white FEMA trailers in the driveway or on the front lawn are the sure sign that a house is in the process of being restored. But for many residents, especially older ones, the work is too taxing.

They are literally working themselves to death.
Then there are the suicides. Depression runs at staggering levels. A friend of mine who works in the pharmaceutical industry in New Orleans says the demand for anti-depressant drugs has gone through the roof. Doctors report that a very significant proportion of those who have always called New Orleans home cannot come to grips with the fact that so much of their beloved city remains decimated.

But you, if you can volunteer as a missionary this June, can embody the hope these people need. You can be the hands, the face, the physical presence of Christ’s love reaching out to brothers and sisters in need. In the face of so much to be done, you can inspire your brothers and sisters in Christ by showing that whatever can be done in the amount of time we can give is worth doing.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta launched her work by picking up one dying person in the streets and launched what we all know as “Something beautiful for God.” Christ himself started by teaching a small group of twelve, one of whom betrayed him.

What we do can seem small but have amazing long-term effects.  Love is sacrifice. Show your love for Christ and your neighbor by making the sacrifice to be a missionary of hope in New Orleans this June. Support Archbishop Hughes and the Church in New Orleans with your physical presence.

Visit and click on Mission Hope today to make your love a reality.



Related links

Altius Foundation
Catholic World Mission
Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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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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