|Youth for the Third Millennium, a Regnum Christi apostolate, welcomed Holy Week missionaries to Chicago and several other cities.|
In numerous cities and countries in America, Europe and Asia,
thousands of Catholics participated in one of the Regnum
Christi Movements signature events: the Holy Week megamissions. Regnum
Christi members Louis and Monica Judd, who live in the
northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, went with their two pre-school
children, Christian and Maria, to join other families in door-to-door
missions in and around Chicago. The missionaries prayed with people
and invited them to services at the sponsoring parish. Louis
Judd shares his insights and experiences.
Wednesday evening, April 12,
we gathered with the other missionary families and youth missionaries
at Chicago´s Immaculate Conception parish for the opening Mass. The
atmosphere was electric and it was beautiful to see so
many missionaries all joined together for the cause.
We saw so
many friends from various places that it was more like
a family reunion than anything else.
Thursday morning, April 13, all
of the missionary families met at St. Daniel the Prophet,
a parish in one of the heavily Polish neighborhoods on
Chicago´s northwest side. The family missionaries all went door to
door in this parish. By my unofficial count, we had
about thirty adults and seventy children. Several states were represented
as many missionaries came from far away: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio,
Kentucky and Arkansas.
The neighborhood was so Polish that many people
don´t even speak much English. One missionary family learned how
to pray the Hail Mary in Polish and shared the
lesson with the rest of us, bringing smiles to many
I wanted to learn enough Polish to say
"Please share your chocolate," but I just couldn´t get the
pronunciation down. Maybe next year.
That Holy Thursday morning, we had
a brief training session to learn how to conduct the
mission outreach door-to-door, followed by a mini-retreat and lunch. Our
mission in knocking on doors was threefold: ask for prayer
intentions, let people know of the Holy Week ceremonies and
take a parish census. Then we hit the streets --
or as our 2 year old son Christian would say,
"time to go to see people".
The missionaries were split up
into four groups serving four different "zones" wthin the parish
boundaries. Along with some friends from Fort Wayne, Indiana, we
were assigned to Zone 4, which was furthest away from
The neighborhood consisted of perfect little squares - ten
houses, stop sign, cross the street, ten more houses, etc.
Each house was
|The missionaries filled Immaculate Conception Church in Chicago for the Holy Week Missions opening mass.|
about the same size and each
had at least one dog. We split the street down
the middle: we took one side and another missionary family
to the other.
In all we had 3 mission sessions: Thursday
afternoon, Friday morning and Saturday morning. Other families went out
more often than we did but since our cjildren are
ages two, one and "in the womb," a 3-hour session
per day was about all we could handle.
Whenever a family
we would visit would offer us an intention to pray
for we would then ask if they would like to
say a Hail Mary. Then our two-year-old prayer leader -
Christian - would lead us in prayer. I am sure
he and one-year-old Maria did more for those people than
we can ever imagine.
Many people were pleasantly surprised to see
Catholic Missionaries. At three different homes, people told us that
they had lived in their houses for over fifty years
and had never received a visit from a Catholic representing
the local parish. We felt proud to be the first.
At one home on Thursday, we were treated to Root
Beer and cookies on the steps. Christian and Maria won
them over. Numerous "nice ladies" offered us cookies for the
kids - an added perk.
We were invited into one home.
It was sad yet hopeful at the same time. The
woman we spoke with has four daughters and her husband
was filing for divorce after 20 years of marriage. But
the woman said she is willing to try and have
her husband speak with a priest in hopes of saving
the marriage. She was a wonderful example of humility and
forgiveness. Please remember her and her family in your prayers.
our last session on Saturday, as visited the last house
on our list, we met a man who nearly came
to tears he was so happy that a Catholic missionary
would come to his home. He was of poor health
but had a magnificent smile and a huge heart. He
must have thanked us about thirty times.
In all, we knocked
on 78 doors and 38 answered. Almost everyone was polite.
I did get one "door in the face" but at
least the door slammer said "no thanks," so we chalked
that up as at least partially polite.
The funniest reply came
on Saturday. A lady pulled up in her car right
|The Judd Family, smiling with joy during the 2006 Holy Week Mission at St. Daniel the Prophet parish in northwest Chicago.|
in front of a home. We asked if she lived
there and she said no and then proceeded to enter
the house. We were all in a good mood so
we just laughed and moved on about ten feet to
the next house. I guess asking if a person lives
there is a bad opening line.
One man directed his sprinkler
directly onto his porch and front door when he saw
us coming. I guess his door needed watering. We knocked
anyway - our little Christian Marcial loved getting wet.
The homeowner did not answer but when we got two
houses down he left wearing his baseball uniform.
I guess the
saddest part of the mission was hearing quite a few
people say that they did not have anything to pray
for. We would ask them for prayer intentions ..."your wife,
children, health" and they would say, "No, everything is just
The MegaMission was a marvelous experience and truly a grace.
We highly recommend making it a family tradition for Holy
Week. There is a one day mission in Northern Kentucky
on May 13th if you would a "taste".
May God bless
you and Happy Easter!
The Judd Family