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The Bridge to Tomorrow
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
Regnum Christi Mission Corps offers a life-changing experience.

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Young Mission Corps men and women joined together for a co-ed youth activity during Holy Week.

In recent years, more high school graduates have decided to take a year off before entering college to perform missionary work or public service. This is sometimes referred to as a “gap year” or “deferred year” or, as it is called at Princeton University, a “bridge year.” It is a time for students to clarify their interests and goals, develop organizational and life skills and become more globally aware, among other things.

Mission Corps is the Regnum Christi version of the “bridge year” program for young Catholics to expand their horizons and serve others as youth missionaries. Mission Corps director, Fr. Martin Connor, LC, describes the program as “an opportunity for young men and women to grow and mature in ways that they probably have never been able to before.”

The Mission Corps concept has existed for many years as the Co-Worker program, but was renamed and re-designed two years ago and designed to be more relevant to the issues of human maturity that face young people today. Fr. Martin describes the growth in maturity as, “first and foremost a personal way to understand the beauty, goodness and truth that is part of healthy human development. This happens through forming a healthy and balanced brotherhood or sisterhood, creating a common value system, new adventures and experiences. Second, they grow spiritually – learning the positive and negative aspects of themselves as well as getting to know God better.”

Basic Training

This past summer, 38 young men spent four weeks in Mission Corps “basic training” at
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A group of young Mission Corps women on a pilgrimage to Rome.
Our Lady of Thornwood Conference and Education Center in New York. The men will primarily serve in the United States, but they came from eight different countries: Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Poland and the United States. The missionaries’ cultural exchange provides a broadening experience as they work, play and socialize together.

Young Mission Corps women receive their basic training at Queen of the Family Retreat Center in Oxford, Michigan. In a real sense, both the men and women are on an extended spiritual retreat. Here, perhaps for the first time in their lives, they have a chance to listen to God’s silent beckoning and their spiritual, social, human, and intellectual facets blossom in a beautiful way. Through their training and classes they are given the criteria and tools to discern right from wrong and to make balanced decisions.

After basic training is finished, they travel to their mission destination in groups of 4 or 5. As members of Legionary communities or teams of consecrated women they will learn the value of hard work and cooperation, gain greater self-confidence, make new connections, and learn what life is all about in the context of their Catholic faith.

Making a Difference

Some of their training involves being equipped to help with parish youth groups. Many of them will lead confirmation retreats. Last year’s missionaries in the Archdiocese of New York offered 26 confirmation retreats. They also help to run Conquest clubs for boys and Challenge clubs for girls, organize and lead Holy Week Missions,
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Missionaries rally together before playing soccer against a team of seminarians.
and provide age-appropriate programs on the theology of the body.
 
Timothy Moots, a Mission Corps volunteer last year, explained how important was for him to identify with the teens he was working with. When he observed a basically “good kid” being tempted toward bad behavior he realized, “This is me at his age.” At that point he understood that “a missionary must see himself and then Christ in the kids around him. Then he will come to grips with why he is here – so these kids won’t turn out like he could have without God’s grace.”

While this is an important “bridge year” between youth and adulthood for the Mission Corp volunteer, there is something even greater than his own personal development that can take place. Missionaries have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of teenagers just a few years younger than themselves. As model Catholics, they become a bridge for other teenagers to develop a stronger, more personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

*** 

Donations are gratefully accepted to help subsidize the expenses of our Mission Corps missionaries. If you are a high-school graduate or college student who would like to donate a year of service through Mission Corps, you may contact Fr. Martin at FrMartin@LegionofChrist.org for more information.

If you want a real taste of the Mission Corps experience, complete with photos and videos, visit the RCMC Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RCMissionCorps)


PUBLICATION DATE: 2011-09-27


 
 

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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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