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Turn to Jesus (Article)

A Different Kind of Day with Dad
Dads and kids share mission experiences together


Almost everyone who’s been on a mission trip agrees: they go to give, but they end up receiving even more. On Fr. Michael Sliney LC’s father-son and father-daughter mission trips, the opportunity for kids to spend meaningful time with their dads is perhaps just as worthwhile as the good they are able to do for others on the mission.

“There are plenty of opportunities to go to a football game together, but it’s difficult to find truly meaningful activities, where the children have a chance to see their dads serving and praying and being witnesses,” says Br. James Wilson LC, who accompanied a mission to El Salvador in December. “The boys and their dads were able to share their faith together in another country, sharing what unites us more than anything else: our love for God.”

A group of 26 dads and sons joined Fr. Michael and Br. James for the El Salvador mission. Most of them hailed from the Washington D.C. area, with a few joining from New York as well.

They visited 4 villages for door-to-door missions in the mornings (accompanied by ECyD members serving as translators), and confession, Mass, and children’s activities in
the afternoons. On the last day, they distributed more than 1 ton of goods – mostly shoes and soccer equipment – that they had collected before the mission.

The goal of the mission was to help the people prepare for Christmas, but the missionaries themselves found that they had a lot to learn from the faith and joy – even in the midst of poverty – of the people they visited.  

“Coming down here and seeing not just poverty but also faith in its rawest form is eye-opening,” said Finn Kirvan, a 7th grader from Kensington, MD. “Not all the world is our safe haven of Kensington.”

The missionaries agreed that the trip was a perfect preparation for Christmas; as Norman Harrison told the people,

“I feel very blessed to be here. I thought that I was coming to be of service to you, but I’ve learned from you what the true meaning of Christmas is: that Jesus was poor, but with a richness of heart. Thank you for being part of my Christmas blessing this year!”

Although the word ‘missionary’ brings to mind a journey to a far-off place, opportunities for mission work are closer to home than you might think. Fr. Michael and Br. James have organized mission trips in the US, and they’re planning more. 

Over Columbus Day weekend, it was the girls’ turn to go on a mission with dad – this time to the French Quarter of New Orleans. The missionaries volunteered at a school for underprivileged kids; cleaning, painting, and fixing up a month after Hurricane Isaac. 

There are also two more mission trips already on the calendar for this summer: a father-son mission to the Crow Reservation in Montana in June, and a family mission to the southwest Philadelphia area in July.

“All the missions have the same goal in mind,” Br. James explains; “To give families the opportunity to share meaningful time together, to share their faith, and to make a positive impact on others.”  







Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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