Holy Week is just around the corner! It is incredible to think that one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, there will be 17 different Holy Week Missions taking place in 10 different cities, as well as a week-long virtual mission. It is such a blessing to have these opportunities to reach out and share God’s love in this Holy Week.
Holy Week is clearly mission week for Regnum Christi members but it does not need to end there! The mission does not end on Easter Sunday. Rather, it is meant to be something that continues into your daily life, to become a missionary in your own home, your school or workplace and your neighborhood. In that way, cultural change that take place, renewing society with Gospel values.
Emily, a missionary from New York City, understands how that works. A few weeks ago, she gathered together with 13 other young adults from across the region with Fr. Jorge Obregon, LC, for a mission day. The missionaries started with Mass, where Fr. Jorge asked them to consider what building materials we are offering God every day, so he can build a place for us to live in heaven. Afterwards, they broke out into teams to gather the “building materials” for the day – in the form of white bread, turkey, mayonnaise, and cheese, along with some socks and mittens, juice boxes and cookies. These materials would become simple but powerful offerings of love to the homeless people they would encounter later in the afternoon.
One woman, when asked if she needed anything else, softly and hopefully asked for a large coffee with milk and sugar. The missionaries went across the street to get her order, and returned with a steaming hot coffee. Another woman asked if they had a rosary to spare. “I need a rosary,” she cried in anguish. “I’m always praying, and look what God brought me today. But, I need a rosary! Please!” They rummaged in their pockets and were frustrated that they did not foresee this need, making a mental note for next time. A few minutes later, Emily found a rosary in her purse, so she walked back to offer it to her, telling her that Our Lady wanted to her to have it. The woman put it around her neck and simply told Emily, “It will do.”
At the end of the mission day, the young adults brainstormed together how to continue the mission. A common theme was the importance of serving in-person, face-to-face, and how grateful they were to have the opportunity to do so. With COVID fears and shutdowns, it had seemed reasonable over the last months to stay out of the inner cities, and focus on sheltering in place. However, the needs of the poor remain and there is nothing quite like encountering a person face-to-face, while still ensuring that the missions are carried out with precautions to protect the health and safety of all, especially those they are going out to serve. While many shared positive memories from the day, Emily also shared some discomfort. She had learned that she could not always be a “happy Catholic bunny,” dropping in with treats and expecting the consolation of gratitude.
Are you interested in building up this missionary lifestyle in your community or city? Join the Mission Youth National Support Team for the 1st Annual Mission Youth Summit! From April 30-May 2, you can join other missionaries in a mission experience, small group sessions, brainstorming and strategizing to together build a “mission vision” for the next year until Holy Week 2022. You can join us in person in Philly or connect virtually. Sign up here today!