Written By Br. John Timothy
Here in Orange, NJ, the brothers have two main apostolates. Two of the brothers are campus ministers at Seton Hall University, and the other five primarily serve Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish. My responsibility in the parish is to serve the youth. My vision is to help the teens of our parish and neighborhood love life by leading them closer to Christ. It has been a privilege for me to see the youth grow over the course of the three years that I’ve been here, and one of the signs of that growth is the way in which they have responded to the opportunity to plan a mission trip for this summer.
The youth group will be going on a mission trip to Ecuador from August 5th-13th, 2018. There are three youth leaders who meet every Sunday night to plan and organize everything from A to Z, and most importantly to pray for the success of the mission. They created applications for the youth of our parish and selected a group of six youth based on the criteria of regular Sunday Mass attendance, consistent participation in the parish’s youth ministry activities, having already received the sacrament of Confirmation, and having participated in last year’s summer camp. They saw all of these things as important for those who want to go on a mission for Christ.
Our vision for the mission is to respond to the Lord’s call to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Of course, we will not baptize anyone on our mission, but our goal is to witness to God’s love in a way that will help those who we encounter to discover a great trust and love for Jesus Christ. We are also eager to learn from each person whom we will meet.
Some of the responsibilities of the youth leaders have been to plan and lead bi-monthly group meetings for the whole mission team, which includes the three youth leaders themselves plus one religious sister and one brother (myself), one parent, one college senior, and the six younger high-school youth. They are also working hard to raise the money needed to buy the plane tickets. They have already held one BBQ fundraiser, a raffle, parish babysitting for young children, and are currently writing letters to send to friends and family, explaining their desire to go on mission and asking for donations to help with the financial cost. I am proud to see them working so hard to accomplish this mission for the Lord.
In Ecuador we will serve under the direction of the pastor of the local parish in Biblián, the village where we will also be staying with a host family. We will visit those who need to be visited in the morning, and we will invite those we meet to pray the Rosary with us with our host family each evening. We will also have to opportunity visit and pray at three Marian shrines: Our Lady of the Clouds (“Nuestra Señora de la Nube) in the village of Azogues, Nuestra Señora del Cajas in the Andes mountains, and finally, Nuestra Señora del Rocio. The village of Biblián itself is situated under the watchful care of Nuestra Señora del Rocio, whose shrine is on a hill overlooking the village. We also look forward to going fishing one afternoon for some recreation!
Please keep us in your prayers as we confide this mission to the loving providence of God and to Our Lady.
Photo Credit: Biblián, Ecuador (photo from Facebook page GAD Municipal de Biblián)