“I truly met Christ in the people of Guatemala. We all continue to live out the mission by praying for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
In March, a group of 11 seminarians from St. John’s Seminary in Boston took a mission trip sponsored by Cross Catholic to experience first-hand the work of the Catholic Church among the poorest of the poor. This was first and foremost a pilgrimage of encounter through which these men in priestly formation could recognize the face of Christ in the faces and lives of their sisters and brothers of Central America. Fr. Bernard Olszewski, from Cross, led the group as they witnessed the various projects Cross is supporting in Guatemala. Bishop Bernabé Sagastume, OFM Cap of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima met with the group at his residence to help the group understand the diocesan vision of transforming the hearts of the people so that their whole lives may be transformed by the works of housing, food, agricultural reforms, education, disaster preparation, and community building. They were able to share in the faith of the diocesan community as many villagers joined in the Eucharist in the Cathedral. On subsequent days these men saw how difficult daily life is for these poor – even helping carry heavy water containers as the women must do every day in order to have drinkable water for their families. It was a time of prayer, reflection, and insight into the work of Cross Catholic and the Church in the developing world.
They also visited an orphanage and found the expression of joy in the children, even in the midst of their extreme poverty, in their prayers of gratitude for all the charity being shown to them. They were also impressed by how Cross Catholic connected with Caritas to prudently distribute assistance in a way that was responsible and respectful of the local community. At every encounter these young men heard the gratitude of the people that they have not been forgotten, that they had witnessed a miracle of visitors from the United States coming to their villages and caring about their lives. And yet, as the village spokesman reminded them in one remote location where the group celebrated mass – we are all one family in Jesus, some tall and white, others short and brown, but one in the Lord Jesus. This was their living lesson of the Church universal.
They wrote: “The trip was a big eye-opener. What surprised me was the joy and deep faith the people of Guatemala exhibited in living their everyday lives… More beautiful to see, though, was the evangelization being done, and in particular, the work that the Bishop and the diocese were doing.”
His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York congratulates Cross Catholic Outreach on its mission trip ministry, believing that this “pilgrimage with the poor” is of great benefit to the future of true shepherds/priests in the Church. His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York congratulates Cross Catholic Outreach on its mission trip ministry, believing that this “pilgrimage with the poor” is of great benefit to the future of true shepherds/priests in the Church. Read Cardinal Dolan’s endorsement here.