September 1, 2006

Seeking the Face of the Lord

Homeland Mission Project helps youth understand
our mission of charity

This past summer, two significant endeavors were carried out by youth of the archdiocese.

One is called the Homeland Mission Project. The other was another missionary visit to the Diocese of Biloxi to help in the continuing recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

During spring break, a large group had done the same. Some of the young missionaries were repeats.

I mentioned the Biloxi visit in an earlier column. Two weeks ago, the editor of The Criterion featured this summer’s missionary visit to Biloxi. In his editorial, he pointed out the witness value of our youth. I agree with his evaluation.

In their own words, I want to feature the Homeland Mission Project as experienced by some of our youth. I not only want to feature what these youth did, and why, I also want their witness to tell us something about the needs of our Home Missions here in the archdiocese and the difference between social service and Catholic charity.

Dear Archbishop, Thank you for your support of the Homeland Mission Project. As a resident of Indianapolis, I have led a privileged life and have not often stopped to consider the poverty in my own city. When I have thought about mission trips in the past, I have always associated travel or a destination with them.

Being involved in the Homeland Mission Project has opened my eyes to the poor in Indianapolis. I appreciate the opportunity to serve those in my own city. Now that my eyes have been opened to the poverty around me, I can return to the service sites throughout the year. It will be interesting to see how the sites that I served at this past week will evolve.

Thank you again for your support … and for your faith in the youth of the archdiocese. Sincerely, Emma.

The Homeland experience helped youth understand our mission of charity.

Dear Archbishop, As a participant of Homeland Mission, I would like to personally thank you for this wonderful opportunity to better understand the missions and charities in our own community. I have had a very meaningful week and I am grateful to have been able to participate.

During the week, we attended places such as Miracle Home, St. Elizabeth’s, Seeds of Hope and Morning Dove. The work that we did at these places helped me understand how Christ is calling me to serve Him through serving others. Thank you again. God bless, Meredith.

Another letter sounds the same theme, but added: Dear Archbishop, … This week, I have had the opportunity to grow closer with Christ. I have been able to serve him through the poor and needy of our community. Thank you for your continued support of the youth in this archdiocese. Sincerely, Grace.

The youth reflect candor in their letters.

Dear Archbishop, Thank you for giving us this opportunity to experience what it is like to help people in need. At first, I thought this trip would be borring [sic] and stupid. In fact, it was one of the most greatest experiences of my life. Thanks again, Stephen.

In their notes to me, the youth expressed gratitude for a variety of reasons.

Dear Arch Bishop [sic], … Thursday night, I gave my most detailed confession I’ve ever had. I feel very cleansed. Thanks for everything. God bless. M.

Dear Arch bishop [sic], Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in the Homeland Mission Trip. It was very life-changing to be with all of the people less fortunate than myself. I learned more about my religion from the seminarians and Father [Jonathan] Meyer. I had an awesome confession that has helped me change my life. Thank you for the opportunity. Sincerely, M.

I was encouraged to see that our youth could make the connection between helping others and becoming closer to God.

Dear Archbishop, Thank you for giving us the ability to go out and make a difference. I met a lot of people in different backgrounds. It felt good to help them. I do feel like I have become closer to God and become more spiritual. I have become more interested in Mass, too. Thank you for again giving me this opportunity, and I plan to continue coming. Sincerely, Vinnie

Participants in the Homeland Mission Project recognize that the need for charity expands beyond the homeland.

Dear Archbishop, My faith grew tremendously this week through the combination of charity work and understanding Catholic teachings … to start improving the world we live in by helping those closest to us and then expanding to those all around the world. Hopefully I can use the knowledge I gained this week to help serve our community and spread the word of Christ. Peace, Joey.

The youth will show the way. †


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