“Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
1 Corinthians 16:14 says “let all that you do be done in love”. These past two months our team has grown and been striving for this Christ like love and joy worthy of heaven. Since hitting the road on September 21st, our team has gone up and down the west coast throughout Arizona and California. So far we’ve traveled over 5,000 miles but we know that the work of our ministry reaches beyond an earthly distance. Every day I see the beautiful joy of the Lord so alive in our team as we strive for love in our ministry.
When we first arrived in California our team was invited to a private mass for us and our host families. So there we were, all packed into a little chapel, anticipating the unknown and ready for our ministry awaiting us. A priest named Fr. Kennith said mass for us. A wonderful man who was overwhelmed with joy of seeing a group of young missionaries ready to worship the Lord and serve the Church. Fr. Kennith’s joy and encouragement left such an impact on our team. This mass was such an inspiring gift to be fed and strengthened by Jesus, and to see the light of the Lord reflected in this amazing priest.
Our Team is loving the road! Our team has been diving into retreats and evangelization on the road so far finishing over 25 retreats! (full send!) We’ve had our fair share of back to back retreats; late night drives to early morning set up. Late September we had an awesome retreat in Flagstaff, AZ and that evening we were off again for the small town of Miami, AZ. Our retreat in Miami, at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, was full of challenges and blessings. We witnessed a plethora of transformed hearts on this retreat; over the course of the day we watched youth go from being so closed off and uninterested into being more and more themselves while radiating joy! At the end of the day, we gave youth the opportunity to share with us how the retreat impacted them. One youth, Micah, wrote this,“ I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart for this amazing group that God hand picked to be an instrument to remind me, us, of His unconditional love.” Sometimes we don’t always know where or what seeds we plant, and we don’t always see the fruit of our ministry. So these luminous moments where we see Christ at work through us are like no other.
These past few months have been full of joys and challenges. So many highlights and new memories are being made. From seeing the Milky Way at a rest stop in the middle of the AZ desert, to meeting wonderful parishioners at the different parishes we visit. W have played endless games of werewolf, and taken in so many beautiful sunsets from the back seats of our constantly moving van; all the while growing as a team through praise and worship. We have laughed at ourselves for times like praying for a fire on the side of the road only to drive past and realize it’s a burning garbage pile, but then rejoicing in meeting people like Ray at a gas stations where we share our ministry. We’ve seen overflowing confession lines full of youth who are so ready to run back to Jesus. We’ve hiked along the bluffs of the Pacific coast with rosary in hand as we experience the endless beauty of God’s creation around us. God is so good to us, His grace is so evident in these present moment. I’m so excited for our team to continue to grow as brothers and sisters in Christ by choosing the joy of the Lord every day and striving for love. Come Holy spirit fill us with boldness enkindle in us the fire of your love.
“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” -St. Pope John Paul II