When I think of missionaries, I think of developing countries. I don't think of the ghettos, or big, seemingly successful cities. People just don't go into those "bad" areas. Sadly, God's love is needed so much there. In our own backyards. And what is so beautiful is that this week I was able to encounter so many young religious living all over NYC (The Bronx, Manhattan, Harlem, & Yonkers) truly living for Christ. Showing His love and reaching out to the poorest of the poor.
I flew out of MCI at 7:41 am and landed in LaGuardia at 11:00 (EST)! I landed in a weird Delta only terminal, so I was so worried and confused about meeting up with the rest of the group. But I grabbed my bag and hopped on a bus! Luckily I ran into Sean from Bradley heading to terminal 2 to meet up with the rest of the FOCUS group!
Saturday consisted of traveling, sitting in large group circles, and getting to know you questions. The best questions were: who is your favorite saint & what would your super power be. It was determined that wanting to fly was lame and generic.
That evening we went to Catholic Underground. It is put on by the Franciscan Friars of Renewal (CFR's). It was located in the beautiful Our Lady of Good Counsel. The night consisted of praise and worship, adoration, and confession. It was a beautiful experience to begin our trip. The coolest thing about Catholic Underground was how packed the church was. We were a little late and were stuck in the back on the floor. It was okay because it was so good to see so many young people living out their Catholic faith.
On Sunday, we went on a hike an hour outside of NYC up Bear Mountain with the CFR's and the Sisters of Life. We were quite the site to see - students and religious literally hiking up the side off a mountain, off of the trail. The sisters were all in their habits and the friars were all in their robes. Hilarious.
This was a day filled with appreciating the beauty of God's creation, and so many good conversations. I was really able to connect with so many different sisters, brothers, and people in our mission group. I love being in relationship and community with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and it was so good to do it in a natural setting.
After the hike, we stopped by the World Youth Alliance for a tour. It was really cool to see these young professional women and hear their stories about how they are truly making and impact on policy across the world.
Next, we went to a Frascati group for dinner. We had no idea where we were or what we were doing, but made some friends with young Catholics living in NYC. It was awesome.
That night, we got to worship here:
|Photo Credit: Jonathan Ervin|
Those first two days flew by. We returned home (Our Lady of New York), said night prayer and went to bed - only for a few hours. The next day our work would begin.