St. Julia’s parish family is blessed to have about seven young adults who have participated in the lay evangelization program of the Missionary Servants of the Word. These young adults, who are wonderfully formed and educated in holy scripture and evangelization, are truly a treasure in our community,
About three months ago, I gathered them together and advised them to support one another in their common formation and experience. I also invited them to share the fruits of their missionary evangelization formation and experience with the parish. These trained missionaries have responded generously and have taken up the challenge to reach out and reignite their commitment to an evangelizing ministry.
Before I knew it, I was being contacted by the director of the seminary where the religious members of the congregation study philosophy in Michuacan, Mexico. In dialogue with our lay missionaries, I accepted the congregation’s willingness to send two seminarians to minister at St. Julia for 15 days. Apparently this is a vital element of their formation program that keeps alive the initial call and strengthens the charism of their congregation. The generosity of our people made it all happen.
Luis and Jonathan, both second year philosophy students, arrived on Dec. 18th. With both being bilingual, the entire parish community was able to enjoy the gifts of their congregation’s spirituality and mission that they shared with us. They both had participated in the congregation’s lay missionary program, like our own young parishoners had, that led to their discernment of a priesthood vocation. In the short time they were with us, they visited many families, looked in on the sick and home-bound, brought comfort to many through the sharing of the Word, preached at Mass (or should I say: “shared a reflection”), conducted workshops for married couples, and conducted discussion and prayer sessions with our teenagers and young adults. We are now reaping the fruits of their ministry among us.
These young men were sent to us totally dependent on Divine Providence. They go to their missions with this spirit of total trust in God as demonstrated through the generosity of the people of God. At St. Julia, one family welcomed them into their home where they lived during those 15 days. Another family lent them a car for their use. Family after family invited them to their homes for breakfast, lunch and supper. Families also pitched in to supply them with the funds to pay for gas for the car and whatever needs they had. The parish also rented them a phone and gave them a financial gift at that was well deserved.
I was highly impressed by Luis and Jonathan’s maturity and genuine commitment to their vocation and ministry. Their humility and dedication were living sermons. Their work ethics is strong and exemplary and they were untiring in their ministry. The sense of peace and joy with which they went about everything was contagious.
Will I miss them? I already do. Their presence was the spark that our own missionaries needed to reignite their vocation and ministry. Now, it’s our turn to get going on this ever-ancient-ever-new thing!