The big day is finally here! Our mission team made up of 13 volunteers from both St. Martin de Porres and St. Michael began our journey to Louisa, Kentucky to work with the Fr. Beiting Appalachian Mission Center to do home repairs for some families needing some help. We are so excited to collaborate again to do God’s work. We have 3 new missionaries this year who we are looking forward to getting to know and share this experience with. After a quick prayer and blessing by Fr. Nick, our 4 vans, loaded to the roof with supplies, pulled out of the St. Martin parking lot by 8:10am. Thankfully, we had an uneventful trip that included a delicious lunch at Cracker Barrel and a quick stop to buy some forgotten sheets at a Wal-Mart. Although we traveled through a few rain showers, we also had some sunny weather and beautiful views of mountains.
Our group arrived to the mission by 6pm and was brought to what will be our home for the next week- Padre’s Place. Padre’s Place is a modular home right up in the mountain that the founder of the mission (the late Fr. Beiting) lived in for many years. The views are stunning as you can see in some of the pictures. After unpacking the cars and claiming our sleeping spots, we filled the refrigerator with plenty of food for the week, organized our supplies and prepared dinner of grilled turkey breast with several sides. After completing our meal we gathered in the living room for evening prayer. After lighting our 3 candles representing the Holy Trinity and the light of Christ, we sang our team song, “City of God.” Although our tired voices were not great, we definitely got a better start than last year’s struggle to perfect “Go Make a Difference.” (Hearing this song now makes us all smile, though.)
We started prayer with a reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. We then shared our gratefulness for the ease of uniting our two parishes to form one mission team. With positive mindsets we will begin our work with the locals and hopefully share the gift of our Catholic faith with those we serve. Mostly, we want to be the hands of Christ to them and see the face of Christ in them. We ended our prayer service with a blessing of hands with holy water, asking God to sanctify the work we will carry out this week.
After a long day of traveling, we did some preparations for Monday and tried to get to bed by Midnight so we can get a little bit of sleep before beginning our work week. Thank you to both St. Michael and St. Martin communities for your blessings at the Masses the last two weeks and all of the physical and spiritual support you give us. We are also praying for all of you.
Your Mission Team
Cameron Chadwick/Ashley Dahl/Connie Gillette/Dan Heileman/Renee’ Heileman/Robert Laichalk/Rocky Mercier/Kitty Moore/Sheryl Nieman-Hancock/Joseph Pavone-Chadwick/Dan Twardy/Dylan Twardy/Joan Wathen