Reeson’s Ramblings :: October 1, 2017
There is no shortage of generous young people in our Church today who are answering God’s call. We are sometimes disheartened by the shortage of young people entering convents and seminaries today. I know for a fact this is not because our young people are selfish.
In 1988, I was assigned to Andrews AFB as a chaplain. A young Lt. Colonel and his wife had two children, and their daughter, Kelsey, must have been in the third grade. Years later when I was at Offutt, they were here and Kelsey, now in HS helped her Mom in the Religious Education Program.
Fast forward again and I connected with her father, who was now a General in the USAF and assigned in Baghdad with me (or perhaps I was with him). During a Skype session, I learned that Kelsey was about to graduate from college and had an interest in volunteering with a Catholic organization called, “Heart’s Home USA.”
As a sponsor, I get regular reports from the field where she describes her experiences. Below is an excerpt about what she’s up to.
My dearest family and friends, I write to you all from Argentina, where I am for a few weeks after leaving behind my dear Uruguay. These last two months in Uruguay were marked by an emotional goodbye shared with Carole, culminating with a beautiful farewell party and Mass.
The most beautiful part of the sunny afternoon with homemade Uruguayan snacks and traditional songs was the packed Mass celebrated by our Bishop, Father Eduardo, and other priest Friends. We shared the Mass with many friends from all over the city and the neighborhood, some arriving for the first time to our home or to Mass!
All of our friends entered into a beautiful atmosphere of prayer and Christ was truly in the center, where we tried to place Him especially during this last month of mission during our last visits. Many of these friends will forget me and I, too, will surely forget some of them, but that does not matter. Our encounter was real, a real encounter with Christ.
After all, our mission is to be God’s Presence to our friends. What a consolation that, though I am no longer there,
Christ remains with our friends. They must seek Him, not me. Just as so many of them presented Christ to me! Of all the places I miss, Cottolengo must be the place I miss most (pictured left). It became a second home for us as we went at least once a week and had freedom to wander through the whole home.
So many of these 200+ men became incredible friends. This place of apparent pain and misery was a place of such joy and peace for me, a place of profound encounter with Christ, where I heard the Lord’s voice and became my true self.
Kelsey is not alone. You have heard and supported a number of these young folks right here at St. Columbkille parish. God has called and inspired many wonderful young people from our parish and faith communities everywhere.
We have four young people serving as FOCUS missionaries on college campuses: Shannon Zurcher, who is in her 7th year as a missionary and is now Director of Collegiate Outreach for the Southern Plains Region, Rob Cargill, who is in his 3rd year and now serves as a Team Director, David Cargill, who spend two=years as a FOCUS missionary, one-year in seminary, and is now back with FOCUS, and Molly Dejka, who serves at West Virginia University.
Allison Dethlefs is serving the people of Bolivia through a Franciscan Mission.
Minh Tran, a seminarian from our parish, is in Theology=I at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio.
Chris Dethlefs raised money through Notre Dame’s Boxing Club for a mission trip.
Kara Harvey went on a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
These are just a few examples of the young people from our parish who follow God’s call to service. Many others participate in short and long missionary trips to Central and South America or give a year or more of their time with Heart’s Home USA, the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, Mercy Volunteer Corp, Franciscan Volunteers, and other organizations.
Once a month at our Masses we say a prayer for vocations. When I say this prayer, I often think of vocations to the religious life and priesthood but as I reflect, I am convinced that God is answering our prayers with some awesome young people like Kelsey and the many you have heard from after Masses at St. Columbkille.