Saturday, May 22, 2010

New York Mission Post!!

April 27, 2010. New York, NY.

This year’s Holy Week missions had a strong Manhattan contingent, with 50 young women, 10 young men, and about a dozen families involved in various service projects around the Big Apple.

The mission, running from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, was based out of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral in SoHo. During the mission, the youth reached out to the people of the district, inviting them to the church for the Easter liturgies. At the same time, they engaged in various corporal works of mercy in conjunction with some of New York’s charitable organizations.

Caroline and I

The service projects started on Friday morning with Meals on Wheels, as we youth teamed up to deliver meals to the elderly, staying to socialize and spend some time when they could.

Meanwhile, another group helped prepare and serve lunch at a center for the elderly.

A few of us- posing

Holy Thursday - washing of the feet

Talking to a lady on the streets


In the evening, we participated in a Midnight Run from 10 pm to 1 am. A Midnight Run is an evening delivery of essential clothing and toiletries to homeless people throughout the city. The missionaries had been preparing in the months prior to the mission with a clothing and toiletries drive, collecting items as diverse as underwear, socks, rain ponchos, sweaters, jackets, pants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and more.

Before we started our deliveries, two former homeless people came and gave all the missionaries a talk to help them understand what they would be experiencing, sharing their own stories of how they came to be homeless.

One of them had graduated from college and worked for the Pentagon and the Air Force. He had a family, a wife, and a house in DC. But when his wife died, he mentally broke down. He forgot to pay his bills and go to work. Before too long, he found himself on the street. One of New York’s programs for homeless people helped him to start getting back on his feet again, although he still lives in a shelter.

The other speaker shared how his drug addiction had lost him his job and landed him on the street for 16 years. It took him a long time to recognize that he had an addiction and start detoxing, but he finally did it.

One of the co-workers that Caroline has worked with in the past year and her cousin who came down for the mission :)


The kitchen "crew" serving lunch at the center for the elderly

Walking down the streets in NY

Saturday in Harlem

On Saturday, the missionaries headed over to the Children’s Day Society in Harlem. There, they organized five stations of games for the kids: basketball, steal the bacon, Easter egg decoration, musical chairs, and dodge ball. The kids switched off from one station to the other until they had their fill of games.

The games were followed by a cookout and an Easter egg hunt. One missionary spent the whole day with the same three girls, bonding

“The kids really liked the personal attention from the missionaries,” observed Caroline, noting that the boys started shooting hoops and playing pickup basketball with the young men, while some of the young women found themselves surrounded by a small posse of little girls.


Easter Eggs!

Some of the things in this post is from a great newspaper article that was written about the mission.
It is hard to put into words what a blessing the mission was to me. I think many of us there saw God working miracles in the lives of those on the street and the people who were helping on the mission. It re-emphasized to me that the smallest gesture can make a change in someones life. In closing I want to share with you two quotes that help me summarize my experience in NY city.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
-Mother Teresa
God bless you, Erin