Missioners share memories of Christmas
Glenmary Home Missioners have unique experiences when it comes to the Advent season, Christmas and beyond.
Missioners and coworkers organize food distributions, and try to make sure parishioners have adequate heat at home. They try to offer financial assistance when someone's pipes burst from the cold on Christmas Eve, and they work to make sure that children have a chance at a happy Christmas morning. And that's not including preparing the church for Christmas, celebrating Masses etc.!
What follows are special Christmas memories from Glenmary missioners and coworkers.
Father Aaron Wessman
Pastor, Holy Spirit Mission
Bertie & Washington Counties, N.C.
"It was Christmas, and I, as a Glenmary novice, was in eastern Kentucky. We had a regular ministry in the local prison. Before Mass, we began singing Christmas carols with the inmates.
The group started hesitantly, but soon gained momentum. When the words 'till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth' of 'O Holy Night' were sung, there was not a dry eye among us. I will never forget this memory of Christmas in the missions.”
Saint Meinrad Seminary
"In Caruthersville, Mo., one Christmas, I was impressed with the sense of serving the poor. We worked tirelessly to
pack gifts for about 47 families.
It was truly a moment of sacrifice. It was memorable when we went to visit a needy family and delivered a few gifts that were remaining. They showed a sense of gratitude."
Father Chet Artysiewicz
"One Christmas night, I saw a couple hitchhiking.
I picked them up, but their route would take them three states away to Virginia. I brought them with me to the student center at Morehead, Ky., to spend the night. They appreciatively devoured the remains of our festive dinner, and on the morning of Dec. 26, I returned them to the road to continue their trek.
Christmas night, a young couple depending on the hospitality of a stranger — it reminded me of the Nativity story, especially when they shared with me that the woman was with child!"
Glenmary Volunteer Director
Joppa Mountain, Tenn.
"In my first year as a volunteer at The Glenmary Farm
in Vanceburg, Ky., the night before we handed out toys for Project Merry Christmas, we stayed in a building without heat, electric or water to make sure no one stole the toys.
It was 10 degrees when I snuggled in my sleeping bag. I was awakened about 4 a.m. We didn't open until 9 a.m. but clients had lined up in the cold to be first to get their kids' toys. I was shocked."
Brother Jason Muhlenkamp
Early County, Ga.
"My first Christmas in Blakely, I answered the door to
find a woman who needed help with an overdue light bill. She had three children and their father was in jail. She was overwhelmed, lamenting the fact that it would be a bleak Christmas for her children.
I invited her to sit with me on a bench near the parish nativity scene. We prayed together, went back to the parish office, and I was able to give her a check for her light bill as well as a few Christmas gifts for the kids."