Mission Trips Offer Experience of Mission Life

Posted: 2/3/2012

Individuals take trips to Glenmary missions for a variety of reasons. But their basic motives are similar: They want to learn about and experience, firsthand, missions and mission areas where Glenmary serves. And they want to meet and talk to Glenmary priests, brothers and lay coworkers about their ministry and outreach work in mission areas. The following are brief descriptions of some types of Glenmary mission trips:

Annual Group Mission Trips
These two-day trips hosted by Glenmary help participants gain a clearer understanding of Glenmary's work, whether they're supporting Glenmary through prayers and financial help or have only heard about Glenmary.

In recent years, groups visited Eastern Kentucky missions in Grayson and Vanceburg, as well as nearby Glenmary Farm—home of a nationally known group volunteer program.

"Seeing the missions and the Farm up close, and hearing stories from Glenmary missioners and coworkers, can leave a lasting impression on the visitors," says planned giving officer Susan Lambert, who leads the trips.

Carleen Gehling-Davis, a group mission trip alumnus, says that she "found it to be a great experience. The missioners we met are so dedicated and the work they are doing is so amazing."

Mary Maisel, another alumnus, adds, "I really didn't know how tough missionary work is. Now I see it. When you're supporting the missions, it's like giving blood to the Church."

Mission Trips Before and After ‘Adoption'
In some situations, individuals travel to a struggling mission as representatives of a willing, able parish that's considering "adopting" through Glenmary's Adopt-A-Mission program—which involves supporting a mission through prayer, financial aid and mutual encouragement. The goal of the trip is to learn more about the mission's people and challenges.

Sometimes, the mission's pastor or pastoral coordinator visits the prospective adopting community, too. And in some cases, the adopting parish later sends a group on a service trip to the mission.

In 2011, for example, when Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) parish in Beloit, Wis., adopted Glenmary's Plymouth, N.C., mission, all these trips took place.

"We're thankful to have a sister parish like OLA," says the Plymouth mission's pastoral coordinator, Sister Arcadia Rivera-Gutierrez. OLA parishioner Rita Bonds adds, "We've received more from our Plymouth friends than we've given."

Retreats for Vocation Discerners
These more in-depth experiences are invaluable for men considering vocations as Glenmary priests and brothers. That's why they're a key part of the discernment process, says vocation director Brother David Henley. Participants not only interact with current missioners and mission members, but also experience for themselves the rural areas where Glenmarians minister.

For More Information
If you'd like more information on any of these mission trip experiences, or on the Adopt-A-Mission/Missioner program, please contact Glenmary at 800-935-0975.

This article first appeared in the Winter 2012 Home Mission News