Summer Road Trips: Opportunities and Insights
Summertime in the missions is always an exciting time for Glenmarians, students and prospects. This past summer has been no exception. Apart from their regular ministries, the missioners are able to get involved in a variety of projects and programs. Summer is also the time of year when our students, on break from their classes, serve in short mission assignments. The students’ involvement includes meeting with parishioners, visiting other denominations’ churches, organizing Vacation Bible Schools, and much more.
In addition, summer includes opportunities for young men who are discerning a vocation to visit Glenmary and experience life in the missions. This summer, vocation discerners accomplished this goal in a variety of ways. Some traveled with Vocation Office team members on weekend Come and See mission trips, and others stayed in missions for extended periods of time to work on specific projects or get to know Glenmary better.
The weekend Come & See trips serve as an introduction to the Glenmary Home Missioners. The men who participated on these trips this past summer had opportunities to visit missions in Tennessee and ask Glenmary missioners why they do what they do. Some of the participants also had a chance to visit the seminary many Glenmary students attend, where they learned about the students’ life and schedule. Others had a chance to see some of the successful Glenmary missions and hear stories from the local folks about how Glenmary missioners have impacted their lives.
For me, the Come and See mission trips are a source of great pride, as I get a chance to introduce the participants to missioners and “show off” why I am so proud of the ministry that they are doing. I believe that one of the many outcomes of the trip is that those who are discerning have a chance to share the excitement we feel in our ministry opportunities by witnessing the joy that our missioners have and the ways they share it with the people of God in their mission areas. Excitement and joy permeate the mission experience.
Extended mission trips are excellent for those who are further along in their discernment and are therefore ready to commit to a longer period of time, such as one or two weeks. Those extended trips give them more experiences of praying and serving with Glenmary priests and brothers. It can help them really get to know us better and see how a Glenmary vocation aligns with their gifts and abilities as they discern where God is calling them.