Why Should Discerners Attend a 'Come & See' Mission Trip?

Posted: 1/12/2016

Wilmar ZabalaGlenmary's Vocation Office regularly sponsors "Come and See" mission trips for young men who are in high school and for men who are over the age of 18. The name and purpose are taken from the Gospel story about the calling of the disciple Andrew, as recounted in John 1:35-42. If you feel that God is calling you to the priesthood or religious life, if you are attracted to a life of mission, or even if you are just curious about the life and ministry of the Glenmary Home Missioners, I would encourage you to consider participating in one of these mission trips, because they offer:

• An opportunity to pause from the busyness of daily life. In that Gospel story Jesus turns and finds Andrew and his companion following him. Jesus does not tell them to go away. He does not ignore them either. He recognizes a deep yearning in their hearts and asks them, "What are you looking for?" By asking that question he invites them to look within themselves and to explore where the answer might lead them.

One of our "Come and See" mission trips gives you that same opportunity to take a break from work and other worries and to explore life questions that are otherwise ignored. The retreat schedule is easy. There are no academic presentations. The retreat is yours to explore Jesus' question.

• A personal encounter with Jesus. Andrew and his companions answered Jesus by asking, "Where are you staying?" Jesus responded, "Come, and you will see." He invited them to have a personal encounter with him. They stayed with him the rest of the day. I assume Jesus answered many of their questions!

A "Come and See" mission trip is truly a personal encounter with Jesus. You will encounter him in the prayers, especially at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. You will encounter him in the life and ministry of committed, joy-filled Glenmary priests and brothers who will share with you their experiences of working in rural America. You will encounter him in the parishioners who live in the missions and are examples of Christian charity in their communities. You will encounter him in the poor living in the mission areas. You will encounter him in the other retreat participants who are also yearning to follow Jesus more closely.

A path to change and transformation. Andrew became a disciple of Jesus after the encounter. He immediately told his brother Peter about Jesus, and ultimately he brought Peter to Jesus to introduce them. A "Come and See" mission trip helps to bring about change and transformation in each participant. Some take the next step of coming for a longer mission experience and eventually enter into the formation program. Others need more time to discern, and that's all right. But all leave with changed and transformed hearts, and with a greater understanding and appreciation and for Glenmary and its ministry.


Let me end with these comments from three recent participants that capture that point:

Matthew wrote: "My time with Glenmary was eye-opening and very humbling. Not only are these people (both religious and aspirants) devoted and genuine, but also warm and welcoming. For the first time in my life, I was able to see and celebrate my faith not just as a member of a single diocesan parish, but as part of a "universal church" which embraces all people. I truly believe Glenmary is a living model of how Christ intends us to live our faith."

Joseph reported: "What I most liked about the ‘Come and See' weekend was by far the ability to experience the lives of missionaries up close. Having a frame of reference for what missionaries' lives are like, I had an idea, but adding an actual experience to that was immensely valuable. Also, meeting these missionaries helped me to understand what's expected of them, and what will be expected of me."

Cameron added: "I liked the ‘Come and See' because it gave great insight into what the Glenmary order does. The road-trip aspect was a lot of fun, and seeing the missions in process was key to knowing what Glenmary does."

Contact our Vocation Office if you would like more information about upcoming opportunities to attend a "Come and See" mission trip.