Sixteen students and CCO staff escaped the frigid Canadian winter to sunny Mexico City last February. This was no beach trip. For these young missionaries, this was a chance to unite the Gospel message with corporal acts of mercy.
Craig Johring, an inspiring Catholic missionary who has been living in Mexico for eight years, was their guide. He took the group to visit impoverished areas where they worked with abandoned women, school kids, and homeless youth. Throughout the week, the team distributed over 1000 Ultimate Relationship (UR) booklets, CCO’s evangelistic tool.
The missionaries stayed near the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the largest Marian shrines in the world. The team was able to visit this famous site every day to pray for the people they would meet.
Mission leader Dan Freeman knows Christ had a special love and care for the poor, and as Christians we are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The way the students integrated the Gospel with their service of the poor amazed Freeman. “We helped people adjust their blankets, or sit up in their wheelchairs,” Freeman said. If there was a fitting moment, students would invite these people to hear the simple proclamation that’s outlined in the UR booklet. “One student, who speaks some Spanish, sat with a woman for several hours, discussing relationship with the Lord and looking together at the UR.” The mission team later learned this woman would likely die within a few weeks.
Although the missionaries had limited fluency in Spanish, God allowed the team to witness to their faith nonetheless. They spent several days at an all-girls high school, where team members were able to share their testimonies with the students. They also proclaimed the Gospel in small groups. They were met with much enthusiasm and openness by these young girls. On their last day there, they hosted a Eucharistic Adoration event for the high school students, who invited their family and friends.
The event had a massive turn out, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. God’s love deeply moved many of the girls that night with a powerful experience of God’s love and forgiveness. In fact, this event left such an impact on the girls that it has led them to organize their own Adoration nights. As the mission drew to a close, the team left the city knowing that the fruits of their efforts would continue.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Grapevine.