Yukon Mission: Team Goes Past the Periphery

Even though CCO’s mission to the Yukon Territory is ‘domestic’, it elicits the image of great distance, of going out to the periphery. After all, the air travel alone to Whitehorse is not an ordinary experience of Canadian flight. Even in the spring, the approach to the Whitehorse airport includes vast forests dotted with snow instead of the lights and highways of other Canadian cities. As if this journey wasn’t far enough, students found themselves continuing to reach even further once they arrived in Whitehorse. From flights to highway drives to footsteps, each bit of travel brought participants from this April’s mission where they needed to go.

It started at Sacred Heart Cathedral, just beyond downtown Whitehorse. Each week, the team hosted Nightfever, an evening of Eucharistic Adoration. With the Blessed Sacrament inside, teams of two assembled outside, striking up conversation with other pedestrians and inviting them inside to say a prayer. Because the cathedral was outside the distinct downtown core, the teams walked a few blocks to more heavily-trafficked streets, inviting and then accompanying strangers back to the church. As Eric Filion, mission leader, said, “they would go as far as they need to go to find people.”

And the results exceeded all expectations. Locals had expressed doubts that people would be willing to walk those few blocks to a church they might not even know existed. But they did! There was a consistent turnout every week, and the team’s bold example made an immediate impression on the parishioners.

The intimidation of evangelizing total strangers through spontaneous conversation is high. With the team’s regular success, some originally hesitant parishioners decided to join them. In particular, one woman came with feedback that revealed a drastic change in outlook. “It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” she said. Not only had the team brought hundreds of people into a church through personal invitations – they were bringing Catholics into evangelization through personal example.

Whether it was flying to a remote city in Northern Canada, driving to even smaller isolated towns outside of Whitehorse, or walking outside the normal radius of the cathedral, members of the Yukon mission team went as far as they needed to go to find people. For each of us, in our ordinary circles of travel, they can be an example of going as far as we need to go to tell people about Christ.

 

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Grapevine.

 

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