Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings from Guadalupe Gardens missionary formation center San Marcos, Nicaragua. As many of you know I have spent nearly the past decade of my life involved in missionary activity. Not only was my discernment a call to mission life, but to the building of an actual mission from the ground up, in the spirit of the New Evangelization. This has been a daunting, yet rewarding, task. Without the loving support of my parents and a handful of key people The Lord has Providentially placed in my life, it would have been an impossible task!
So, here we are ten years later with the initial question answered: “can a layperson just buy a piece of land in a foreign country and build towards a future mission?” Unequivocally, the answer is YES! Sensing that the vision I had would not be well understood at first I just decided to take the initiative, make the investment and work towards the completion of the inspiration. For the first five years I visited Nicaragua often, but lived in the US in order to finance this back burner mission vision. After five years I finally gave my true fiat to The Lord. I would love to say it was a resounding “YES Lord, I will sell everything and go to Nicaragua!” It was more like, “Don’t you know I am going to die, how will I survive?!?” “If you really want this Lord you will have to sustain me.” And that, my brothers and sisters, he has.
The Lord wants this mission. It is a small part of His plan in this new springtime our beloved Pope St. JP II was always talking about. We can’t just sit around and wait for the priests and nuns to do it, it is all of our task. If there is any waiting, I believe it is the hierarchy waiting for us to mobilize and do our part! 50 years ago in the second Vatican Council the bishops wrote us some beautiful documents reconfirming for us our true identity, who we are as the Mystical Body of Christ and how we should relate to this post-modern world. In his encyclical ‘Mission of the Redeemer’, JPII recounts perhaps the most startling statement coming from the Council. “Those who are incorporated in the Catholic Church ought to sense their privilege and for that very reason the greater obligation to bearing witness to the Christian life…” They should be ever mindful that “they owe their distinguished status not to their own merits but to Christ’s special grace; and if they fail to respond to this grace in thought, word and deed, not only will they not be saved, they will be judged more severely.” (Lumen Gentium, 14)
I didn’t know at first that the investment I would make here in Nicaragua would be with my very life! And I shudder to think had I known, my fi-at would have been more like a go-not! But then again, what is our Christian existence all about anyway?! Don’t we want to give it all?? Don’t we want to be Saints??
Get back to the Garden!,