Here’s a little promotional video made a few years back about our missionary community in Comayagua, Honduras – The Missioners of Christ.
As you can see, Missioners of Christ is a Roman Catholic community made up of both American and Honduran (as well as a few other Latin Americans in the past) lay-missionaries and currently led by the servant leader – consecrated virgin, Carol Restaine. Missioners has at it’s core a focus on a deep formation of young people, through serving the poor in various mission-oriented apostolates throughout the Diocese of Comayagua, Honduras.
While serving in Honduras from June 2006-June 2008, I researched many different Catholic missionary organizations based out of the United States. What seems to make Missioners of Christ so distinct (and blessed because of it) is the Eucharistic devotion and prayer-centered backbone, which seems possible due to leadership by a Consecrated. Before mentioning anything about ministries and outreach, it’s important to note that without the prayer schedule, daily Mass and Holy Hour….NONE of what Missioners of Christ does would be possible. Obviously, with all of the expected craziness and improvising that comes with working in impoverished areas(the poverty reaches much beyond physical), things dont ALWAYS go as planned….but having a set prayer schedule, truly protects it from becoming merely social work.
During the first years of the mission in Comayagua, Missioners of Christ realized that the only true solution to what the young people were experiencing in Honduras was a true, real, physical encounter with Jesus. Alongside the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Missioners of Christ helped to promote various Eucharistic Youth 2000 retreats throughout the diocese of Comayagua. This really provided a point of beginning and end for discipleship. Through an encounter with Our Eucharistic Lord, Missioners began forming long-term and ongoing relationships with the youth of Honduras. Through this same encounter, Our Lord provided a continuous avenue of healing, formation and commissioning. Not-surprisingly, the youth that developed a solid relationship with Our Eucharistic Lord were unable to “keep it in” and have one-by-one discovered in themselves a call to be missionaries in their own country.
This became the constantly developing goal for Missioners of Christ- to be a beacon of healing, a call to conversion through long-term testimony, and center of formation to raise up leaders from WITHIN the country of Honduras. We have found when the youth aren’t challenged and remain comfortable, what you end up with is a constant flow of incoming American missionaries who stay for short period of time, leaving behind unfinished work and sometimes disappointed young people. Praise God! Through the Eucharistic, the Holy Spirit does all of the work for us!!! In a strange way, I remember “admiring” protestant missionaries who didn’t believe in His Body and Blood present with us…..for I thought that their work must have been much more difficult!
Discipleship has now evolved into a constant call to form natural “neighbor-like” relationships with those in Honduras. For it is after the boundaries and cultural disconnects start to shed, down to the daily nitty-gritty, that true discipleship begins to take place. (By the grace of God I was able to start to experience this, and believe me, I miss it EVERY day)
There is so much more to talk about, for the daily life of a missionary can’t be summed up by different job-descriptions. Things change, crisis happens. Weather is unpredictable, people often die (and in a country like Honduras, there is nothing to numb the reality of death, it’s very much in your face and “raw”). Law enforcement often disappoints and you may even find yourself in a country in which the president has been arrested for trying to change the constitution.
You truly never know. BUT, it is in this total abandonment (on both a spiritual AND a physical level) to His Divine Providence, that one serves as a missionary. Rather than focusing on leading, one is able to do mission work by serving. What makes doing missionary so sweet isn’t a false feeling of “helping people” but the feeling of experiencing another culture, another way of life and learning from those who have MUCH to teach us, even if the world says that they have nothing to offer.
There is SO much more to share! Stay tuned in the future!
In the meantime, please pray for the people Honduras and for all of the Missioners of Christ there!
Nuestra Sra. de Suyapa – Ruega por nosotros!