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Stories and reflections from missionaries in the field.
Have you experienced how hard it is to rest in today’s world? My last scheduled parish visit on the East Coast—so far—was a trip to Yonkers, New York, where I spoke after the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. Then, with nothing else on the schedule, I didn’t know what to do except plan more things. I had to force myself to slow down for Holy Week. What priest has time to be answering his email then anyway? Stopping to pray was worth it. Christ is risen! Or, as we say in Swahili, Kristo amefufuka!
“O Gladsome Light, of the Holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly Holy, blessed Jesus Christ!” (Holy Saturday Morning Prayers)
This is one of my most favorite days in the village. We have just celebrated the Miracle of the Holy Fire in Taybeh at the outskirts of our village, a little after 5 pm in the late afternoon on this Great and Holy Saturday, after waiting since 2:10 pm local time when this great miracle occurred once again in Jerusalem.
I've always been fascinated with the idea of traveling light. Usually, I honor the desire for light bags more in the breach than the observance, but this time I'm really going to do it. So I wanted to find a nice Bible passage that I could use as a springboard to talk about the way I’ve chosen to embark on this fundraising trip. (It’s to the West Coast, and I plan to spend 3.5 weeks working my way from Washington to southern California, visiting parishes as I go.) To make it easier to use public transportation, I’m planning to bring only a backpack and a purse.
In October 2011, I helped to host a short-term OCMC medical team. In ten days, this small group of nurses, doctors, assistants and a pharmacist visited eight communities and saw more than two thousand patients.
“The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord. Oh Lord, hear my cry.” This prokimenon, taken from Psalm 63, has always painted a beautiful picture for me. As I hear these words of Scripture chanted, I feel the words paint a picture of joyful praise, a picture of reliance on God, of hope in our Lord. This prokimenon also brings up an interesting question: Who are the Righteous?
In America, we have so many opportunities; personally, I have been blessed with the support of family and friends who have helped me achieve my dreams, which so far have led me to my third year of medical school. In this country, it is easy to take our blessings for granted.
“A rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much. For what he gives away remains his forever.” St. John Chrysostom
You’ll be sad to hear that I blundered. Last month, I announced that I was 84% funded to begin my service. The mistake happened because of a combination of faulty eardrums and wishful thinking. I came away from OCMC training with the idea that I had to be fully funded for the first year of service in Tanzania before I departed. When my missionary director looked at my numbers to determine if we could set a date for June, we realized my mistake.
I first discovered the legacy of Fr. Cosmas through the book Apostle to Zaire. Or, I should say, that was how I first heard his name. I saw his legacy being carried out in the missions work being undertaken in Kenya and Tanzania.
For two years or more, you've been preparing for missionary service. In the past several months, you have visited churches and spoken in public to many groups. You've come to be seen as something of an expert. And now, fully prepared, you finally get on the plane to go overseas!