Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rebecca Cloutier

Hi Everyone,

My name is Rebecca (AKA- Rachel). I met up with the missionaries on 18th in Manhattan, NY. So just about 2wks and I LOVE it!!!!! If you believe in our Catholic moral values, enjoy spending time with awesome people, want to make an effect in our dying culture through evangelizing, and don’t mind praying a lot (which is actually totally AWESOME), then you should pray to see if God is calling you to become a Missionary of the Eucharist.

I grew up in New Hampshire right along their walking route and my family was a Host Family for them every year. And every year my family would join up with them through out the week they were near by. Ever since then, I wanted to be a part of the Missionaries. So I got a chance last yr to do a week n decided after that- if I ever got the chance again I would; hopefully for a whole summer. The whole summer didn't work out this year; but the time I have had has been an amazing experience.

I've grown very close to those around me 24/7 :) (I mean--- when you spend that much time with a person/persons you get to know them pretty well) It's great!

Walking along the streets in cities; has to be is my favorite part. We get a chance to talk to SO many people. Hand out hundreds of rosaries n pray with people. I wasn't sure how we'd be "welcomed" in the cities. As it turns out, it was much different from what i expected. The those whom I expected to be distant from our mission; I found to be some of the most open. At least they'd listened to what we had to say, n seemed to ponder it. At times, after having a discussion with some others; we would leave to hearing them discuss it among themselves. On many occasions I've had people open their life to me. It could be this person whom i just met not 2 min. ago. And here they are; telling me their story. Sharing their pain n suffering, their joy n happiness. All with what seems to be- a total stranger. But really we are not strangers at all; none of us are. We know one another through Christ; and in that- we connect. It really shows that approaching someone with love n compassion is the way to reach out to those in need. For God is LOVE! Christ is love Himself.

So if i may; I encourage you to let your heart be filled with the life of Christ. So when others look at you they may see Love himself in your eyes.

God Bless, Rebecca

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hotter than a June Bug!!!!!

As we come closer and closer to Maryland, I must admit that I am delighted to scream on random occasions that I am almost in my home state! Though I now remember why some people have difficulty with the end of the walk .... Mur-land is HOT at the end of the summer. I have never seen so much sweat soak through Missionary shirts in all my life. Personally, I have been loving it but it has definitely taken its toll on our walking skills.

Fortunately, we have four new walkers joining us over the next 12 hours and that will be quite delightful. Please pray for our group, that we will be able to work well together to continue to spread the Gospel with great charity and love for one another.

(Also, we're getting Thanksgiving dinner tonight ... that should make the bonding experience all the better!)

Love,
Jessica

Dela-Who? Dela-Where?

I know, I know, it has been half a millennium since we've posted. But as we reach the last leg of the journey, we find we barely have energy to chew our food, let alone type about it (plus internet access has been tricky). I'm writing you from Aquinas Academy in Bear, Delaware. Last night we feasted on a smörgåsbord of deliciousness with the local youth/College group. They came to hear a seminarian talk about Medjugorje and his time doing various Secret Service type security work (which took him all over the world... including the Vatican!). So we joined them in their feasting (though only some of us could actually attend the lecture). As I type, our wonderful hosts are cooking us breakfast (P.S. The way to a Missionary's heart is paved with bacon... and some references to Humanae Vitae).

But let's catch up: After NYC we traveled to the Jersey City-Elizabeth-Newark metropolitan conglomerate. Zack joined up with us and invited us over to the Emmaus House (the discernment house where he's been living) and we had lunch and Jessica tormented the house dog with her interpretive dancing. It was there that we met a seminarian from the DC area who was painting a mural of the Holy Trinity in the Emmaus House Chapel. He was a swell guy.

As we walked through the section of city known as "The Six Most Dangerous Blocks in America," we had pedestrians and motorists stop to ask us if we knew where we were. The area was full of drug traffickers and prostitutes, but we were warmly received by many of these "dangerous people."

On Wednesday we got to see MoE alumna Sr. Lauren (who walked last year). She is in a Dominican cloister in Summit and she was able to visit with us for a couple of hours. She introduced us to the only male aspirant that the order has... Fred the Dog. He was a very energetic pup and I'm glad that the Novitiate's prayers for a dog were answered.

We handed out many rosaries (especially in Trenton). We brought with us about 3,000 rosaries this summer and we've already run out!

On Friday we stayed with Jessica's relatives outside of Philly. We played volleyball, ate burgers, and chatted with the guys who founded The King's Men. It was very restful.

Over the weekend we joined up with the guys from the Immaculate Conception discernment house in Philadelphia and the members of Generation Life. Together we prayed in front of a local abortion mill and then spent a few hours doing street evangelism in the Love Park in Center City Philadelphia. We met a lot of interesting people. One lady originally waved us aside and yelled for us to move out of her way, but after a heartfelt chat with a Missionary (and after the Missionary literally gave her the sandals off her feet) this woman hugged her for so long that we wondered if we'd melt together into Siamese twins.

We stayed at the Immaculate Conception house over the weekend and were reunited with Fr Boniface and Dave Sao. It was also nice, for me, to see the guys of IC again and to check on the garden I helped plant on the day before I headed down to DC for training (the tomatoes are going to be huge!). I feel like we ate about 78 delicious meals that weekend, with our friend Taryn dishing up most of them (she's an excellent cook and I think she should be the official MoE chef).

On Sunday we went to evening mass at St John the Evangelist and then had a Caribbean Barbeque with the "locals." The parish seems to be about 75% young adults... it was very inspiring to be among them. It was also inspiring to watch MoEs who'd been walking since Maine dominate the limbo competition.

On Monday we started walking again and stayed the night with a family who had a six-day old baby girl. She. was. precious. We also exhausted out host's four young sons (I learned to never challenge any of these ladies to a wrestling contest!). On Tuesday we walked to Bear (and were joined by Joe and Mark Leopold). And now, dear friends, I am off to eat some of that bacon I've told you so much about.

pax!

~ Scott

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

After a long silence, she speaks!

Against my better judgment…

It has been my goal to get out of this walk without actually bogging at all. This is not because I want to avoid informing our supporters about our activities, but rather to challenge the patience of Blogmaster Wilkins (a.k.a. Scott). However, I felt that sharing my thoughts about our adventures in Manhattan was more important than winning this battle.

The Missionaries walked through Manhattan on Friday. We traveled in a group of about 12 people, including past walkers, friends, and Fr. Lawrence, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal. Over the course of 6 or more hours we handed out over 300 rosaries and talked to many wonderful New Yorkers.

We began the day with Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was there that we had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Egan. We were not expecting this. In fact, I thought we were in some sort of trouble when the security guard came to us during the final hymn to tell us that the Cardinal wanted to speak with us. We were all very excited to meet him, and he seemed to appreciate the things we were doing as well.

After this we set out for our trek through the city. We received a variety of responses, most of which were good. There are hundreds of experiences, interactions, and thoughts that I would like to explain in this post, however, the short amount of time and space that I have allows for only a couple.

One of the greatest blessings that came out of our efforts in Manhattan was our experience with a woman in the park. We had been walking for 3 hours and had not yet reached the half way point. Because a couple of us had stopped to talk to someone on the street, the rest of the group stopped to pray by a statue of Our Lady. As we were praying we noticed a woman praying with us at a nearby bench. After the rosary, Maggie stopped to talk with her and to give her a pamphlet about ourselves. The woman ended up telling Maggie that she had not been to church in a while and related a few troubling events that she had recently gone through. Maggie was then able to inform the woman that we had a priest with us if she needed to have her confession heard. The woman accepted the offer and ended up speaking to Father for almost an hour. She told us afterward that she intended to come back to the Church and regularly attending Mass. Praise the Lord.

My ideas about evangelization changed very drastically as we walked through Manhattan. I went into it thinking I was going to be telling people all about what I believe, teaching them the rosary, and bringing them in some way closer to the faith. Even though this did occur, the most important thing I ended up bringing to people was love. I learned that within our culture, especially in cities such as New York, we have huge problem with loneliness. It seems that most people will not take the time to talk to someone who is obviously struggling and yearning for love. Although our citizens suffer from financial poverty, I think more people suffer from poverty in the sense of loneliness. I found that the majority of the conversations I had with people had nothing to do with the Catholic faith. Offering my time, my love, and my ear was the best thing that I could do for them. These people were so happy that someone would actually stop for a minute to hear about what was going on in their lives.

For example, as we were walking toward the end of the day, Maggie and I stopped to talk to a disabled man on the sidewalk. He had a speech impediment so it was important for us to take some time to figure out what he was trying to tell us. I could tell by his huge smile that it had been so long since someone had actually stopped to talk to him, rather than just passing by to drop a coin in his cup without a spoken word. He did not want anything that we could offer him, other than our time and conversation. I was so happy to speak to him. I wish more people would stop and take the time to get to know the people around them. There is so much loneliness all around us, but we go about our lives too quickly to realize it.

New York was a great experience. It was definitely uplifting after our exhausting week with only four people. We are now in New Jersey and struggling to get ourselves going again. Please continue praying for us as we enter the last phase of the journey.

Pax Vobiscum, Andi

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Connecticut

So today is July 16th and soon we'll be in NYC! We are in Bridgeport, CT today and heading west. It has been very hot and with only four walkers we are starting to feel every mile. But this weekend we'll be seeing some familiar faces and we'll be more than doubling our number of walkers! It will be nice to be able to have more than two people walk at a time.

I am sure we'll have tons of exciting things to report after The NYC weekend, but for now I'll just chat about recent events. We divided our time these weekend between the Andrew's house and a Spanish church in Hartford. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew (the parents of fellow MoE Elizabeth Andrew) let us swim in their pool and eat a lot of their food. We celebrated my birthday in style (i.e., with brownie sundaes and toy dinosaurs) and we heard some very funny tales from Elizabeth (who was visiting her parents).

Our last two nights were spent with the Dominicans of New Haven. Right in the midst of Yale University, these Dominicans are surrounded by majestic ivy league buildings. Ron, their chef, entertained us with witty banter and delicious foods.

I should get wrap this up, though... I have to start walking again in about 20 minutes.

~Scott

This and That

[The following post was written last week]

Greetings from Scott! It has been a while since we’ve had internet and a computer at the same time. Shortly after our last post, the laptop decided that instead of starting up (like a good robot should) it would keep a black screen and beep at us in a most sassy and impertinent manner. So for a few days we had no access to the map program (and the walking route) and we decided to just “wing it.” What a great week to break in our new walkers, Andreas and Christine!

We stayed for a night with Fr Ventura who treated us to an awesome dinner and monstrous ice cream cones that defied all reason: you’d order a “small” and they’d give you enough cold sweetness to feed a family of five! So despite ordering the small size, we still ended up feeding much of our dessert to the goats that lived behind the “icecreamery.” (Judging by the girth of the goats, half the population of New Hampshire had been using this method of ice cream disposal for decades).

We also stayed for a couple of nights at St Brigid’s parish where we were fed delicious chicken marsala and salad and snacks made from fresh mozzarella, basil, and sundried tomatoes. It was so good we ate it for breakfast and for another dinner as well!

Christine joined us on the second night at St Brigid’s and she walked with us into Boston. In the city we finally had enough people to walk in a group larger that two. It was great. We met many people and handed out many rosaries. It’s always interesting to meet people from diverse walks of life. We met an anesthesiologist on one corner and a homeless man on the next… each super excited about our mission.

Our first night in Boston we stayed with Jessica’s friend Alan O’Connor and his roommate Juan. They were excellent hosts (we ate gumbo!). The next day was Independence Day and we spent some time in Adoration before heading over to our next host family’s house. The McCullens opened up their home for us (even though they were out of town for their anniversary & we never got to actually meet them). Their beautiful home was the perfect place for us to rest up and to rendezvous with Annie and Zack, two Missionaries whom we’d not seen since Brooklyn.

That night we headed into the city to watch the fireworks and to engage in some street evangelism. It was a good time and we returned with just enough energy to eat a bowl of cereal and crawl into bed. The next day we prayed at an abortion mill and then spoke at two vigil masses. The next day we spoke at six masses in the greater Boston area. Maggie spoke in a Spanish mass (with a translator).

Unfortunately, Andreas had to leave us on Sunday so Jessica and I drove him back to Keane, NH. That morning Zack and Annie also headed home and Christine left on Tuesday (to prepare for World Youth Day).

The rest of this week seems like a blur. We walked in to Worcester (which is inexplicably pronounced “Woostuh”) and stayed with the totally awesome Thomas family. We feasted on tacos and Italian ice and I was (repeatedly) defeated in video games by children one third my age. It was fun.

The next morning Meredith headed home. She’ll return to us next weekend when we hit NYC, but in the meantime we’re holding strong with a skeleton crew of four walkers. Wednesday was interesting. The four of us took turns walking in the insane heat and ended our day in Brimfield, MA. Brimfield plays host to a gigantic flea market (with vendors from all over the world!). Jessica and I walked the final shift in a moderate drizzle which quickly became a torrent of lightning-infused stormy madness. Andi and Maggie came to our rescue… and our hostess, “Mrs. Z,” let us use the parish dryer that night. Mrs. Z was awesome. She and her family made us delicious pasta and ice cream sundaes and her children joined us for Evening Prayer.

Thursday found us walking through Springfield, MA. We handed out rosaries and had some great chats with people we met on the streets. We ended the day at the home of Peter and Kathy Andrew, parents of Elizabeth Andrew (a MoE). As per tradition, we jumped into their pool with all of our clothes on and, after trying (unsuccessfully) to convince Andi that she could breathe under water, we ate a delicious dinner and shared stories from this and previous summers. This morning we finished walking through Springfield and we eagerly anticipate entering Connecticut. Maybe some day we’ll be able to post pictures.

~ Scott

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Onward!!!

After the craziness of the Boston weekend, everything settled down a bit. It settled down SO much that people started leaving!

Over the course of our weekend in Boston we had nine people with us ... by the Wednesday after the Boston weekend, we were down to only 4 people. Walking with four people has been quite an interesting experience. Looking back on pictures from previous walks, it is so funny to see 9 people walking at one time! That's over double our walk right now.

Pray for us as we walk toward New York City ... and come join us!!!

---Jessica

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Lives of John Paul II and Mother Teresa

At the beginning of our walk, we were told that John Paul II and Mother Theresa would be walking every step of the way with us. As we walk further and further along our route, I would have to confirm that as a true statement.

I was reflecting on the life of John Paul the other day …. And he lived quite the life! One of my favorite periods of his life though has to be his last few days. There is no one who lived out the Gospel in their last days like John Paul. It was such an inspiration to see a man to so boldly proclaim the Gospel of Life. His frail body was unable to speak and barely able to move yet he radiated the light of Christ. All of his writings were truly lived out in those last few days and it was a privilege to have been a witness to such heroic virtue.

Then there is Mother Theresa. I was once told a story about Mother’s final days. One of the sisters attempted to bring an air conditioner into her room to make her more comfortable. She immediately told her to take it out of the room. After the sister recovered from her shock, Mother Theresa said “I have never denied Jesus anything and I am not going to start now.” It is such a bold statement to be able to say that ‘I have never denied Jesus anything.’

These two give the Missionaries great hope for the spreading of the Theology of the Body and the reign of the Culture of Life. John Paul gives us great courage in truly living out the Gospel and Mother Theresa continually calls us to give all for the Lord.

I hope that each of you will continue to pray for us through the intercession of John Paul the Great and Mother Theresa!

--Jessica

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.