Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Orientation: three weeks of AWESOME

Hello, friends!

We are back home from New York after three weeks of orientation.  We had an amazing time.  The first week, we learned about living in another culture and how to make our transitions to and from mission as smooth as possible.  We also got acquainted with our fellow missioners, who will be an important support system for us in this journey.  On our day off, we toured Manhattan.  Wesley and I walked about 10 miles and saw Central Park, Midtown, Times Square, and ate dinner in China town.  We also attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with our whole group.

Central Park

our room for most of orientation

Divine Compassion Center, where we stayed for weeks 1 and 2

The second week, we served at a Salesian Parish in Port Chester.  We assisted at their summer camp and at the Don Bosco Center (soup kitchen, clothes closet, day laborer advocate program, etc.).  Our days began at 6:30 AM with morning prayer and ended between 8:00 and 10:00 PM.  The hospitality shown by the brothers and parishioners was astounding.  Different groups of parishioners took turns cooking dinner for us, and we were hardly allowed to leave if we did not eat seconds. 

soccer.  lots of soccer

taking a cantaloupe break after our hard work

sun too hot while you paint?  No worries when you have your handy box shade.

Week three was more relaxing.  We spent these days on retreat with the Salesian brothers and priests.  We learned about Salesian spirituality and educational methods.  One of the priests led us on a hike of Bear Mountain, which is part of the Appalachian Trail.  We were commissioned in a Mass celebrated by the Provincial.  He reminded us that Jesus has called us by name for this mission, and we do not go alone.  Our group enjoyed getting to know the brothers and hear their stories of how they came to the Salesian family.  On our last day, we were privileged to attend a profession Mass for two brothers.  One made his first profession, and the other, his perpetual vows. 

Father Tom and me.  He's the sweetest.

at the top!  and soaked from the rain.

about half way up.  view of the Hudson River

Such good times!  We truly felt at home with the Salesians.  Their reverent, humble love for God and tender devotion to Mary lie at the heart of all they do.  They work tirelessly for the good of young people and are truly young at heart themselves.  In the spirit of Don Bosco, they serve as excellent role models and are always ready to school you in soccer or sing Jesus, you’re my superhero.  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve with them.

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