By First Mission Trip Set For Hispanic Young Adults | Published June 17, 2004
The archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry is sponsoring its first mission trip, which will be to El Salvador July 17-25, and participants are seeking cash donations to bring to the orphans and others in need they’ll be serving.
The trip to Central America is being carried out through the religious order of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who do mission work in El Salvador and various other countries.
The Atlanta group is mostly Hispanic and currently composed of 18 missionaries over 18, including the trip’s spiritual director Father Juan Carlos Arce, parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta. Sister Sagrario Nuñez, who heads the Sacred Heart community in Miami, will meet up with the group in San Salvador. They have raised approximately $10,000 so far and are continuing fund raising into July. The group has collected clothes for infants, children and adults, medicines and school supplies. The goal is for missionaries to offer these underprivileged both spiritual and material support while they grow in personal holiness, and the archdiocese plans to begin offering a Hispanic young adult mission trip to a different location every year. For most of the team members, it’s their first mission trip.
“Everyone is excited. We can’t wait to serve the children,” said team member Paula Cadavid. “They really can’t wait to give everything they have for the best purpose in life which is to serve…We’re finally going to be able to apply everything about who we are as Catholics. The heart of the church is service…God willing this is the foundation to start this apostolate to do more, so who knows where it will take us next year.”
In El Salvador’s capital of San Salvador, they will visit with some of the 80 orphans at Hogar Inmaculado Corazón de María (Home of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) and help them with daily activities. They will teach the faith to children, youth and young adults, and participate in door-to-door evangelization outreach. In addition, they will visit various places in which the sisters minister, including a hospital and the home for the disabled Hogar Padre Vito.
The trip is part of the Office for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry’s pastoral plan to challenge youth to be missionaries in all aspects of their lives. Cadavid, who was born in Venezuela, has family roots in Colombia and grew up in New York, said that money is the most needed donation and will be used to support the religious order’s ministries there. Medical and school supplies are also needed. They have focused their fund-raising efforts in the Hispanic Catholic community here, which has been challenging due to its generally limited economic resources. “It’s an initiation process for us as a group on how to tackle fund raising,” said Cadavid, who attends St. Michael the Archangel Church in Woodstock. “Since it’s like the first time…this year is mostly like a creating of an awareness to them. Most of us are Hispanic and attend Hispanic Mass.”
Cadavid, 27, accepted an invitation from one of the Sacred Heart sisters last year to go on a mission trip to San Salvador, where she was deeply spiritually enriched, which led to her helping plan the return trip. It also helped her realize that you can be of service through mission work “without necessarily having to have a profession.”
“It’s what our faith is all about, that eternal search of being a better person and living the life Jesus Christ is all about and it just overwhelmed me, and I just had to share,” she said. “The real nature of what Jesus Christ is all about is found when you help people.”
She added that the bilingual missionaries will be encouraged to speak English as well as Spanish, to help los Salvadoreños to practice their second-language skills.
Cadavid is grateful for the growth of the archdiocesan ministry to Hispanic young adults in which she volunteers, as “it just had to be initiated and it’s running. It’s really just because the faith in the young adults has always been there. It’s to the point of saying ‘let’s do something and put it into action,’ allowing them to exercise their faith.”
For information about participating, contact Cadavid at (404) 454-5595 or email@example.com, Carolina Barona at (678) 698-9382 or Leonardo Jaramillo at (404) 885-7412. Checks payable to the Archdiocese of Atlanta-Hispanic Apostolate and other donations may be sent to the Archdiocesan Hispanic Apostolate, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, 680 W. Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta 30308. Trip information can also be found on the Hispanic youth/young adult Web site at www.juvatlanta.org.