International Mission Work

We often have this fear that if we open ourselves up to 'the Will of the Lord' that He'll say, "Great, now that I have your attention, I want you to go preach in the Sahara and give up any hopes for a cute husband and babies." But that's not exactly how it happens. God wants us to be happy, and if a family or security or adventure is what will ultimately make us happy, He will never rob us of that. It's like Matthew 19:29, when Christ tells the Rich, Young Man to give up everything He has and to follow Him. Does Christ want all of us to do that? Sell our Ruche sweaters and Clarks? No, because the riches were what was holding that man back. The riches were his cross.

So what's your cross? What's holding YOU back from following Him? 

There's three Catholic words that make me cringe: 

  • Discernment

  • Evangelize

  • and Missionary

Why? Because they all have such strong connotations that come to mind when we hear these three words. Discernment we often think, "Crap, maybe I'm meant to be a nun." Evangelize we tend to think, "Great, so I'm supposed to walk the streets and ask Joe if he knows the Body of Christ." And 'Missionary' brings to mind those campus-ministry go-getters who held three leadership jobs and then went off to Africa for a year post-graduation.

If this is how we view these words, we are a bit off.

Discernment is on-going. It's not like we discern our future in one retreat weekend. We discern who we date, we discern our career, and we discern what city we to move to. Discernment can be exhausting, so here: stop. How can divine providence manifest itself in us when we are trying to calculate our entire lives? We must be open to hearing what Christ has to say, and in order to do so, we need to give it the possibility to intervene.

Evangelizing isn't necessarily winning strangers over to the Jesus Christ, but rather winning them over as a friend first. Win them over as a person, become friends--even those three minute friends that share a subway ride, get to know them, and then let Christ work through you. Pope Francis said, "Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did."

And Missionary? Pope Franny says we are all called to be one, but not in the St. Mary of the Desert sense. However, it is a choice. Like love. If we know the Truth, if we know within our fragile hearts that Christ is God, how can we not want to, how do we not feel compelled to share this news? "Go into all the world. . . proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). And remember, sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and the trust part comes later...and yes, that's from Man of Steel.

But remember: the one thing Christ asked Peter upon his Return is, "Do you love me." Christ did not ask, "Will you be brave? Will you sacrifice your life for me, as I did for you? Will you face your fears? Will you face persecution?" Christ only asked, "Do you love me?" And if we can respond as Peter did, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you" (John 21:17), then we can follow Him anywhere.

Below is a list of international & national opportunities for young Catholics who desire to follow Him by offering the one thing we can never truly get back: our Time.

Catholic Volunteer Network

By far the greatest search engine that will immediately narrow down your search. Comprised of 200 domestic and international volunteer and lay mission programs, this site offers a search engine that allows you to narrow down the countless options by selecting preferred line of work, country, length of service, and more.  

VIDES USA

VIDES, Volunteers International for Development Education & Solidarity, is an opportunity sponsored by Mary, Help of Christians for young Catholics who desire to work 3 months-2years in foreign countries, primarily with exploited youth. Mission site opportunities range from a selection of 22 countries in Africa, 23 countries in the Americas, 18 countries in Asia, and more!

Jesuit Volunteer Corps

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. - See more at: http://www.jesuitvolunteers.org/#sthash.6DwQwbjU.dpuf

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. - See more at: http://www.jesuitvolunteers.org/#sthash.6DwQwbjU.dpuf

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. - See more at: http://www.jesuitvolunteers.org/#sthash.6DwQwbjU.dpuf

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers young adults (21+) the opportunity to volunteer in serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. JVC requires a one year commitment.

Fransiscan Mission Service

FMS provides training and support for lay missioners to serve for two to six years in various Franciscan placements around the world.

Generation Life

Generation Life is a movement of young people building a Culture of Life through spreading the ProLife and Chastity Message. So far, Generation Life remains a national missionary organization stationed in Philly and New York, reaching thousands of students each year.

FOCUS

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students offers young, graduated adults to answering the Church’s call for a new evangelization, through a national outreach that meets college students where they are and invites them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith.  FOCUS missionaries are organized in teams of four and are stationed at campuses across America.