Glenmary's aspirants have returned from their summer mission experiences and for the most part they all had a good time. Without a doubt there where challenges during the summer but no broken bones - only a few minor bumps and scratches.
Yesterday we spent a day reflecting on their experiences and giving the aspirants a chance to share with one another some of the details about their mission assignments. They talked about the powerful moments which were shared with the children participating in the Glenmary Friendship Camp in Mississippi. Others realized that the theories and discussions they had at school about justice issues really hit home once they met and got to know families who were dealing with those situations on a daily basis. "The immigration issue is a lot more complicated than what it seems on paper." Another learned that the "small rural parish" does not necessarily mean "uneducated Catholics" - shortly after arriving there the aspirant realized that many parishioners where he was assigned had read more theology than he had! "They inspired me to really rededicate myself in school so that when I return I can offer them something more."
Glenmary has a long history of sending its seminarians out for summer mission assignments - it is an instrumental part of the formation process. And in each of the places they went this summer they were touched and astounded by the welcome they from the Catholic community.
I say thanks to all the receiving missions and pastors - their opening of their doors for these men to be with them will help prepare them to serve in Glenmary's future missions. A great service to the church and a way that we can all share in the baptismal call to be missioners.