Monday, October 17, 2011

Pilgrimage to Appalachia

Yesterday was the start of our "Come and See" vocation tour, visiting Glenmary Mission areas in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Our tour guide is Glenmary priest Fr. John Rausch who won the PAX CHRISTI - Teacher of Peace award in 2007 for his many years of service in Appalachia. Other people on the tour include two men who are interested in learning more about becoming a Glenmary priest, along with four other people who came because of their interest in the environmental, social and economic conditions in this part of our country.
Our tour started in Owingsville, Kentucky, a former mission of Glenmary which was turned back to the diocese of Lexington a few years ago. Deacon Grimes gave us a presentation about the New Hope Clinic, a free medical clinic for uninsured in Owingsville. Amazing to hear how the clinic which offers FREE medical care, without government assistance to the people in Owingsville and Bath County, KY. The word FREE was not a misprint. Healthcare is a ministry and Deacon Grimes and other are finding ways to put the word "care" back in Healthcare.
We then traveled to Grayson, KY, which is a current Glenmary mission and met with Fr. Bruce Brylinski who shared with the group about his ministry the Hispanic community in his mission parish.
Today we will visit some folks in Whipple, WV in order to learn about the history of coal camps, the companies and the miners’ struggles in this area (try to find that on your map). After which we will travel up Kayford Mountain, WV to witness Mountaintop Removal and hear a presentation about the environmental destruction it has caused.
For those discerning a vocation, the "Come and See" tours are one of the best ways to experience the life and the needs of the people in the missions.

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