U.S.A – Monroe, NC
History of the mission
Through the invitation of His Excellency, Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, MOP MONROE became the first international mission established by the Missionaries of the Poor in the United States of America. Together with four Brothers assigned to set up the mission (Br. William Samad, Br. Nowel Rebamonte, Br. Paulo Gudoy, and Br. Rodel D. Tabanao), the Very Rev. Fr. Richard Ho Lung, M.O.P., Founder and Superior General of the Institute traveled to the United States of America on the Feast of the Guardian Angels, October 2, 2008 to officially establish the Institute’s footing in Monroe, NC.
Rev. Fr. James Cassidy, O.S.A., the then Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Monroe provided the rectory for the first two weeks of our infancy narrative. During this period we launched our new apostolic endeavor in cleaning and repairing an old house within the Church property, which was abandoned for nearly two years. This became our make shift “manger” while we continue searching our “Bethlehem” appropriate to the nature of our Institute in being contemplatives in action.
On the 1st of May 2009, the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker, the good Lord has blessed us with a beautiful piece of land acquired through the help of generous friends and benefactors under the leadership of Peter and Lucie Tonon.
Located in a densely populated Spanish speaking community we now live on a 2.5 acre property dedicated to the Guardian Angels at 1403 Griffith Road, Monroe, North Carolina, 28112.
On the Feast of St. John Marie Vianney, August 4, 2009, Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, offered the Mass of Thanksgiving and formally blessed our Guardian Angels Monastery, with our Father Founder concelebrating.
To date, God has blessed us with the glimpses of the future of our mission. While it is true that we do not have centers for the poor as yet, we do have a Monastery where they can come and feel at home. Here, the families we serve no longer feel “strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Week after week, friends, volunteers, and associates give us their time, treasure, and talents in helping us reach out to the least of our brothers and sisters through worship, prayers, seminars, catechesis, community activities, meals and food packages on regular basis that stimulate in them greater sense of faith and appreciation of God’s love and care.
Likewise, the elderly, the aged, and the sick residing at various hospices, nursing homes and in their own homes are being acquainted to us by our simple gesture of care. On Wednesdays and Sundays we visit these brothers and sisters of ours and bring to them the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. But our witness goes beyond this. The nurses, personnel’s and families have wondered of our presence and are now more receptive and respectful of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We also conduct house visitation on weekly basis. This is another eye opening for us to pray and discern how we can best serve the least of our brothers and sisters without putting into jeopardy the mission and the vision of our Institute. We also provide meals at Union County community shelter in Monroe every 4th Sunday of the month.
1. We are making home visitations and deliveries of food and necessities for poor families every Tuesday and Thursday.
2. Every Saturday these families come to our Monastery to pray with us and are given instruction in the Catechism, Bible studies and song. The Brothers serve them a meal, and each family is given a food package to take home.
3. We are also visiting 3 nursing homes. We pray with and give Holy Communion to the Catholic residents every Wednesday and Sunday.
4. Every 4th Sunday of the month, Brothers and some volunteer friends sponsor and serve a meal at a homeless shelter.
5. Every Monday and Friday the Brothers and volunteers are working together in planting vegetables to be given to the poor families this spring and summer.
At the appointed times, our monastic nature encourages that friends, volunteers, and associates together with the families we serve, may join in with our spiritual exercises to promote holiness and build up greater sense of being one with God in fraternal spirit.
In recent times, the mission has been able to organize prayer gatherings and fellowship among our poor, friends, and volunteers on regular basis. This way of evangelization and touching base with everyone who generously support our ministry through spiritual exercises and fellowship is a powerful witness in building up community spirit.
The Monastery is also open to receiving friends who wishes to participate in our day to day spiritual exercises. Please contact us for more details.
There also have been a number of individuals, youth groups and other related Church organizations who have come and offer their time and services in supported our developing mission through prayers and volunteer works.