News & Events
The Joy of Serving the Poor
Posted in News
By: Fr. Paul McCollum, Nevada, USA
The heart of the Pope expands to include everyone,’’ said Pope Francis in his homily at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, during his recent visit to the U.S.
The former nightclub bouncer and slum priest treats every encounter whether with saint or sinner, as an invitation to mercy. In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we can recognize the Pope’s vision lived out in the daily life of the Missionaries of the Poor.
When most of us say we are going on a journey. We typically speak of travel, often to a foreign country, often for rest or relaxation. Nowadays, we often forget about the journey of the heart: a spiritual journey. I was blessed to accompany 15 fellow pilgrims on a spiritual journey to visit and work alongside the Missionaries of the Poor in their monastery of Jesus, the Redeemer in Kingston. Jamaica. A journey of the heart is what St. Augustine described so aptly many centuries ago: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, Oh Lord.” Every one of us wants to be in union with God, but we often look in all the wrong places. Our small group from the Diocese of Reno found the right place with these holy men and women whose lives reflect their motto: “Joyful Service with Christ Crucified” As one pilgrim said, “…this experience marks the beginning of the rest of my life.”
Each day while in Kingston. we worked alongside the Mssionaries at one of their centers where they care for and treat those whom society has deemed waste, throwaways: because they are disabled either mentally or physically or both. Men, women, children, the fragile and those unwanted by their families form the family of God gathered by the Missionaries and loved tenderly.
We gathered for Sunday Mass with locals and the most broken and discarded who have formed their own community at Bethlehem Chapel and I was reminded that it is because of the shattered lives which we are so blessed to encounter easily here in Jamaica that we are given a glimpse into the Kingdom of God. I could not help but think of the words of Jesus: “The poor you have with you always.” I give thanks to God for the chance to spend some time with the poorest of the poor and minister in partnership with the Missionaries ofthe Poor. In this way I am privileged to see and feel and know the presence of God. Sharing with David’s laughter and Christopher’s renewed hope and Sheridan’s dignified death cracked open my heart. Because of my time in Jamaica, my spiritual journey has drawn my heart closer to the heart of my Lord.