Hope in ireland
Ireland mission was such an unexpected surprise! It is a unique mission in which the team and leaders that go on mission that year have never actually set foot (usually) in Ireland prior to going and heavily depend on the previous leaders and contacts in Ireland to make the mission possible. Thanks to Ad Gentes, our families and friends, and all of those who supported us through donations but especially through prayers! When one goes on mission, one is definitely called to plant seeds in some way, but one is not always called to reap the fruits. There were many seeds planted by each missionary and some fruits. There are so many stories we could share either in door-to-door Street Evangelization or in the Pubs of Galway, but each missionary has their own testimony of what the Father has done through them. I will share my own briefly.
Each day we came back from the pubs around 1-2am in the morning, we would often see homeless men and women under the doorways of the city bundled up trying to stay dry. On the first day, Nino and I met a woman named Caroline (48 years old) along with her son, Thomas (21 years old). We quickly became friends and she taught us many lessons, especially of not complaining and being grateful to God. Day after day we came back and always stopped by to greet her as often people are mean to the homeless, if not abusive. We would also bring her tea (but not Herbal tea because it makes her gag) and new socks.
How often visiting her felt like paying a visit to our Blessed Lord in the tabernacle, or at least how it should be. We got to know Caroline pretty well by the end and each missionary had encountered her to some degree. I became particularly close to her and she to me. Rarely have I gotten to be such close friends with the friends of Christ on the street that the had learned my name, but Caroline had learned mine. The last night we gave her and her son tarps to keep her dry (she and her materials were always wet), blankets, new socks and gloves, more tea (!), food, a backpack. I personally wrote her a letter and we all signed a picture. In the end she was crying and giving me a hug and thanking all of us for all we had done and that she will never forget us. I will always remember her telling us that if there were only more people like us in the world, it would be a completely different place. It was very moving and humbling that the Father chose us from all of time to touch Caroline’s heart. Before we left, we all made a deal that whoever gets to heaven first will sneak the other in and we all departed in tears and in joy. I will never forget that Christ truly is in the poor.
- Toan Cao, Ireland Mission Leader
The primary ministry of Ireland Mission takes place in the local pubs. The “publics” have served as social centers of the Irish people for centuries, especially as their culture has looked to alcohol to alleviate the increasingly depressive tendencies. By encountering them in these places, witness occurs through personal evangelization, examples of self-control, and simple holy conversation.
The National University of Ireland’s Galway campus offers a chance for missionaries to assist the Catholic campus community, Youth 2000. They meet once a week, on Wednesdays, for a holy hour and social. Through praying with them, the team affirms the community as well preparing the team for continued ministry about halfway through the week. Contacts and relationships are formed between the team, which helps for the continuation of ministry beyond the week.
The team also aims to maintain an aura of mission at every moment, so to witness to each person. Witness can be given to bus drivers, waiters and waitresses, and any other person the team encounters at any moment through cordiality, purity, and charity.
Other Ireland Missionaries: