by Tom McFadden
The Dominican Republic and the deserts of Arizona are not the usual Spring Break destinations for the typical college student. But then again, Christendom College, in Front Royal, Virginia, has anything but typical students. For the second year running, under the guidance of Mike Brown, Dean of Student Life, Christendom students performed missionary work in some of the poorest areas of the Western Hemisphere from March 17th-26th Spring Break 2001.
Last year, a group of fifteen students spent ten days at the Diocese of Arlington's missionary parish in the Dominican Republic with Fr. Patrick Posey. Due to the great success of that particular trip, and the profound impact the missionary work had on the lives of the students, Christendom decided to enhance its missionary program this year.
According to Dean Brown, “I think it's somewhat amazing that in spite of the many personal sacrifices and hardships the fifteen students endured last year, most of them still participated in this year's venture. Apparently, they were all deeply affected by the Faith-filled love and joy they witnessed both in Father Posey and his many volunteers, as well as in the Dominican people themselves.”
The College challenged its students to dedicate their Spring break to mission work, to focus not on self, but on service to others by acting as ambassadors for Christ. The response was overwhelming. Forty-three students and four faculty members raised over $40,000 to make three missionary trips possible.
One group went back to the Dominican Republic and worked with Fr. Patrick Posey in building outhouses, repairing the roofs of houses, and bringing food and supplies to the poorest people living in the campos surrounding the village of Banica. A second group went to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean and worked at a Basilian Fathers Missionary parish outside the Capitol of Castigies. The group painted and repaired homes, and catechetized the children from the parish school. A third group went to Hauck, Arizona, to a Navajo Native-American Reservation and visited nearly five hundred homes in twelve Navajo communities doing “door-to-door” evangelical work.