Last year in March, I was with the Regnum Christi apostolate Mission Youth building homes for poor families in the hills of Puebla, Mexico. Each day I drove by a small wooden hut on the side of the road. I came to find out that this little hut in the picture was actually the village church of Las Puentes. It was small, poor and cramped, unable to serve the needs of the village.
So when I returned to the USA, I met with the Regnum Christi members involved with Mission youth and we decided that we wanted to change this. We would make a large concrete church with a metal roof complete with altar and pews. This would be much bigger of a project than building a simple house. We would need to raise a large sum of money, pennies compared to most church projects in the states, but substantial enough.
As the fall months went by we continued working on the project with a lot of hope. Yet at times it seemed hopeless. We would need to get at least fifty young men and dads into the hills over a two week period. We would have to bring in close to four tons of building material, coming from different parts of Mexico. We would need the land cleared and the concrete foundation poured ahead of time. We would have to find a camp site and food to feed fifty hungry men for two weeks. And as well coordinating numerous plane flights, buses and trucks.
Lastly, a huge obstacle was the weather. The mountainous climate was prone to sudden rain storms, hail storms, heat, cold, sun and clouds. Each day we never knew what type of weather would befall us, so we planned for anything.
All of this planning kept the Mission Youth team very busy all year. This mission to Mexico was only one of 13 different international spring break missions that Mission Youth organized. At times I admit that the daunting task seemed like a hopeless cause.
Well, thanks to the willingness of many holy people desiring to extend the Kingdom of Christ, we got the job done! Thanks first to the Regnum Christi consecrated women Katelyn, Marial and Jana for their love for Christ and zeal for souls. Their consecrated hearts are what are making Mission Youth a beautiful and thriving apostolate. Thanks to Todd and Anna for long and tireless hours keeping the Mission Youth office in Atlanta running smoothly. Thanks to the many generous benefactors who provided the funds for the church. And thanks to the over 200 missionaries who gave up their spring break vacations to serve Christ in the poor!
When rain came they pulled up their hoods and put on their ponchos. When hail came they dove for cover under scaffolding. When heat came they took off sweatshirts, only to put them on again a short time later when the cold returned. They made due with rice and beans and cold water for a week!
After two weeks the new church was painted and put in order. There are still a few parts that need fixing, a few windows that are to be installed, a few coats of paint and even some varnish on the pews. Yet the job is done. The church was inaugurated and blessed. The villagers were ecstatic! We have a new church, a home for God among his people.
I realized on the last day of the mission that God had had some extra help. I hadn’t noticed that the church was dedicated to St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes! Next year when Mission Youth builds a church, I hope it also has St. Jude as its patron! No matter how hopeless the situation, with God’s Providence, generous hearts and St. Jude, it will all come together!