To the Band of Brothers: BYM Edition

Fr. Willie ‘87 | President
Good morning!

On the fourth day of our mission, I finally found some time to stop and write from the hills of the Dominican Republic. It wasn’t exactly because I hadn’t been inspired to write, but more because the Holy Spirit had me focused on other things.

In the 35 years of being involved with this experience, it never ceases to amaze me how prepared you have to be to confront new challenges. For as much as you try to cover all your bases, there is always one that you weren’t aware of and you have to address.

We are working in the village of La Colonia, a small town that 250 families call home. We are building an aqueduct that will help bring water to all the families. The significance of the project is not lost on us. We are aware there is a group of people who are very dependent on our being here. I remind the kids all the time that for years the people of La Colonia have been praying for water. Our boys are an answer to their prayers.

It hasn’t been easy. There are many inconveniences working in this village. We’ve had to split the group in two because there’s not enough room for us to stay together. We do not have the chapel close to us, so we have to walk a considerable distance to get to it. The village is located in an area with steep inclines and walking up and down mountains, especially for flat-landers like us, is never easy. 

But that is the beauty of this project. This experience calls us to share in the challenges of the Dominican villagers. It gives us an opportunity to experience what they go through every day. It challenges us to pick up our crosses, place them on our backs, and move forward to complete the mission. There are times when we pray for it to be easier, but that’s not what makes the man. I’ve never known great men throughout history or of our time to settle in their comfort zones. Greatness comes at a price, and this is the kind of experience that builds greatness. 

I’ve never known God to remove crosses. He calls us to carry them. In answer to a prayer he may send us a Simon of Cyrene to help us carry or a Veronica to wipe our faces, but the crosses remain strapped to our backs, and on our backs, they are exactly where we want them.

As we deal with the rain and the mud, the discomfort and the strain, we ask that you continue to pray for these 58 Wolverines, who are picking and shoveling their way to accomplishing an important mission. Before our time is done here, the aqueduct of La Colonia will be completed. On that day, the joy of a job well done will silence the challenges we faced.

Auspice Maria.

Click here to see pictures from the Belen Youth Missions trip.
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Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain.  The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline.  In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty.  The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow.  Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.