PROGRAM DETAILS

Summer of Service 2021

Who: 15 young men and women

Where: Baltimore, MD

When: June 1, 2021 – August 1, 2021 (2 months)

Cost: TBD

(Room & board included)

Mission Year 2021-22

Who: 15 young men and women

Where: Baltimore, MD

When: August 15, 2021 – Summer 2022

Fundraising:

Minimum Target: TBD. Receive monthly stipend + Room & Board.

 

Program Details

Source of All Hope is a growing Catholic missionary community located in the heart of Baltimore. Our missionaries are young men and women who believe in the transformative power of authentic friendship and who desire to bring Christ into all the places where He yearns to find a home. Our mission is to love Jesus in all people and places, particularly in the areas where he has been most neglected. This is not your normal 9-to-5 job! Life as a missionary entails embracing a radical availability to the needs of those placed in our midst.

Much of our ministry is spent out on the streets, where we encounter homeless men and women who have been forgotten and rejected by society. We walk established routes so that we can encounter the same individuals, who gradually come to know us as friends and allow us to accompany them through their joys and sorrows. Our apostolate on the streets is simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking. It’s always an adventure, and the relationships that are forged in this context transform both us and the people we serve. Ultimately, it is because this encounter with the poor is an encounter with Christ.

Our work with the poor is not limited to the homeless. We also assist the Baltimore Basilica in her mission of evangelization by accompanying those who are spiritually impoverished. This takes on a variety of forms, including facilitating small groups, helping to develop and execute events for Baltimore’s vibrant young adult community, and sponsoring men and women in RCIA. We make it a priority to invite others into our fraternal life–through weekly communal dinners, our Saturday meal ministry, and guiding local college students who join us for our Friday street ministry.

Accompanying these brothers and sisters–many of whom suffer tremendously–is beyond our strength. We have no choice but to rely on Jesus, the Source of ALL hope, to sustain us. For this reason, a committed life of prayer is the pillar upon which all other aspects of our community hinge. Each day, missionaries come to know Jesus through Morning Prayer, Mass, Holy Hour, the Rosary, and Night Prayer. In our silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, we bring the intentions of all we meet before Christ; it is in His gaze that we discover what it means to be truly present with another. It is our goal to bring Perpetual Adoration to the Baltimore Basilica, with missionaries who are willing to keep Jesus from ever being alone in the Blessed Sacrament.

If you have any interest in joining our community, reach out to us! When else would you have an opportunity to experience this type of life? We’re happy to chat with you as you navigate the discernment process. Considering these choices can be intimidating, but you can always start by taking little steps to pass through the doors God opens in your life. We are praying for you!

FAQ

How do I apply?

Submit an application via the “Apply” buttons in the page above. Once you contact us, we will be in touch with you concerning additional steps.

What does a typical day look like?

Our schedule varies significantly each day, so there is no typical day! Nevertheless, our days almost always begin with morning prayer, Mass, and breakfast. We go out to the streets in the morning or afternoon, with the time not spent on the streets being an opportunity for formation, planning, or leisure. A Holy Hour is made at some point during the day. The evenings often have activities for evangelization and fraternity such as communal dinners or parish/young adult events, and we conclude the day with night prayer. Sundays, Wednesdays, and feast days are days off.

What does your work with the homeless entail?

Quite simply, our apostolate on the streets involves nothing more complicated than befriending the homeless in our midst. We walk specific routes in Baltimore so that we encounter familiar faces, and consistent interaction facilitates the blossoming of a relationship. It is through this relationship that we can begin to address the needs and desires of the full person; it is through this connection that our charity will remain personal and intimate. The face-to-face orientation of this ministry differentiates it from many other charitable programs, which, while necessary, do not emphasize engaging with the poor on an intimate level.

As friendships on the street naturally develop, we continue to accompany these men and women throughout their various struggles. Often, this simply means being present with the other as we listen to their story, struggles, desires, hopes, fears, and anything in between. Although this may not seem like much, it means so much for the individual who is being heard. For most of them, their life experience—both past and current—is filled with broken relationships. Allowing them to be seen affirms their God-given dignity and restores a sense that they have value.

We’ve seen our friends from the streets grow in confidence. We’ve remained at their side during emergency room visits, invited them to parish events, and guided them in applying to programs. We grab pizza with them. We pray with them, laugh with them, cry with them. They know we care, and that makes a difference in their life.

I don’t have experience working with the poor. Honestly, I’m a bit intimidated.

Don’t worry! You’re in good company. Even Saint Francis, one of the Church’s greatest champions of the poor, was disgusted and afraid of lepers at first. But one day, he got off his horse and kissed a leper. When he remounted his horse and looked around, he could no longer see the leper—and then it dawned on him: it was Christ who he encountered.

Working with the poor and the homeless can be daunting. We can be unsure of how to interact with them, and we hear others tell us that they are dirty, addicted, mentally ill, violent, etc. The reality—and we are speaking out of experience—is that talking with our friends on the street is no different from talking with any other person. Many of our missionaries find that their homeless friends are more receptive and easier to talk to than other people. It may take a little time to develop a level of comfort interacting with the poor, but the best way to overcome this fear is to come out to the streets and experience the warmth and openness of our homeless friends for yourself.

Is street ministry dangerous? I hear bad things about Baltimore. And my parents don’t think this is a safe place.

Our routes for street ministry all pass through public, well-traveled areas, and we go out during the day, when plenty of people are around. We primarily stay towards the downtown area, which has plenty of commuters and tourists. We also make sure to always have a male in the group. Our missionaries have never felt threatened during our street walks, and the homeless men and women have come to know us and recognize that we are only there to help. Baltimore often gets a bad rap, but we have come to love the city and its people. It’s a perfect mission field. If you have any more concerns, we encourage you to reach out and talk to our current missionaries!

How does food and housing work out?

Food and housing are provided to missionaries! We live in modest accommodations and strive to be frugal in our food expenditures. We recommend bringing only essential items and furnishings when you move in.

Do I have to fundraise?

Yes. We work hard to secure donors who cover a large portion of the cost to sustain the community, but the rest must be covered by each missionary. Fortunately, our fundraising amounts are incredibly low relative to most other missionary programs.

We recognize that fundraising can be intimidating for a prospective missionary. Fear not! We will help you, and we have resources that will help you understand the why and how of fundraising.

Do missionaries have down time? What about vacations? Opportunities to travel?

Of course! Wednesdays are free each week; Sundays are always set aside as a time of relaxation; certain feast days are celebrated. There is free time built into each day, during which missionaries are encouraged to pursue hobbies, exercise, play sports, or rest. Missionaries are encouraged to take advantage of free time and time off so that they don’t get burnt out or come down with cabin fever. Our current missionaries surf, play soccer, climb, read, play board games, hike, etc.
We also allow missionaries to take vacations—whether that’s catching up with friends or visiting family for the holidays. The duration and number of vacations is at the discretion of the house servant, but as long as you are clearly making the mission a priority there should be few problems.
Finally, we have time for daily prayer, monthly desert days, and retreats built into our life that help us to recharge (see question on prayer below).

As a community, we’ve been able to go camping, hiking, visit the beach, speak at colleges, go to conferences, and lead/attend retreats. We are also planning to spend a couple days living and working at a homeless shelter, visit the Grand Canyon, make a walking pilgrimage, and much more!

What do you do for spiritual formation?

A lot! Fr. James, our faithful founder and the Rector of the Basilica, comes and gives us a spiritual conference each Friday. This conference is typically geared towards an aspect of spirituality that is relevant to missionary life (e.g., how to pray well, living virtuously, etc.). On Thursday evenings, we attend P3, a Holy Hour for young adults that includes opportunities for confession, a talk given by an expert/leader in the Church, and a social at a local pub. Finally, we spend time as a community discussing and engaging with spiritual resources relevant to our mission. This is all on top of the great homilies we hear each day in Mass and the retreats and Catholic conferences that we attend annually.

What other opportunities for formation do you have?

In addition to the spiritual aspects, we also have human and intellectual formation. Our goal is to equip missionaries with the tools to become holy, healthy, and happy. As a starting point, missionaries are trained in the practical aspects of our apostolate. For instance, we have intellectual formation opportunities where we learn about homelessness or how to approach the complex problem of addiction. We are given tours of local charities and services so that we know where to refer our homeless friends. The beginning of the year is dedicated to learning about how to live out the various aspects of the rule of life and adjusting to a missionary lifestyle. And we spend time exploring important skills such as evangelization, fasting, and building good habits. These are just a few examples.

Can I bring a car?

It’s possible, but we will not provide parking or car insurance for your personal vehicle. The community has enough cars so that no missionary needs to bring their own car.

Do I need health insurance?

Source of All Hope is unable to provide health insurance to missionaries. You will need to find your own insurance. Once you transition to your role as a missionary, there is a good chance you will qualify for Medicaid or government-subsidized insurance. We can help you figure that out.

What is a rule of life and why do you follow it?

A rule of life is a set of guidelines agreed upon by a community to support a more intentional way of living. The intent of our rule of life is to assist us on our journey back to God by providing guiding principles that naturally engender growth in holiness as a community of brothers and sisters.

There is a big difference between having good intentions and committing to live intentionally. As humans, we are continually tempted to fall into a comfortable lifestyle that limits our potential and ultimately stifles the life of Christ in us. We must reorient ourselves towards God daily; it is in our best interest to hold one another accountable through an explicit commitment to grow in holiness. A rule of life gives our community a sense of direction through which we encourage one another to live virtuously.

Only a fool would expect a plot of land to transform from a weedy lot to a lush garden by itself. Gardening is not a spontaneous process; it requires hard work, including pulling weeds, preparing the soil, planting seeds, and fighting off pests. And all of this must take place at its proper time. There simply aren’t any shortcuts. Similarly, we would be foolish to expect our community to flourish without the daily work of pulling up weeds and planting seeds. The rule of life gives us a practical vision to accomplish this work. By establishing a rhythm of gardening in our spiritual, emotional, and relational lives, we will find ourselves more inclined to follow the will of God each day. Far from being a hindrance to our freedom, this rule is meant to cultivate an environment in which the seeds of love can bear fruit.

Do you have a dating fast?

We ask new missionaries to maintain a dating fast for the first four months. If you are already in a relationship, you will simply be expected to prioritize the community so as to enter into the rhythm of missionary life. While this may seem like a daunting obstacle, most missionaries find that the fast is a blessing. It enables one to be radically available, to learn how to look on your brothers and sisters with the eyes of true charity, and to freely discern one’s vocation. The fast empowers us with the ability to willingly sacrifice something good for Jesus—something necessary for any vocation. A dating fast is an investment in your ability to love selflessly, and this pays dividends.

I’m afraid that becoming a missionary will cause me to miss job offers or other opportunities. I’m worried about what my future employers, friends, or parents will think.

We hear you. Not everyone is called to be a missionary. But many of you reading this right now have a sense that Lord is calling you into something deeper. This is a big decision, and you’ll want to take it to prayer and talk about it with people you trust. But you’ll also want to recognize that not everyone will understand why you want to give up a year of your life to serve God and His people. God is never outdone in generosity. You can be assured that He will not ask you to miss out on something that is necessary for your true fulfillment.

Furthermore, the experience of living as a missionary can equip you for your future. This is a year of growing closer to the Lord spiritually, which is of infinite worth. This is a year of learning how to love others—both through the poor and your brothers and sisters in community. This is a year of growing socially by learning how to interact with others and how to take a genuine interest in them. This is a year of learning how to sacrifice. This is a year of building Christ-centered friendships through shared mission and mutual experiences. Missionary life is an opportunity unlike any other.

Do you have to be extroverted to be a missionary?

NO! Not at all. We interact with a lot of people, but so much of what we do comes down to listening well—a skill that often comes more naturally to introverts.

What can I do NOW to prepare to be a missionary?

Pray! Prayer is at the core of our life as a missionary. So it would behoove you to establish some structure in your own prayer life (e.g., attending daily Mass, going to Holy Hour when possible, having a routine for morning and night prayers). Spiritual reading and spiritual direction are also of great benefit. Ultimately, prayer should lead us to an unconditional surrender to the Lord, and a resolution to persevere in this spiritual journey no matter what is the most important determinant for our progress.