“Was not our heart burning within us, while he was speaking on the way, and when he opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
Growing up Catholic, my faith was something that was thankfully a steady part of my family life. I knew that a relationship with Jesus was important, but I didn’t really know what that meant. Thanks to some strong friendships in high school, I started delving into what it meant to be Christian, and I went to adoration for the first time- a truly life changing experience. Having both my parents model service and growing up with a younger brother with special needs, God was working from a young age to turn my stone heart into flesh. My brother taught me so much about seeing Christ in those in whom we often neglect, and my family truly modeled a sacrificial love.
However, with all of these loving relationships, I still didn’t have a relationship with Christ or know His presence in the Eucharist. I went off to college at the University of Virginia, thinking I would graduate and go off to medical school afterwards, but the Lord had other plans. The summer after my first year of college, I found myself in the middle-of-nowhere in Southern Indiana, at a Benedictine Monastery. Little did I know, I would spend three summers interning at St. Meinrad for a program called One Bread, One Cup, a liturgical leadership conference for high school youth. This monastery on top a Hill quickly became home and one of the most formational times of my life. I came to know that Jesus was present in the Eucharist, a truly life-changing experience that led me to desire going to Daily Mass and a deep love for the liturgy. The Benedictines also modeled hospitality: seeing Christ in all of those we meet. This charism became something that I still hold dear and wish to live out through my life.
Combined with the wonderful Dominican friars are UVA, I started to grow more in my love for the Lord. I started studying majors that allowed me to delve into various social problems that we face and how we could change them, as well as working with youth. These majors were great and desired to change the world, but they were missing the Truth at the center of it. At the end of college, after some discernment, I decided to wing it and move to Baltimore to work with a non-profit that provides job training and advocacy for youth in the city and county. Accompanying the youth and building relationships quickly became my favorite part of the job, but I knew that I needed more. I sought out a community here in Baltimore in many different places, and found myself at one point at the Basilica, where I learned more about the Source program. I started coming to meal ministry and out to the streets with Colin and Nathan, and I quickly fell in love with those we met on the streets and the way the missionaries were centered in accompaniment and seeing Christ in the other.
He led me to connect my desire to serve and love others to giving my whole heart to Him. This is something I must work on daily, but I pray that my desire to follow and love Him, especially through being at Source, shows me how to love more deeply and wholly, always taking a preferential option for the other.
Pursuing my calling as a missionary is only possible through the spiritual and financial support of mission partners. Your investment in this mission enables our community to go out and share life with our friends on the street day after day, where we address their biggest source of suffering—isolation—in a way that nobody else can. Your support enables our program to grow, and we intend to have a community of 15-20 missionaries by August 15, 2022. These young, determined men and women will be nourished and equipped through daily opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, and human formation, and they will spend time in prayer before Christ in the Eucharist, interceding for the needs of this suffering city. Your support makes all the difference, and I want to invite you to invest in both me and my community. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know the best way to reach you and I will happily schedule a time to meet! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.