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Something's Different

I've been home from Brazil for 10 days now, and I'm not certain what it is, but something has changed in me.  It's hard to explain or define, but after World Youth Day I'm not the same.  It's difficult to define or pin-point; I only have the evidence of what I can see and how I feel now.  This weekend we had a visiting priest, Fr. Emmanual, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  I was the one to pick him up at the bus station and I believe my life was changed by the conversation I had in the car ride to his host family's house.

I don't mean dramatically changed to the point where I am going to sell my stuff, leave everything, and begin mission work; but as I type that, it doesn't seem like the most terrible idea.  I think I mean an even more radical change than that - what if I had my life in perspective all the time?  How could I do that?  What do I even mean by that?

Well, I don't know how - but what I mean is the 22,000 parishioners he has in his parish live without electricity, water, transportation, education, and the Eucharist.  A priest comes to their village approximately every 2 months.  They live without the Sacraments - including Confirmation which they wait 5 to 7 years for.  That doesn't seem like a big deal until I think about the uproar the parents of our 9th grade Confirmation candidates were having about not knowing the date more than 5 months in advance; and I'm sure the grief they are giving because it is on a Tuesday evening and not on a Saturday, which is much more convenient.

I remember back in the early spring one Saturday evening there was a bad storm and the power went out.  MG and I were playing bananagrams watching movies on her laptop and were going to go to her house if it didn't come on before bed because we didn't know what to do.  Some of Fr. Emmanuel's parishioners have never experienced electricity.

They say there are only 6 degrees of separation - I am separated by these people with only 1 degree.  I feel connected to them in some way that I cannot explain.

I've been on mission trips before, here and abroad.  In the US, I did service work in Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Charlotte.  I've seen some poor Americans.  Abroad, I have done mission work in Brazil (outside of Sao Paulo) and Nicaragua (near Managua).  The poor I encountered there were much different than those in the US.  But they are still different than the people that Fr. Emmanuel serves in the Congo.

Then, I think back to the past 48 to 72 hours and the items that I've complained about: musical selections, people I have to be around, adults who don't know how to read their emails, my state of life, how long it takes to do my laundry, and many more I've chosen to block from my memory.

I want my life to mean something ... I don't want to just go along focusing on how life can serve me.  I'm restless with my state in life, maybe even a little in my job - I love the hours, the freedom it gives my weekends, I've even found ways to occupy myself on Sunday evenings.  All that and I'm not sure I'm making any difference, any contribution to the world, any improvement to the world.  Maybe this job can be a means to an end - it can be the financial funding to what I do that makes a difference, a contribution, a change to the world.

Now I just need to seek out - discern, what that can be.

Maybe it's visiting Fr. Emmanuel in the Congo - a plane ticket is about $1600; Brazil for WYD was more expensive than that - I'm pretty sure visiting Africa is in my future.  When and to do what? Now those are things to discover!


  1. Katie -
    Have you heard of this blog:

    You are making a difference.

    Being saintly isn't rocket science. It IS doing what you are called to do RIGHT NOW and doing it to the best of your ability without complaint.

    We all fail, but God still loves us!

    Sara M.


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