Wanted by missionary religious community: missionary volunteers

Bethany Doudna

Staff Writer

Catholic young men and women are wanted to zealously and joyfully live out their missionary calling this summer, according to the missionaries visiting Franciscan University of Steubenville this week.

“Often when we think of ‘mission’ we limit ourselves,” said Sister Caritas, SOLT. “We think: I have loans, I need to get a job, I should prepare for my future. But if the Lord has put a call on someone’s heart, it’s important not to ignore that call. It could just be a year, it could be a summer, but you follow the Lord’s invitation.”

Sister Caritas and her fellow missionaries, who were at a table in the upper J.C. Williams Center Monday through Wednesday, are members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Since its founding in New Mexico in 1958, SOLT’s missionary activity has spread across the United States and to many other countries over the past 60 years. Their specific charism is to be “disciples of Jesus through Mary, living in Marian-Trinitarian communion, serving on ecclesial family teams in areas of deepest apostolic need.”

Sister Caritas, coordinator of the five SOLT missionaries who came to Franciscan, including three sisters and two priests, said they are particularly looking for volunteers for the North Dakota and Belize missions. But they hope to open positions for lay volunteers at their missions in Mexico in the future.

At Turtle Mountain, North Dakota, SOLT has served for the past 20 years with a parish connected to the area’s Native American reservation, Sister Caritas said.

Known as the “light on the hill,” this mission serves one of the largest and poorest parishes in the area. Volunteers are needed for development office help, youth ministry, as aides in the Catholic school and as counselors for SOLT’s youth summer camp.

Franciscan hosts an annual spring mission trip to SOLT’s mission in North Dakota.

In Belize, SOLT serves in the cities of Benque Viejo and Belize City. The Benque Viejo mission is mostly concerned with teaching both at Mount Carmel High School and at John Paul II Junior College.

Both schools seek to provide quality Catholic education. In Belize City, SOLT helps Divine Mercy parish to serve those on the periphery, both materially and spiritually, Sister Caritas said.

Volunteers there teach elementary students in a village school, assist with youth and adult catechesis and help with the local Catholic radio station.

Another volunteer opportunity is the 12-day mission trip in late May to early June, which visits both Benque Viejo and Belize City.

“Whether you realize it or not, it isn’t just about you giving, it’s about God forming you for your future vocation,” said Sister Caritas. “Whether that’s to be a spouse, a priest, anything, it’s going to make you better at whatever you do.”

The SOLT missionaries hosted information sessions in the Gentile Gallery Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Anyone who wants to contact SOLT about volunteer opportunities or with any questions can check out their web page at solt.net/volunteer or email the team at [email protected].