Nora Ruiz, Ninette Jackson and I spent a week with “Christ in the City in Denver, CO. CIC is a Catholic formation program for college-aged young adults who desire to be “missionaries” for life.
Through prayer, studies, and community living “missionaries” are equipped to help transform the world according to the Gospel; they begin with the chronically homeless reminding them of their dignity, and serve as a bridge with society and with God. The Program is based on Four Pillars of Formation: Intellectual, Spiritual, Human and Apostolic.
There are 25 missionaries participating in the program this year. In addition to an Executive Director, there’s a program director, a development director, and supervisors for each of the four areas of development mentioned above. During our weeklong experience we participated in most of the routine and activities with the missionaries.
Each day started with the Divine Office at 6:30 a.m. followed by an hour of meditation/ contemplative prayer.
On Monday morning one of the directors met with the three of us to give us an introduction to Street Ministry. We were then assigned to a “street team” and we headed for our assigned location in the city of Denver where homeless people gather.
Each team attended Mass daily at the church closest to their ministry site. Afternoons were dedicated to prayer, rest, study, etc.
Some evenings are free, however they do have night ministry two nights a week. After supper the teams go back out to visit with homeless people. They also are required to have a personal ministry – teaching CCD, youth ministry or some other ministry at one of the local churches. Some visit nursing homes or do other ministry with people who are poor.
Wednesday is “Lunch in the Park”. The missionaries spend the morning preparing for the lunch and loading everything into cars. Each Wednesday they collaborate with a different Catholic Church, which provides the hot food.
CIC members bring drinks (juice, ice tea and water) and a variety of desserts (cakes, pies, brownies, etc.) and they help with serving the food. After everyone has been served the missionaries spend the next hour visiting with the people who come for food. There is such a beautiful spirit and camaraderie as lots of easy conversations fill the park between the homeless people and the missionaries.
Friday afternoon the group has Mass, adoration and an opportunity for confession and spiritual direction at the formation house.
Night prayer is at 9:00 p.m. every night which always concludes with the singing of the Salve Regina.
This was truly an inspiring and enriching experience for us. We now want to see how we can bring a similar program to our own city here in San Antonio, TX. Please pray for us.
–Sister Miriam Mitchell, SHSp