The Catholic University of America

July 22, 2008

CUA Mission Trip Photos Posted Online

A record number of nearly 45 Catholic University students participated in two-week summer mission trips to Belize, Honduras, Jamaica and Tanzania, where they tutored children, helped with construction projects and lived and prayed in community with those they served. (See photos of the trips at http://galleries.cua.edu/.)

Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and Campus Ministry director who went with six students to Kigoma, Tanzania, said that "for many of our students the trips are indeed life-changing experiences."

Psychology major and rising second-semester junior Kevin Bein, of Sarasota, Fla., who served as a student leader on the Tanzania trip, noted that "the experience of this trip will stay with me for many years."

Bein applied to go on a mission trip after meeting Brother Stan Goetschalckx, F.C., founder and director of AHADI International Institute in Kigoma, last November at Catholic University. Brother Stan spent several days at CUA, where he received the $1 million Opus Prize on behalf of AHADI. The annual award is presented annually on a college campus to an unsung humanitarian hero in part to inspire students to a life of service. Catholic University co-sponsored the awarding of the 2007 prize.

Bein and the rest of the CUA team stayed with Brother Stan for about 11 days at a crowded community home where many of the residents are orphans and youths troubled by mental illness or physical disabilities. There, says Bein, he and the other CUA students lived by Brother Stan's three simple rules: Never turn anyone away; do your daily chore; and always be available for someone in need.

"The biggest thing about the trip was learning that every single human being is a gift from God," said Bein.

Christine Mica, CUA's dean of university admissions, who was part of the CUA team that went to Belize, said that "All [the students] were fantastic! They grew together as a team, they grew spiritually and they learned a lot about themselves."

In Belize, students spent several days in the Mayan village of Sunday Wood building the frame for the roof of a new church as well as several days teaching at St. Peter Claver School in Punta Gorda.

In Honduras, the CUA team stayed in the state of Comayagua, where they spent their mornings doing work projects at schools, homes for children and a housing project for abandoned mothers and their afternoons doing activities with the children at one of the sites.

In Jamaica, students visited Above Rocks Mission, a parish with three mission churches, schools, a health clinic, a tutoring center and a food distribution program for the poor. Two CUA nursing students worked in the clinic. Other students worked in after-school programs, tutored children, painted and provided other manual labor.

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