PHILLY, WE’RE BACK!
Returning for our third summer mission in Philadelphia was an incredible experience! Our time consisted of walking regular street routes, getting to know the homeless (some of whom remembered us from previous summers!), spending time in prayer, connecting with the local community, and exploring the city of Philly.
Our homeless friends shared their city by taking us to their favorite places, bringing their friends to meet us, and making sure we were cared for.
“It’s wonderful that you guys give three weeks of your summer to be here!” This quote takes on such a deep meaning when you’re looking at the people who are speaking this praise.
We were shown so much love by many local families and college students who opened their homes and provided meals for us. Some of these college students have started regular street ministry walks in Philly based on Christ in the City training!
Many priests and sisters joined us in the evenings to hear about our ministry. The irony of this mission is: though we were sent out, it was us who were known, loved, and served by the community who welcomed us so well.
Thanks again, Philly!
We’ll see you soon.
Q&A with Team Philly!
What was one of the most impactful experiences you had in street ministry?
We met a man named Howard on the streets of Philadelphia. The relationship started off a little rocky. Naturally, he was initially skeptical of what we were doing and why we were there. We kept encountering him and slowly built a friendship. We talked about whatever came to mind and he gave us tips for the city as he has lived there all his life. At the end of the mission, we said our goodbyes and he asked if we would be coming back next summer. He said he would pray for us and couldn’t wait until we meet again.
What was the experience like for your missionaries?
The majority of our summer missionaries came with their only expectation being to serve the poor. However, God made Himself known to them in so many other unexpected ways during our three weeks in Philadelphia. Not only did they encounter Jesus in our friends on the street, but also in the joys of community, time in prayer together, being formed through talks and lectures on the faith, and experiencing love from one another that was not limited by our shortcomings.
What was one of the most joyful moments in community?
Each day, we had a 20-minute walk after street ministry from the bus stop back to the seminary where we were staying. One afternoon, as soon as we got off the bus, it began pouring rain. We had no umbrellas or rain jackets, so we quickly realized there was no hope of staying dry. We decided to embrace the rain with joy as we jumped in all the puddles together, singing and laughing. It would have been easy to complain about our wet clothes, shoes, and backpacks, but it ended up being a favorite community moment when we decided to choose joy despite the less than ideal weather.