This past weekend several of our teens shared their mission trip experiences with the parish. If you were not able to hear their stories, I encourage you to take a moment to look at the links below:
Recent news from St. Thomas More Catholic Parish
Here are some excerpts from the baptisms that Fr. Taillon performed on Thursday of our trip. Nine children in all were received into the Church and five of the teens and the chaperones became godparents. All of the children are now baptized Catholics and were able to receive the anointing of the sick.
Yesterday started much like the other days at the Metro West Mission House. The wakeup call was at 6am and the breakfast duty moved sleepily into action. It was hot and humid, even at that early hour.
We all arrived at the mission house and were welcomed by the orphans and staff. After a brief prayer service, we divided the group up. One crew stayed at the orphanage and the other went to a nearby village to set up a medical clinic. Those who stayed at the orphanage had the arduous task of cleaning and inventorying a storage room that had been neglected for what seemed like years. While the crew removed all the items, ranging from beds to dishes to toilets and wheelchairs, they were greeted by some most unwelcome guests. Those guests included rats the size of small cats and spiders the size of baseballs. Despite the heat and magnitude of the project, our missionaries were able to catalogue and inventory the entire contents before the day was out. At the onset of the project, this seemed like it would take at least two days. This is just another testament to the zeal, enthusiasm and hard work of your children.
From a doctor’s perspective at the village and clinic:
We went to the village adjacent to the garbarge dump and the children were lined up waiting for us. Many waited for hours…unfortunately, some things never change. While I feared I would be seeing children with exotic, rare diseases, my fears were allayed as most were common and treatable ailments. With the help and linguistic gifts from our cultural attache, Mrs. Tasca, we were able to understand what the symptoms and problems of the children were. With what limited medical supplies and drugs we had, we were able to treat the conditions and offer guidance to the mothers. It was rewarding and sometimes painful to reach out to children who had never seen a doctor…especially when most conditions were easily treatable.
Concurrently, our missionaries practice crowd control outside the makeshift clinic and played with the children. There were more selfless acts and touching moments than I can account for or pictures could show. Cam, Casey, Julia, Holly and Maddison were some of the rockstars. Sometimes it seemed as if they had a small child attached to their backs. They relentlessly gave piggy back rides to the children. I often thought that they were going to be next in line to see the doctor as the physical exertion took its toll. None of them complained despite the fatigue and heat…it was really a sight to be seen.
After the clinic, we took a walk through the village. As you can see from the video, the poverty and living conditions were appalling. This, combined with what we saw during the day, took an emotional toll on all. In this case, words can’t express what we experienced.
Written by Andrew Raucci and Dr. Rick Ohnmacht
We are currently playing technology catch and are trying to update the blog more frequently. However, the connection is painfully slow. Maybe it is the ants crawling on the computer…
Regardless, here are links to videos we shot yesterday and today.
Here we are on Day 3 of the mission trip and just wanted to send you the latest update.
After a quick post yesterday morning, we went to mass at the cathedral in downtown Puerto Plata and it was a special experience. The logistics of bringing a group of disabled orphans to mass was something new to our crew. They handled the experience (think of wheel chairs, walkers and even some who needed to be cradled the entire time) with poise and grace. As I watched our missionary/orphan interaction during mass, there were some special moments. One such moment was the selfless care which Holly displayed as she cradled Johnny (the orphan) during the entire mass. Despite the stifling heat and burden of holding a big child for an hour and half, she allowed him to incessantly play with her hair. This brought solace and a smile to not only Johnny, but the our crew. Even the locals took notice and offered a discerning smile…as if to say “thank you.”
Next on the day’s agenda was some well-deserved beach time for the orphans (well, those orphans who behaved during the week). We had a picnic in the shade cooled by the breeze. After lunch, the Hogar Immanuel staff announced, “tiempo de playa” (beach time). The excitement was palpable and drew cheers from the children. One girl, Miguelina, screamed “ojas” (waves) as she approached the water. It was such a joy for the missionaries to care for and enable the orphans to enjoy the water and waves. It was a different sort of fun…a world away from the summertime at Narragansett.
Our missionaries gracefully fed, cleaned and played with the children. Whatever hesitancy they might have felt before the trip or before they met the orphans is long gone. They’re selfless care is inspiring and you all should be so proud. While it is true that they are giving of themselves…I am confident that they are receiving so much more.
Written by Andrew Raucci
After spending some quality time with the children, we went to Metro West Mission House. We ate a great dinner and shared the company of our most welcoming guests (lizards, frogs, and bugs). After dinner, we celebrated mass and enjoyed each others company.
This morning, we woke up bright and early to make breakfast and prepare lunch. There was no shortage of help in the kitched as everyone pitched in. It is hot and sunny, but that paled in comparison to the smiles and warmth that greeted us at the orphanage house where we are writing from.
Next, we take the children to the cathedral downtown and then to the beach. Stay tuned for the next post tomorrow morning and keep up the prayers.
we have arrived! we flew thru newark and landed in puerta plata…no problems…customs a breeze.
we came right away to Hogar Immanuel Orphanage and our missionaries were greeted with hugs and embraces by many of the nineteen orphans here.
we receieved our orientation and spent time playing, dancing and holding the children. there is lots of love!
we head now for our residnence orientation and settling in for an evening mass and journaling…we are all tired but so happy to be here!
keep up your prayers for us! we will pray for you!
We are excited to be able to blog our mission trip this year! Be sure to log on each day to hear and see what we are doing in the Dominican Republic.
Keep us in your prayers as we fly to Neward, NJ then on to Puerta Plata.
Hey check it out – this is our new blog on www.StThomasMoreRI.org! Stay tuned for pics and stories from our Mission Trip!