by Jennifer Hettrick
This year was my second time going out to the streets of Prince Albert as one of the missionaries of the Fire Mission. The Fire Mission is an event hosted by the Conquest boy’s club and the youth of the diocese, to go out and invite those in our communities to come to the Easter celebrations of the parishes. There were about 24 youth participants, from several different parishes around Prince Albert.
The event was held on March 19th, and began with a blessing from Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr. during the Chrism Mass.
I have to say very honestly, that before events like this, I get nervous. It is not easy to go out and knock on people’s doors, inviting them to Church. As one of the missionaries and organizers this year, the task fell to me to give the youth a bit of encouragement before we set out in our teams.
As I stood in front of the youth, it struck me at how incredible this was. Here were a bunch of cool, vibrant, fun-loving teens, choosing to go out to be missionaries and give of themselves. I was awed by this realization, and I continued to be for the entire event, as many of the teens took the lead in greeting those we encountered, extending invitations to them and making sure that all the prayer requests were written down. As they had fun together, laughing and sharing experiences, even when some of them ran into unkind responses. There was a joy in knowing that they were going beyond themselves, to give Christ.
The only thing I could think to say to these amazing youth before they began their mission was this: “As you encounter each person, remember that you may be the only face of Christ they get to see today. The moment they see you may be the first time they think of God in a long time. We have the chance to go and show the Mercy of Christ, so let Him work through you.”
We went door-to-door for about two and a half hours, going to about 300 homes, and delivering Mass times and pamphlets on living a life of Mercy to each household. We concluded the Fire Mission by joining in prayer for a short time with our prayer missionaries, who were supporting us before the Blessed Sacrament while we were on the street teams.
As I knelt with the rest of my team, praying for all of the intentions we had collected and all of the people we had met, I reflected on my experience of the Mission. I cannot say that I had any great conversations with the people we met, nor could I say for sure that the people we invited would be coming to Mass. However, I felt it a privileged to meet the people of our city and invite them to share in the love and mercy of Christ, through our Catholic Church.
As I looked at each one of the young missionaries and the adult volunteers, I know I saw a reflection of the love of God. Through our witness, Christ was working, even if we could not see it. Yet, that afternoon, I saw the merciful face of Christ in each one of my fellow missionaries. If I was asked to measure the success of an event like the Fire Mission, I would not measure it by numbers; I would measure it by this experience of Christ’s merciful face.