Sunday, June 04, 2017 - Updated: 7:00 am
Deacon Tim Noca said that the mission trips to Chimbote, Peru, are one of the big ways the Diocese of Pittsburgh lives out the trust Jesus places in us to be his disciples.
“You will bring home amazing stories on what that mission does on a daily basis,” he said.
Deacon Noca, a veteran of three mission trips, was among those who spoke during a Mass and commissioning for 2017 Chimbote mission teams May 24 at St. Paul Seminary in Crafton.
Ten members of Team 4A will depart Pittsburgh June 16 and return June 26, while Team 4B will leave June 30 and return July 10.
Team 4A will consist of Mary Lou Einloth, team leader; Deacon Rick Caruso, spiritual director; and Mara Aloi, Nick Aloi, Trip Cahouet, Sam Hansen, Jim Luteran, Debbie Manion, Jim Manion and Dr. Dennis Woytek.
Team 4B will feature Do Sabol, team leader; Deacon Frank Szemanski, spiritual director; and Joseph Auth, Roman Iannone, Carolyn Kiliany, Jeaneen Osborne, Steve Osborne, Linda Piso, Nathan Schollaert and Kimberly Szemanski.
The teams include a number of young people. Schollaert is a student at Central Catholic High School and Kimberly Szemanski attends Thomas Jefferson High School. Nick Aloi and Hansen are students at Case Western University, and Auth and Iannone are students at Robert Morris University.
Deacon Szemanski pointed out the teams will not travel alone. They have the support of family, friends and others who attended the ceremony.
“Gathered together by a bridge of love and hope,” he said.
As part of the gathering, Dr. Patrick Joyce, director of the Office for Stewardship, assistant executive director of the Chimbote Foundation and a member of mission teams 2 and 3A, delivered an update on the Mission Milestone Investment Project.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh annually contributes $250,000 a year to support the Chimbote mission and its 138 Peruvian employees. In addition, it launched the $1 million Mission Milestone Investment Project in 2015 to fund the construction of a new clinic that is double in size and for other programs. To date, some $820,000 has been raised.
“The Spirit of God is in this,” Joyce said. “The Spirit of God is in our bishop. The Spirit of God is in the generosity of our people.”
The May 24 program featured a spaghetti dinner to raise money that will be used to help pay the cost of translators for the trips.
During the holy day vigil Mass preceding the program, Bishop Zubik noted that the feast of Ascension commemorates Jesus entrusting the disciples with the task of taking their gifts and sharing them with others. The word of God is not just printed words, he noted, but it is alive. If we are to embrace Jesus and take his word seriously, we must make him a priority in our lives.
The mission teams are not simply going to a foreign country, the bishop added, they are going to demonstrate their generosity.
“May we, in fact, live it from the bottom of our hearts and with the fire in our souls,” he said.
Six people traveled to Chimbote as part of Team 1 in 2014. The following year, nine people made up Team 2. In 2016, 37 people traveled to Chimbote in two groups. There were 19 members of Team 3A and 18 in Team 3B.
The Center for Social Works in Chimbote includes a maternity hospital, outpatient clinic, clinical laboratory, pharmacy and home for abandoned and neglected children. More information is available at www.chimbotefoundation.org.