Nearly 300 students gathered in the Gentile Gallery of the J.C. Williams Center on the morning of Saturday, March 2, to prepare to travel on mission trips during spring break.
Bishop Jeffrey Monforton called students to approach missionary work boldly and with a “spirit of gratitude” at the annual Mission Immersion event. Monforton, the main speaker for the event, encouraged students to pray and “walk with Jesus daily” as they prepared for mission. He charged them to live boldly and follow the beatitudes, citing them as a guide for holiness.
Senior Jim Mello, a student coordinator with the Missions of Peace department, opened the event by telling the missionaries that going on mission is “taking part in the very life blood of the Church.” Mello also shared a video made by a mission team’s members from a previous year about what being a missionary meant for them.
Students appreciated the different ways that Mission Immersion offered them a missionary perspective. Matthew Goldschmidt, a junior who will be travelling to San Diego for mission, said that the event helped him see his “place in salvation history and how mission falls into that.”
Bailey Savoy, a student on the New Mexico mission team, said that it was “very inspiring” to get the first-person perspective that the video offered.
“I’m a senior, I’ve never been on mission before, and having that opportunity to kind of step into it gave me a way to prepare for it in my heart,” Savoy said. “To see the depth of it, that we’re actually affecting people, we’re not just going somewhere.”
Rhett Young, director of Missionary Outreach at Franciscan, said that the goal of Mission Immersion each year is to “pump the student body up right before (mission).”
“Bishop Monforton had an excellent presentation,” he said. “Jim Mello gave a great explanation of how to live as a saint.”
Young said that the energy among the missionaries was the “most excited (he) has seen among a group of students.” Young attributed the excitement to the students’ desire to “be selfless for Christ.”
Before the students received their Missions of Peace t-shirts, Monforton closed by challenging the students to “be witnesses to God’s eternal love, never back down and always, always, always pray.”
This event was hosted by Missions of Peace, a branch of the Franciscan University’s Missionary Outreach department. The Missionary Outreach department will send 12 mission teams across the United States and Central America during spring break, as well as two more teams in the summer.