by Seth Huffman
On September 30, the Saint Paul’s Outreach Mission Leaders from Seton Hall University and Rutgers University were blessed to meet Archbishop John Myers, from the Archdiocese of Newark. It was a cool, rainy Friday morning as the Missionaries gathered to meet His Grace, unknowing of the great stories and wisdom he would share.
As an introduction, each of us shared with the Archbishop about how we became involved in ministry. The Archbishop was grateful to have us and extended his great hospitality. He then shared his own story about his life in rural Illinois, how he became appointed to the position of Archbishop.
Only a few minutes into our conversation as a group, His Grace shared a story of a young man who was the oldest of thirteen children and went to World Youth Day in Poland earlier this summer. The young man had asked Archbishop for financial support for the trip and was grateful to have been able to go. Two weeks after the trip, he was in a car accident that put him in the hospital.
While in recovery, a letter was found in the car, addressed to the Archbishop with postage, ready to mail. The letter was delivered to Archbishop Myers, and he read about the trip to Poland. The young man told of his great experience walking in the footsteps of St. Pope John Paul, St. Faustina, and so many others. Each moment was awe-inspiring, but the most touching moment for the young man was sitting in the cell of Maximilian Kolbe, the man who sacrificed his life for a father of a family in the concentration camp of Auschwitz during WWII. In that moment, the young man reflected on his life’s course, and opened his heart to what the Lord wanted for his life.
As missionaries, we have also been opened at some point in our lives to a calling from the Lord. The young man’s story resonated within us all. The greatest life lived is one in service to the Lord. As the Archbishop told the story, his gratitude was apparent that we each have said yes to the Lord’s call to mission on the college campus.
Archbishop Myers went on to encourage and call us on in our work to create environments on campus which promote young people engaging their faith. As our culture often distorts the good, it is vital for missionaries to be on the front lines of college campuses.To evangelize is to teach in the ways of truth. As Jesus said in John 8:32, “then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Our time with His Grace ended with a group picture, a blessing, and even a “selfie!” It was a genuinely positive experience with such a great man, who will continually be acknowledged for his support and generosity to Saint Paul’s Outreach.