It is said that travels educate but they also can transform you. The story of Lay Mission Helpers Association started with a life-changing trip of Msgr. Anthony Brouwers who went to the Marian Congress in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1954. In his capacity as the Director of the Missions Office in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Msgr. Brouwers visited bishops, priests and religious sisters and brothers all over the continent and heard their frustrations and challenges of having to do things for which they had little or no training. They said, “We need help.” When Msgr. Brouwers returned to Los Angeles, he felt compelled to help them and the people they served. And so, he founded the Lay Mission-Helpers Association (LMH). From the very beginning, the purpose of LMH has been to recruit, train, send and support lay Catholic professionals who are willing to share their skills and witness their faith long-term in mission dioceses.
So far LMH has sent over 750 singles, married couples and families to 36 countries where they serve in the fields of education, healthcare, administration, social services, and more. We currently serve in Uganda and Ghana, and next year we plan to begin serving in Honduras.
Our candidates come from across the United States. We prepare them for their service in mission through a residential formation program in Los Angeles. They live together, study together and discern together their call to mission. The next formation program begins at the end of August. In December, new missionaries will be commissioned and depart for their three-year mission assignments. We will match their skills with the needs and requests of mission dioceses.
We continue to respond to the requests from Bishops in mission dioceses and help them with our skills while witnessing our Catholic faith. We live by our mission statement, “We are Lay Mission-Helpers, called by baptism to live our Catholic faith, to share our gifts and to learn from others, as we walk with those who are marginalized in the world.” But we cannot do it alone. We need help – your help!
We are very grateful to the Missions Office of the Diocese of San Diego for inviting us to participate in the Mission Cooperation Program this summer. MCP is an invaluable help, especially in these very challenging pandemic times. The funds received through the program will help us care for the sick in a rural hospital in Uganda, assist children with learning disabilities in Honduras, and support parishes and diocesan services in Ghana. Not only will we be able to support our missionaries in Ghana, Uganda, and Honduras, but also to recruit and train new ones. The mission field is endless and the bishops’ requests for help is unceasing!
Some give to mission by going overseas, and some go by giving! Both are needed to transform the world!
Please pray for us, as we pray for you. For more information about missionary service of Lay Mission-Helpers, go to www.laymissonhelpers.org
By Damian Kabot, Executive Director, Lay Mission-Helpers Association