A Monday in the life of a missionary

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October 22, 2013 by Alex Johannigman

Welcome to part 4 of my “week in the life of a missionary” series. If you missed Sunday, you can read it here.

6:20am– Wake up and get ready for the day.

6:40am- Meet downstairs to begin praying the rosary as we walk to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for 7am mass.

7:00am– Mass at the cathedral begins.

7:30am– Mass ends and I join a group of old ladies who pray the liturgy of the hours after mass each day. I’ve been doing this most days since I got here, and they now all know my name and frequently ask me to do the reading in the middle of morning prayer.

8:00am– Return home and set up the dining room for breakfast. Last week I was on the cooking team. This week I am responsible for the dining room, which includes keeping it clean and setting the table before every meal.

8:15am– Breakfast

8:45am- Free time, which is mostly spent writing.

9:30am– We pray our gathering prayer in the chapel before we each leave for our different agencies.

9:40am– Maggie, Hannah and I leave the Seton House for work. I drop Hannah off at Catholic Charities and Maggie and I continue to Regis University where we both work during the day.

10:00am– We arrive on campus and encounter a fire alarm in the chapel right after we enter the building so we wait outside until they let us go in.

10:10am– Drew, Maggie and I get to the workshop and I give Maggie a brief tour of what we do in Father Woody’s Workshop. Drew is one of the full time workers at the Father Woody’s Wheels program at Regis, so I’ve been working with him and Tony, the other member of our team, since I started there. Today is Maggie’s first day at Regis after spending the first couple months working at the Samaritan House, a homeless shelter which is operated by Catholic Charities. My “tour” includes explaining how we make sets of clothing, knit hats, make sandwiches, and the purpose behind our work and who we are serving. We spend most of the rest of the morning knitting hats which is made more difficult for Maggie since I apparently did not do a very good job of explaining how it is done.

12:30pm– Drew, Maggie and I go to Regis Pizza for lunch and to pick up some gift cards for the Regis students who won prizes for reading the entirety of the last group email and replying with the correct answer to a question that was contained near the end of the email.

1:00pm– Drew leaves to take some students to go tutor at St. Catherine of Sienna. Maggie, Tony and I remain in the workshop and continue making hats along with a few students in the workshop.

1:30pm– I gather the students who are in the workshop to start making sandwiches for us to take to the Samaritan House. We spend about an hour and a half making a couple hundred ham and cheese and PB&J sandwiches.

3:00pm– We put the completed sandwiches into a few cardboard boxes and then load them into one of our vans. Maggie and I take one student with us and drive to the Samaritan House. Along the way, I’m able to ask the student about how classes are going, why she decided to go to Regis, and what she’s thinking of majoring in now that she is a couple months into her freshman year. I also learn that she is playing a “Zombies vs Humans” game at Regis this week, which is why she is holding a Nerf gun with her and has a green bandanna tied to her arm.

3:45pm– We return to Regis and help Tony carry several garbage bags full of sorted clothes, which we are going to use for the Father Woody’s Christmas Party, to the van so that he can take them to our storage unit a few miles away.

4:00pm– The end of our work day! Maggie and I catch a ride with Tony and a half dozen students who are going to go with him to the storage unit and he drops us off at the parking lot on the other side of campus so that I don’t have to walk 15 minutes to get to my car.

4:30pm– After picking Hannah up on the way home, we return to the Seton House.

5:00pmEvening prayer in the chapel.

5:30pm– Dinner time! Marcela and her cooking team made some delicious stir fry to celebrate Maggie’s birthday today. We have a birthday tradition at the Seton House where we go around the table affirming the birthday boy/girl and talking about the gifts that we have seen in that person and how they have blessed our lives. Maggie’s affirmations include many complements on her sense of humor and consistently joyful attitude.

6:30pm– After we’ve finished cleaning up after dinner, we leave the house and walk to Theology on Tap which is at Katie Mullens, an Irish Pub that is about a 10 minute walk from our house.

Katie Mullens was completely packed. Also, I've been told by every female missionary that the woman at the bottom of this picture was on America's Next Top Model.

Katie Mullens was completely packed. Also, I’ve been told by every female missionary that the woman at the bottom of this picture was on America’s Next Top Model.

6:45pm– We arrive at Katie Mullens with just enough time to catch their happy hour prices which end at 7. The pub is already packed with people. After a considerable amount of time waiting by the bar, I’m able to grab a Titan IPA for myself and an Angry Orchard Cider for Maggie since it’s her birthday.

7:15pm– The place is getting even more packed. Hannah yells at me to get out of the way as she shuffles toward a woman holding a cute baby. “Girls… always needing to go see the cute babies…” I say to some of the other missionaries. “You know who that is right?” one of the other girls asks me. I obviously look very confused, and then they tell me that the woman with the baby is Leah Darrow, who was on America’s Next Top Model and shortly after her experience on the show had a conversion of heart that created in her a new, deeper love for Catholicism. She now writes for Catholic Answers and is a famous speaker on chastity and modesty. Basically a Catholic celebrity was sitting right next to us and I had no idea. You learn something new every day.

Father John Nepil and Deacon Nathan Goebel take turns sharing their thoughts about zombies and our thirst for communion.

Father John Nepil and Deacon Nathan Goebel take turns sharing their thoughts about zombies and our thirst for communion.

7:30pm– The talk begins. This month’s talk is titled “Zombies and the Thirst for Communion” and features the tag team of Father John Nepil and Deacon Nathan Goebel. They do a great job speaking about our need for deep, authentic relationships with other people, particularly those of the same sex who can understand us on a deeper level. Without others pushing us to grow spiritually, it can be difficult if not impossible to become closer to God and increase in holiness and virtue. I enjoy it a lot.

9:00pm– After spending about half an hour mingling after the talk ends, I decide it is time to head home for the night. I start walking back to the Seton House and have no trouble falling asleep around 10:30 after another action packed day has come to an end.

The adventures continue on Tuesday.

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