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The youth participating in the Mission Trip to Nicaragua invite you to join them in spirit each day of their journey, praying and meditating together. Throughout the trip, we'll be posting photos and updates here as well.

August 6  |  August 7  |  August 8  |  August 9  |  August 10  |
 August 11  |  August 12  |  August 13  |  August 14  |  Prayer for each day

Thursday, 6 August

While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white (Luke 9:29)

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It comes right after Jesus tells them how he will soon go to Jerusalem, where he will be condemned and crucified, but then will rise from the dead.  The disciples struggle with these words.  How can their master, whom they already recognize as the Son of God, suffer the death of a criminal?  Jesus takes three of them, Peter, James, and John, and gives them a glimpse of his heavenly glory.  They see him speaking with Moses and Elijah—great figures from the Old Testament—about the “exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31).  Jesus shows his disciples that he is both divine and human, sharing fully in the glory of God the Father, but also sharing fully in the suffering of humanity.

This week, we will be with people who have suffered great hardships in their young lives.  They have carried the cross of Jesus.  But we will also see how faith can transfigure our sufferings and make them shine with the glory of God.
Wisdom from Pope Francis
The poor have much to teach us. . . . in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them.   
Prayer intentions for today
Let us pray for the safety of our travelers.  Let us also pray for a fruitful encounter with the NPH community in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, that all of us may come to deeper faith and a new awareness of what unites us.

Friday, 7 August
Praying with St. James

Whether we are at home or away
we aspire to please the Lord
(2 Corinthians 5:9)

Saint James—Patron of Pilgrims, Seattle, and Jinotepe
Our own patron saint, St. James the Greater, or Santiago, is also the patron saint of the city of Jinotepe. Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, a Spanish galleon was in danger of breaking apart as it was being tossed about in a storm near the Nicaraguan coast. The crew was ordered to lighten the load of the ship by throwing extra weight overboard, and when a certain large crate was tossed in the ocean, the sea miraculously became calm. The crate eventually drifted to shore where it was discovered by two salt harvesters. When they opened the crate, it revealed a statue of Santiago; when they closed the crate, it glowed with a halo of light. The salters resolved to take the image of Santiago to the church in Jinotepe, where James was adopted as the town’s patron. Statues of St. James and other saints are carried through the streets of Jinotepe every year in July during the festival of Santiago.

Wisdom from Pope Francis
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances . . . and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.
Prayer intentions for today
St. James is our patron saint, and the patron saint of Jinotepe, too.  Let us ask St. James to pray for us, that we may have his strong faith and his enthusiasm and courage in sharing his love for Christ with others.

Saturday, 8 August
St. Dominic

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you
(Jeremiah 1:5)

Setting the World on Fire
Domingo Félix de Guzmán (1170 – August 6, 1221), better known as Saint Dominic, founded the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, one of the great religious orders of sisters, brothers, and priests in the Church.  The story goes that when she was pregnant with him, his mother Juana had a dream:  a dog, running with a torch in its mouth, setting the world on fire.  While this story is probably just a fanciful play on the saint’s name (Domini = Lord and canis = dog in Latin), his mother’s dream certainly came true.  Dominic set the world on fire with his total dedication to God and his gift for preaching. In art, Dominic is often shown with a rosary, a devotion he loved and promoted all over Europe.

How will you set the world on fire? Saint Dominic, pray for us!
Wisdom from Pope Francis
We are called to find Christ in the poor, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.
Prayer intentions for today
We pray for all children, especially those who experience mental, emotional, or physical suffering from an early age. May all children, without exception, have access to the basic necessities of life: love and community, healthy food, clean water, education, and health care.

Sunday, 9 August
Taste and See

Let us offer to the Father, with the bread and with the wine,
all our joys and all our sorrows; all our cares. Lord, all are yours.
(From a Nicaraguan folk song)

Bread from Heaven
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells his followers, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” The disciples would have heard this and recalled another time when food came down from heaven. When Moses and the Israelites were in the desert and without food, God sent them manna, a bread-like substance that the people would gather from the ground in the morning. There was always enough manna for each person to eat and be filled. This bread from heaven gave life to the people.

But Jesus says he is food that is even better than manna: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Manna would nourish the people for a day, but Jesus, the bread of life, will nourish us for eternity. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are letting God feed our very souls and give us life in him.
Wisdom from Pope Francis
May we reach out to the poor and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity!
Prayer intentions for today
Let us pray for all who do not have enough to eat, those who suffer malnutrition.  May we work together to find ways to share our bounty with them and relieve the world’s hunger.
Let us also pray for those who are hungry for justice, who are deprived of freedom and opportunity, that they may be satisfied.

Monday, 10 August
Nicaragua, land of Saints

Those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever
(Daniel 12:3)

Blessed María, Pray for Us
María Romero Meneses was born in Granada, Nicaragua, on 13 January 1902.  One of eight children, she was a bright student and a gifted artist.  After she was cured of a dangerous illness through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she decided to dedicate herself to the service of God.  She joined the Salesian Sisters.  At first, she taught art and music to wealthy girls in an exclusive school in Costa Rica.  But she felt called to service of the poor, and began visiting the barrios, seeking out children who were oppressed, marginalized, or abused.   Eventually she dedicated herself entirely to this work.  She died on 7 July 1977 at Leòn, Nicaragua. Blessed María, pray for us!
Wisdom from Pope Francis
Let us rediscover the corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
Prayer intentions for today

We become the hands and feet of Jesus when we serve others in need, as Blessed María did.  We pray that God will make us bearers of Christ’s mercy to all we meet today. 
Let us pray for the courage to undertake the works of mercy ourselves, not leaving this essential work to others.

Tuesday, 11 August
St. Clare

Look deeply into the mirror, which is Christ,
and meditate on his humility or simply on his poverty
(St. Clare)
Today is the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253), the friend and companion of St. Francis.  Chiara Offreduccio was born into a wealthy family and grew up surrounded by the good things of life. When she was 18, she heard St. Francis preach about poverty, and everything changed for her.  Leaving her father’s house, she became a religious sister, eventually founding the “Order of Poor Ladies,” now called the “Poor Clares.” Clare was sometimes called “another Francis.”  In 1224, when the army of Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor, was approaching Assisi, Clare went out on the walls of the city, carrying the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance.  The army was filled with a strange terror, and Assisi was saved.  Clare died on this day in 1253.  Her last words were “Blessed be You, O God, for having created me.” Saint Clare, friend of St. Francis, lover of poverty, pray for us!
Wisdom from Pope Francis
To be like Christ, we should not put ourselves above others, but indeed lower ourselves, place ourselves at the service of others, become small with the small and poor with the poor.
Prayer intentions for today
We may not feel rich, like St. Clare’s family, but compared to most of the world, we are rich in material things. Today let us ask St. Clare to pray for us, that we might keep our lives in perspective and stay focused on the treasure that really matters:  Jesus Christ, whom we meet when we encounter the poor.

Wednesday, 12 August
Our Lady of Nicaragua

Lady, full and overflowing with grace,
all creation receives new life from your abundance
(St. Anselm)

Holy Shouting
One of the most beloved images of Mary in Nicaragua is known as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo.  According to tradition, Rodrigo de Cepeda Ahumada, the brother of St. Teresa of Avila, brought the image—given to him by his saintly sister—with him when he visited Central America in the 16th century.  When he was transferred to Peru, he meant to bring the statue along, but there was one delay after another until Pedro realized that the Virgin wanted to stay in Nicaragua.  He left the image behind, and she has remained in Nicaragua ever since.  On the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, there is a tradition called the Gritería, the Shout, as people set up elaborate home altars, visible to passers-by.  Those outside shout, “Who is the cause of our joy?” and those inside shout back, “Mary’s conception!”  Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of Nicaragua.
Wisdom from Pope Francis
Mary is the missionary who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love. As a true mother, she walks at our side, she shares our struggles, and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love.  Through her many titles, often linked to her shrines, Mary shares the history of each people which has received the Gospel and she becomes a part of their historic identity. 
Prayer intentions for today
Mary is a model of joyful discipleship for all of us.  Let us ask Our Lady to pray for us, that we might share generously with others the joy of knowing Christ.

Thursday, 13 August
Am I a Missionary?

Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit
(Matthew 28:19-20)

Missionaries and Native Peoples
Today, it can be challenging for us to read about the first missionaries in the New World, especially in Central America, Mexico, and California. Missionaries—often Franciscans—usually accompanied military expeditions which were bent on subduing the native populations and exploiting the riches of the land. While the missionaries’ purpose was quite different, all too often the native peoples suffered as their culture and language were suppressed.
     Fray Pedro de Betanzos (d. 1570), born in Galicia, Spain, was one of the first Franciscan missionaries to Nicaragua.  He soon realized that he would need to learn the language of the people if he wished to share the Gospel with them, and in one short year he mastered three local languages:  Quiche, Kakchiquel, and Zutuhil.  Eventually, he gained fluency in fourteen different languages of the native peoples. 
     We are called to be missionaries in our own way.  How can we learn from the past?  How can we bring the joy of the Gospel to others in a way that honors their dignity and respects their culture and background?
Wisdom from Pope Francis
The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice.
Prayer intentions for today
It has been said, “being listened to is so close to being loved that most people can’t tell the difference” (David Oxberg).  We ask the Lord to help us to listen carefully and intently to others, as Fray Pedro did, so that we can show them how much they are loved.

Friday, 14 August
Last Day

Do not turn your face away from the poor.
From the needy do not turn your eyes
(Sirach 4:4b-5a)
God’s Preferential Option for the Poor
The social teachings of the Catholic Church pay particular attention to the needs of the poor, what is sometimes called a “preferential option for the poor.” This doesn’t mean that people who are poor are more important than others—God loves us all limitlessly!—but it means that meeting the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society should be our top priority. As the U.S. Catholic Bishops have said, “The ‘option for the poor,’ therefore, is not an adversarial slogan that pits one group or class against another. Rather it states that the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community. The extent of their suffering is a measure of how far we are from being a true community of persons” (Economic Justice for All, #88). We are all one body in Christ, and Jesus calls on us to care most lovingly for our most needy members.
Wisdom from Pope Francis
Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!
Prayer intentions for today
As we return home, let us thank God for our time at NPH, and for this opportunity to learn from them about what it means to love others.  We will continue to hold them in our prayers and in our hearts!


We invite you to join us in praying each day for the orphans
whose lives we will be sharing on this mission trip.
Lord God,
Thank you for the NPH family.
Thank you for the surrogate mothers, fathers, sisters,
brothers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that care for the children.
Give the orphans friends and neighbors who care.
Introduce them to people of passion, mercy, and commitment.
Make them friends with
artists, musicians, priests, jugglers, doctors, and teachers.
God, thank you for their daily food…
and thank you also for paintbrushes and soccer balls,
ice cream cones and for sunsets,
for silly games and the freedom to laugh.
Thank you for the tiny moments that hold us all together.
God, please help us to change the large forces
that fight against these children.
May governments become their servants.
May education empower them.
May religion be their true advocate.
May war pass over them,
art not forget them,
history remember them.
May medicine be placed in their service
and economies include them equally.
May families of all kinds welcome them.
 When they grow up, God,
continue to give them hardships such as these:
the drudgery of house work and the kitchen,
that they may always have homes and food;
the boredom of quiet towns and uneventful cities,
that they may live in places of peace;
the knowledge of their spouse’s faults,
that they may have long and intimate marriages;
the difficulties of raising children
that they may become the mothers and fathers they never had.
Give them forgiveness and generosity,
that they may overcome the circumstances that wounded them.
Give them humor,
that they may have joy and pleasure in all circumstances.
Give them imagination,
that they may have resources and new beginnings at all times.
Give them confidence,
that they may overcome the lie the world tells about them.
And when they are delivered, give them memory,
that they may see the redemption in their story,
and know its importance.
God, we thank you for their courage,
and we pray that they would not become numb,
but that they would know, in the pain of their great loss,
a great love, both in giving and receiving. Amen.
The quotations from Pope Francis are from:  August 6: The Joy of the Gospel, 198; August 7: The Joy of the Gospel, 24; August 8: The Joy of the Gospel, 198; August 9: Misericordiae Vultus, 15; August 10: Misericordiae Vultus, 15; August 11: General Audience, 12/18/13; August 12:  The Joy of the Gospel, 286; August 13: The Joy of the Gospel, 24; August 14: Misericordiae Vultus, 15



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