St. John Vianney & Cristo Rey Volunteer Mission Trips

Pathways partners with St. John Vianney Seminary and Cristo Rey High School to provide life changing volunteer opportunties to their students.

St. John Vianney Seminarian trips to Kolkata  — The seminarians on these Missions of Mercy volunteer with Saint Mother Teresa’s Missionary of Mercy Sisters working in her Home for the Dying, the Leper Colony, and other facilities. These experiences not only greatly strengthen their faith but more importantly help them to understand the importance of being attentive to the needs of their neighbors, especially those on the margins and in extreme poverty.  Pope Francis sees the importance of such experiences in seminarians’ priestly formation.

Bogota, Colombia/Cristo Rey High School — Pathways to Children, in partnership with the Rochester Sisters of St. Francis provides financial support and volunteers to the Colegio Anexo San Francisco de Asis (CASFA) a school in Bogota, Colombia.  The Sisters founded CASFA in 1985 as a direct result of the dismal education practices in Colombia.  At the time, it was estimated that 1/3 of Colombia’s population was illiterate.  The Sisters began with CASFA, a school aimed at providing education to the school aged, poverty stricken children of the Codito neighborhood, located in northeastern Bogota.

This school has flourished since its conception and now teaches students from pre-kindergarten through high school, offering not only traditional education, but also technical preparation and even internships with local businesses.  These unique opportunities provide the CASFA students real-life, resume building, experience, making them increasingly desirable to employers and transforms their lives.

Pathways and the Sisters of St. Francis, in conjunction with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School take students on a volunteer trip to CAFSA in Bogota, Colombia.  Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, located in Minneapolis MN, focuses on providing college preparatory education and job training to enhance the lives and future success of the under-resourced children comprising their student body.  This collaboration not only marked the first international partnership for Cristo Rey School, but also provided students with transformative experiences often not available to these   students.  While on this trip, the students immersed themselves in the local culture of Bogota through one-on-one student partnerships with a Colombian CASFA student.  The Cristo Rey students “shadowed” their partners, even attending internships and technical training with the native students, exposing both sets of students to completely different ways of living.

In July 2016, 17 students from Rochester Sister of St. Francis School in Bogota, Colombia traveled to Minnesota to reconnect with their recently formed friends from Cristo Rey high school.  These Colombian travelers to Minnesota had previously been hosts to students from Cristo Rey in Bogota in November 2015. A double exchange student program was the result which created, what are sure to be, life-long friendships. During their visit, they practiced soccer with the professional United soccer team, went to a Twins game, experienced being of service to those needier in the U.S. by volunteering at “Feed My Hungry Children”, helped clean up a North Minneapolis park and assisted in Spanish speaking day care facilities. Another group of Cristo Rey students will be traveling to Bogota in November 2017 and subsequently their host Colombian students will travel to the U.S. in 2018.