St. John Vianney & Cristo Rey Volunteer Mission Trips

Pathways has organized volunteer trips to the facilities it supports by providing funding, staff and scheduled programming. The groups participating have included high school students, alumni from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and many individual volunteers. Below is a description of 2018 scheduled trips.

St. John Vianney Seminarian trips to Kolkata  —

Pathways organizes and helps in the funding of seminarian mission trips to Kolkata. 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. They also volunteer at the Jan Seva School and meet with local (Indian) seminarians to exchange experience and expected vocational advancement. 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 student volunteers to the Colegio Anexo San Francisco de Asis (CASFA) a school in Bogota, Colombia.  The Sisters founded CASFA in 1985 a school that provides education to 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.  CASFA is a perfect match for the Minneapolis Cristo Rey High School that has a similar program.  Both schools provide students with real-life, resume building, experiences, making them desirable to employers and as well as transforms their lives. This collaboration not only marks the first international partnership for Cristo Rey School, but also gives students life changing experiences often not available to them. While on this trip, the students immerse themselves in the local culture of Bogota through one-on-one student partnerships with a Colombian CASFA student.  The Cristo Rey students “shadow” their partners, even attending internships and technical training with the native students, exposing both sets of students to completely different ways of living.

Pathways continues this exchange by bringing the CASFA students to Minnesota to reconnect with their recently formed friends from Cristo Rey high school.  This double exchange student program creates, what are sure to be, life-long friendships. During their Minnesota 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.

Note:  The butterfly mural picture below was created by CASFA & Cristo Rey students, each half representing symbols from their country.  Currently each half resides in its “home country.  The U.S. half will be traveling to Bogota in November with Cristo Rey students.