The Florida Catholic

What happened to my faith?

It’s Sunday morning. My mom wakes me up at 10:30 for 11 o’clock Mass. I grudgingly get up (because honestly 10:30 is way too early to wake up on the weekends) and go. This is what my Sunday mornings consisted of as far back as I can remember.

I went to a Catholic high school. I was involved with campus ministry. I attended holy days of obligation with my family. I was a part of two youth groups, and a leader in one of them. I was a picture-perfect Catholic.

Once I got to college, that all fell through.

I attempted to go to Mass weekly. I attempted to get involved with the Catholic group at my university. Neither one lasted very long.

I can’t tell you what caused it. Honestly, I don’t really know. I just know that it happened.

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Young adults come together to light up the night

MIAMI SHORES | On its first anniversary, Illuminare La Notte gave birth: to a “neighborhood” edition of itself.

Marta Vargas, archdiocesan coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, organized the first Illuminare La Notte gathering last June. She entrusted the anniversary celebration June 24 to iPray, St. Martha Church’s young adult group.

“What we want is to make other young adults aware that St. Martha has a young adult group, that we’re active in our church and that everyone in the community is welcome to come to St. Martha, not only young adults, but everyone else,” said Malu Benitez, one of the leaders of iPray.

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Mourning the dead while ‘taking care of the living’

DORAL | Hundreds gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church June 18 for the annual Catholic Hospice Memorial Mass to honor and mourn loved ones who have died this past year.

“The Mass is a way for families to say goodbye, at least in this world, and then to have comfort that they’re not alone,” said Bonnie Alkema, executive director of Catholic Hospice.

Every year, Catholic Hospice helps thousands of people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. This year, they helped 2,838 patients and families in Miami-Dade alone. The Memorial Mass for those served in Broward County will take place in September.

“For hospice, honestly, it’s about taking care of the living because we know the Lord takes care of those that are already gone,” Alkema said. “So the families that are here need that reassurance, and that’s really important; that’s one of the reasons we’re here to do what we do.”

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DORAL | With candles standing in for prayers, members of Amor en Acción bid farewell to four local missionaries who will be spending 12 days in Haiti this month.

Andrés Novela, campus minister at Msgr. Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens, will serve as leader for the four-person group which includes another Pace alumnus — Elizabeth Ortega — and two members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Doral, Pamela Londono and Alina Tormo. Novela is also a parishioner there.

The send-off Mass is an annual event for Amor en Acción, the official missionary organization of the Archdiocese of Miami.

The missionaries set off for Haiti June 15 and will return June 26. All but Novela will be going on mission for the first time.

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Summer camp in Haiti: ‘Amazing … humbling’ experience

MIAMI | Living up to their group’s name — Amor en Acción/Love in Action — a group of young adult missionaries from Miami made their way to Haiti in mid-June for a 12-day mission trip in Môle St. Nicolas.

A little town in the northwestern part of Haiti, Môle St. Nicolas is in the Diocese of Port-de-Paix, the poorest in Haiti and also the sister diocese of the Archdiocese of Miami. The objective of the trip was to run a summer camp for the children in the area.

The five young adult missionaries — Brittani Garcia, Christy Piña, Jonas Erthal, Joaquin Pannunzio, and Paulina Rios — were accompanied by two mission leaders, Raquel Lauture and Andres Novela, Msgr. Edward Pace High School’s campus minister.

The group spent their days in Môle St. Nicolas teaching almost 200 kids different lessons from the Bible, feeding them, and playing outdoor games with them. Each missionary was assigned one classroom and had at least one young adult leader from the town assisting them.

Amor en Acción is an archdiocesan lay missionary group that has been serving in Miami’s sister diocese for more than 30 years.

“This year’s summer mission to Haiti was moving, eye-opening, and a manifestation of the universal language of love,” said Rio, citing the missionary group’s name.

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