Story by Reagan Scott
(SNR) — Last week, missionaries and staff from Christ in the City in Denver visited Nebraska to share their mission of knowing, loving and serving the poor.
They visited St. Patrick Middle/High School in North Platte and the UNK Newman Center, both in the Catholic Diocese of Grand Island, as well as St. Gregory the Great Seminary and the UNL Newman Center in the Lincoln Diocese.
Christ in the City is a young adult formation program dedicated to serving the homeless in Denver. Currently, 27 missionaries are living out a year of service to the poorest of the poor in the city.
The missionaries made the trip to Nebraska in part because so many missionaries have come from the state. Christ in the City has also had a relationship with Lincoln’s Bishop James Conley, due to his former appointment as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Denver.
Blake Brouillette, the director of outreach and recruitment for Christ in the City, said that 15 to 20 percent of the group’s missionaries come from Nebraska, and that most of the visitors and volunteers who go to Denver are from Nebraska and Nebraska schools. Brouillette is also from the Diocese of Lincoln, having attended St. Cecilia High School in Hastings.
This year, there are five full-year missionaries from Nebraska, and there has been a missionary from Pius X High School in Lincoln every year for the past five years. There have also been mission trips to Denver from Pius X, St. Joseph Elementary School in Lincoln, Aquinas High School in David City and the UNL Newman Center.
During their visit, the missionaries talked about the volunteer opportunities in the organization, their community life and the unique way that they serve meals to and interact with the homeless.
Every Wednesday and second Saturday of the month, Christ in the City hosts a lunch for the homeless in Lincoln Park in Denver. During these meals, the missionaries serve food to more than 300 individuals and 75 volunteers. After the meal is served, volunteers are encouraged to sit down with the men and women they serve, and have authentic conversations with them.
On Friday afternoon Sept. 28, Christ in the City missionaries took UNL students on street walks to encounter the homeless in Lincoln.
While Christ in the City is based in Denver, every student who volunteers with the organization is trained to go on street walks and encounter the homeless in their own cities. This training allows the organization to impact cities across the country, through the students who spend time serving with them.
Christ in the City has different options for volunteers including week-long mission trips, a summer of service program lasting one to two months and a year-long mission.
Brouillette got his start with Christ in the City after going on a mission trip during his sophomore year and was inspired to go back every school year following. After graduation, he spent two years as a missionary, and is now working a second year as a staff member.
“[Christ in the City] has changed every single encounter and relationship I’ve had,” Brouillette said. “I’ve been able to see so clearly the impact we can have on others, and the identity that all of us have in the Father.”