Students from John Paul the Great answer the Pope’s call to go out to the margins of society and foster a culture of encounter. The Diocese of Arlington has a missionary partnership with the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana, which serves 13,000 people in a rural area of the Dominican Republic on the border of Haiti.
The JP group travels to the small village of San Francisco de Bánica primarily to work: laying concrete floors; repairing homes, schools, and church buildings; or helping the priests evangelize to the local community. The impact is undeniable - lives at home and abroad are transformed. The people we serve welcome us into their homes and daily lives. We form personal connections that transcend language and culture and remind us of our common inheritance of faith. The week in Bánica is something that students look forward to eagerly; it is a unique aspect of the John Paul experience that reminds us of what joy there is in sacrifice. We come home filled with gratitude and the resolution not to take our many blessings for granted.