It's the Mission that Brings Me Back

Newsletter issue: 
June 2015
News item date: 
Friday, June 19, 2015

By Dr. Randall Woodard 

THP President Deacon Moynihan, Lead Volunteer Kristin Soukup and repeat visitor Dr. Randall Woodard discuss sacramental Marriage and its value to society.

      After a quick five-day trip back to Haiti, I have to admit that I am tremendously inspired – and that’s not typical for me.

I am blessed to teach theology at Saint Leo University and direct our Master and undergraduate programs. The reason I was happily surprised to find myself so inspired is because I work daily in a very graced environment. Of our 15 religion majors or minors, about eight are currently doing missionary work and one is entering the seminary this fall. Besides its devotion to mission, our MA program teaches deacon candidates in five dioceses. Not much can compare to the blessing of teaching men in formation to be deacons alongside their wives. Their devotion to our Church and to those in need is one of the most inspiring witnesses I have experienced.

That is, until I returned to LCS. It was my third trip to Haiti to stay with my friends at The Haitian Project. I have known Deacon Moynihan for over 15 years and have been in awe of his faith and work. I came to Haiti this time to offer workshops for the volunteer teachers and classes for the students on the Church’s vision of marriage and the family.

The purpose of the lessons was to connect current research on marriage and family to the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on marriage, sexuality, children and the role of the Christian family in the modern world. The focus of my talks was on how love as a decision, not merely a feeling, is the basis of marriage, family and society.

The reason I am now leaving Haiti with a sense of inspiration is I suspect my lessons may have been preached to volunteers and students whose lives already demonstrate everything I had hoped to teach them.

I met students whose devotion to their studies and to the betterment of Haiti is exemplary, and teachers whose dedication to their students is unmatched. Finally, spending time with Deacon Moynihan and the US volunteers who are spending a year (at least) in Haiti left me in awe of the love, sacrifice, duty, honor, service, gift and sacrifice young people in our Church are making to God, our Church and Haiti. Thank you Haitian Project family for inspiring me with your example and calling me into a stronger agape love in my own  world.