Thursday, 03 March 2011 13:33
By Christopher M. Riggs
Father Jarrod Lies’ homily a couple of years ago at St. Anthony Church, Wichita, made a huge impression on Odilio Alvarez. So huge that he and his family are now missionaries in the Philippines.
“Father Lies was talking about the promptings of the Holy Spirit and how we should be open to what God is trying to tell us,” he said, adding that when he got home he reflected on it and asked his wife what it would be like to be missionaries, or if it would even be possible.
“I didn’t think it was possible, we had a family and they were our responsibility,” Alvarez said. “But a few days passed and it was still on Stacie’s mind, too.”
So much so that one night she called her husband who was working third shift at Spirit Aerosystems. “I work third shift, so the phone call was very late, around midnight, and I thought something was wrong.”
Everything was fine at home, but Stacie was excited. “Guess what, I just found something!” she told her husband. “It’s called Family Missions Company and they train people, families to be missionaries – and they’ re catholic!”
Odilio asked her where she found out about the ministry and when she replied that she found it on the internet, he said he was immediately skeptical. “I told her that you can’t trust the internet. It might even not be real.”
When they contacted the ministry in November of 2009 a representative told the family that they were having a “Come And See” event in April and invited them to participate at their Abbeville, La., location. The Alvarezes attended and fell in love with the way the whole day was dedicated to prayer.
“They also had workday projects and we were learning how to live in community,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that it was really Catholic. They are family-oriented and it was a great experience.”
The family began a three-month training program in September and left on Monday.
Most of their work in the Philippines will involve evangelization at Holy Rosary Catholic High School in Sagay and at a nearby parish.
The family started out on the right foot when they arrived to the Philippines. They were welcomed by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the archbishop of Manila.
How long will they stay? “I’m not sure how long,” Alvarez said. “It depends on the Holy Spirit.”
Where will the Alvarezes be?
They Alvarezes will work in Sagay on the island-province of Camiguin. It is a pear-shaped volcanic island off the northern tip of Mindanao, the large island in the southern part of the Philippines. Camiguin has seven volcanoes and a total population of 74,232 persons – not counting the Alvarezes.
Want to help?
For more information about the ministry go to www.fmcmissions.com. The Alvarezes are supported by donations. Those who wish to help may do so through the website specifying “Alvarez Family.”