Greetings from Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras. As I look forward to the Gehlen / Heelan / Kingsley team entering Honduras this coming Friday morning, I must take a moment and speak about a very special group of young people and adults from St. Thomas More, Rapid City, S.D.
It is Monday afternoon and you have just returned from your last day of work in Vallecillo. I imagine that emotions were running high and you had a very hard time leaving the children and people of the village. In your own thoughts you can probably sense the change that is taking place in all of you, even though you might not be able to explain it to anyone. As you look forward to coming home and seeing family and friends, you know there is a part of you still in Honduras, and maybe a part of you forever. A part of you in the dust, pipes, trenches, rocks, and mountains of Vallecillo. But just as important, a part of you in the lives of so many you have touched, those who have very little to nothing and the bond you have forged in the heat of Honduras with such a beautiful people. We at Gehlen know all these thoughts very well and encourage you to give yourself time to process everything once you are home. I doubt if you will ever look at water the same, clean clothes the same, smooth roads the same, a ten minute shower the same, food the same, and even technology the same. I suspect a lot of you will experience a simplification in your life, sort of a re-focus on those things in life that are really important; family, friends, school, faith, and love. You have been given a great gift by your school leaders who took the risk for others. I want to thank Mary Casey and Katie Falkowski for the wonderful leadership of this team. I want to thank Frank, Sister Joan, Linda Reichle, Carolyn Bickford, Julio Rivera, Angel Paz, Carlos, and Tacha. I want to thank each one of you mission students and chaperones for all you did for the people of Vallecillo. Thank you for the time, the effort, the planning, and the faith to go look, hold, smell and live with poverty. I say the same to St. Thomas More today as I said to Springfield Catholic 10 days ago: The world is a little better today because of St. Thomas More High School and the work you did. I wish each and everyone of you the best in the future. Please stay in touch in the years to come. Take Care St. Thomas More, Richard E. Seivert, Director.
P.S. check this blog for updates about their return home. I will try to post everything I know and hear from Frank, Mary, or Katie.