Some 30 young missionaries aim to serve ‘Christ in the City’
By Nissa LaPoint
Photo by Nissa LaPoint/DCR
Christ in the City missionary Madeline Sellers desires to serve and love others completely. Her own experience of Christ’s love so transformed her, she said, that it led her to join the homeless ministry program and move into its newly-inaugurated headquarters at Seton House in downtown Denver.
“I don’t think I have any choice but to share Christ’s love with others,” said the 21-year-old North Carolina native.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila blessed and reopened Seton House to the new missionaries Aug. 15. Local government leaders, Christ in the City staff and leading Catholics in the community gathered for the inauguration at 1840 Grant St.
“Let us ask the Lord to bless these buildings, to cast out from them any evil that may be present and that they may truly become a place for Christ in the city,” he said.
The program founded under the leadership of former Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and Catholic Charities’ president and CEO Jonathan Reyes is now run by the Christian Life Movement, a Catholic lay ecclesial group.
Its nearly 30 missionaries and staff moved into the old convent last month. The facility was formerly used by Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity to care for AIDS patients and the homeless.
“Christ in the City will continue to serve the poor and vulnerable by housing missionaries who go out to the streets and minister to them,” said program director Yvonne Noggle.
Many of the college-aged men and women will spend time working at area ministries and contacting the poor to enhance their God-given dignity.
Fort Collins native Brianna Mundhenke, 22, said she can’t wait to share Christ’s love with the most vulnerable of Denver, who they work with on a daily basis.
“I always end up stopping and having a conversation with someone,” she said about ministering downtown.
Nebraska-native Rachel Bieker will spend her weeks assisting The Gabriel Project, a ministry for pregnant women and moms, and the Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver.
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“I’ve always wanted to do some sort of service work,” she said.
She will join all the missionaries in holding a monthly lunch for the homeless at Denver’s City Park.
Some missionaries said they put their plans on hold to join Christ in the City.
“This is what the Lord has called me to do,” said 18-year-old Olivia Bratton, who committed to six months of service before attending the University of Notre Dame.
Many said the ministry’s offering of spiritual formation and educational training drew them.
“It’s been great, even the one week here,” Bratton said about living at Seton House.
The building will fit the missionaries’ needs by offering a setting to pray the Divine Office, foster community and attend Mass at nearby parishes, Noggle said.
“It is a dream come true,” she said.