Over the February break, eleven seniors and four staff members went to Puerto Rico on our first mission trip of the year. The week began with a half a day at El Yunque, the rainforest in Puerto Rico followed by an afternoon at Loquillo Beach. Our group spent four days cleaning and painting the exterior of the homes of Wanda, Nelson, and Ivette. On Ash Wednesday, they paused to celebrate Mass in the local town and went to San Juan. They then visited another home of the Salesians of Cantera. The group was given a tour of the Salesian parish and school, followed by lunch with the students. After lunch they enjoyed an animated game of basketball between the two schools in front of their student body. That evening they visited The Cathedral of San Juan and el Morro. Each day included Mass, some down time, along with morning and evening prayer with moments of reflection.
Other things to note from the trip are the people they met. Iris and Gilberto organized the different home repair projects and generously opened their home to the group for lunch each day. Nelson, one of the home owners, took time to share his story and experiences as well as cook bacalaito for the group. Puerto Rico is an island we normally think of as a vacation spot has been transformed into the island that many of our new friends call home. This mission trip has surely changed the lives of the Ironmen who participated, and we have no doubt that they have left their mark on the hearts of all those that they met and served. Huge thanks to our chaperones, Br. Travis Gunther, SDB, our Coordinator of Youth Ministry, Mrs. Terry Brooks, our school nurse, Ms. Liz Hampson, Math teacher at DBP and Nicholas Jandernoa, Salesian pre-novice. We thank God for a successful mission trip and a safe return home!