Often, Missionary Servant priests and Brothers are invited to participate in mission trips outside of their own mission assignments. Usually, it is in direct relationship with the relief efforts or special interests of the people for whom they serve. Recently, Father Aro Varnabas, S.T., participated in a medical mission trip to the Philippines.
He was invited by Marian Rose World Mission who Father Aro came to know through the Filipino Community at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling, NJ, where he is missioned. His role during this trip was as Spiritual Director to the team and to the sick and their families ministered to during the trip.
Father Aro and the medical volunteers traveled to the Iloilo province on January 20, 2018. For one week, the group provided medical care to the sick, children and adults, especially the poor who cannot afford medical treatment. In addition, they helped victims of abuse and rape.
Volunteer medical teams have been aiding the people of Iloilo for six years through the Marian Rose World Mission. This year marked the first time a spiritual component was added to the aid provided.
Father Aro saw his opportunity to participate in these good works as a true blessing from God. “I was delighted and extremely grateful to be asked to participate in this worthwhile and life-changing experience. Being able to lend spiritual support to the team and the many people I met was more than I could ask for. These doctors and nurses executed 41 surgeries, treated women with complicated pregnancies, breast cancer and other serious illnesses. Dentists performed oral surgeries and teeth cleanings. All the while, I prayed and ministered to the spiritual needs of the people.”
Father Aro has returned to his work at the Shrine with a renewed sense of purpose thanks to his recent experiences in the Philippines. And, the people of the Iloilo province find themselves on the mend both physically and spiritually thanks to Father Aro and Marian Rose World Mission team of medical volunteers.