Dear friends and family,
Looking back at this past year, we are overjoyed to have sent groups abroad again while also maintaining our new programs in the US. We want to share the graces of the last year and a look ahead as we invite you to support Beatitudes Missions’ projects in the coming year. Our goal for our 2021 Advent Appeal is to support the Beatitudes House in Lebanon, which is suffering with the rest of the country from an economic crisis.
Renewing and Expanding in 2021
- 15 immersions/internships for 3+ months in Israel and Lebanon
- 14 backpackers in Denver in August
- 6 pilgrims in Lebanon in July
- 17 pilgrims in Israel in October
After a difficult 2020, we returned abroad in January 2021! We sent 9 Americans on our first trip to Lebanon. After their grace-filled 3-month immersion, we sent a second group to Lebanon for a 3-week trip in July. As France opened to visitors over the summer, we took 8 Americans for a young adult conference, pilgrimage, and visits at Beatitudes Houses across the country alongside Sr. Agnes and Fr. Anthony.
In the midst of resuming our missions abroad, we continued the new programs we created in the US when COVID prevented international travel. Our Assumption Retreat in the Rockies and our backpacking trip both grew in numbers this year.
Israel opened to official groups in September and, for the first time in a year and a half, we were back on the ground at Emmaus on October 2, 2021. After a few days of preparation by the Immersion Team, we welcomed an additional 17 students from Franciscan University’s study abroad program for a 10-day pilgrimage. We are so grateful to begin our usual Israel activities again. Welcoming groups also provides financial support for the house at Emmaus, which relies on tourism for income at the Holy Site. The community at Emmaus continues to struggle given the difficulties for tourists to obtain visas, but we hope that the slowly-opening borders will help Emmaus to regain financial stability.
The trips to Lebanon were such a surprising grace – pilgrims felt so blessed by the beauty of the country, prayer life, friendships with the Community of the Beatitudes, and the Lebanese young adult group. We hope to continue our fruitful partnership with Our Lady Queen of Peace Monastery sending pilgrims and financially compensating the house.
Lebanon is experiencing economic and political failures. A combination of economic policies, COVID shutdowns, and the explosion in the Beirut port in 2020 have caused the currency to lose over 90% of its value leaving the country struggling to get basic needs covered. Gas is scarce and most of the country lacks electricity.
"When I went to Lebanon in January, the country was already struggling: unemployment was at 40% and I was hearing stories of items disappearing from groceries, and prices skyrocketing. When I returned in July, I couldn’t believe it, everywhere, lines of over 30 cars waiting for gas even when I watched gas prices double practically overnight. I hear it has quadrupled from the last price I saw. I also heard a story about someone’s friend who was having twins going to multiple hospitals looking for one that still had both anesthesia and incubators. I know it’s only gotten worse since then with everything I read about people stealing gas, trying to spread out prescription meds they can’t replenish, and other things… But what a gift to see such a beautiful country filled with joyful people. I had to agree when I was at a prayer and praise night and one of the Lebanese young adults said, 'The Lebanese are amazing, see, we are having the worst economic collapse in the world right now but we still have fun!'” - Michaela Reyes
To continue to send young Americans to be transformed by the grace of Lebanon and to support the Community house that welcomes us, we are inviting you to partner with us.
Our goal is to raise $30,000 by December 10th, half of which will be used for all our projects of forming Catholic young adults and half directly for our pilgrimage programs which support the house in Lebanon
Become a monthly donor! If you are already a monthly donor, please consider a one-time gift.
Your contributions will directly support missionaries who have given their time to the Lord and the houses that make it possible. Help us support the house in Lebanon that does so much for our pilgrims but also helps with parishes, youth groups, and continued disaster relief work.
Help us form young adults towards their life-long mission.
In His grip,
The Beatitudes Missions Team