BU students join Brotherhood of Hope on mission trip

Denise Fliore and Andrew Butler take a break from working on a construction project in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to visit with local children. The students were on a mission trip organized by the Brotherhood of Hope, a religious order that performs campus ministry at Boston University and New Jersey’s Rutgers University. Pilot photo/courtesy Brotherhood of Hope

BOSTON — In the beginning of June — while other students were beginning summer classes, working or enjoying the break — six students at Boston University gave two weeks of their time to serve others on a mission trip to Tanzania, Africa. They fed the poor, helped build homes and ministered to orphans who are HIV positive.

This was the 8th annual service trip to Tanzania organized by the Brotherhood of Hope, a community of Catholic brothers who run campus ministry at BU as well as other secular colleges. A friend of Brother Ken Apuzzo, BH became Catholic in 1998 and the following year, in thanksgiving for his newfound faith, began sponsoring a mission trip to Tanzania.

Many of the students say that the trip enriched their faith lives as much as it helped those they served.

“The whole trip is really significant to me in how it challenged my faith. It was definitely not something I could have gotten through if I didn’t trust in God and wake up every morning and pray,” said Samantha Smith, who is studying broadcast journalism and will be a junior in the fall.

Smith said that the trip has given her a different perspective on her life in the United States. People in Tanzania are very friendly and frequently greet strangers, something she finds uncommon in Boston. On the other hand, Tanzania has no trash collection service, she said.

“I know I don’t wake up every Tuesday morning and thank God that I have a garbage man who comes to pick up my trash,” she said.

Smith said she has learned that there are many things in her daily life, like getting a cavity filled, that she would never have considered a privilege before this trip.

Members of the Brotherhood of Hope always bring students they minister to on the Tanzania trip. BU students joined them for the first time in 2002, and this year there were six students from BU and six from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Each day of the trip began with a 6 a.m. wake-up to attend Mass at 7 a.m. Throughout the two weeks the group ministered to orphans, the elderly and the disabled at a home run by the Missionaries of Charity. They served at St. Gaspare School, run by Italian missionary priests who are members of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood. They also visited the Village of Hope, where over 100 HIV-positive children live in homes run by the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood.

With the help of others, Father Vincent Boselli, an Italian priest and member of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood, started the Village of Hope as a home for the dying, but found that with treatment and a family setting the children were surviving longer than expected. They live in groups of 10 children per home with foster parents, adults who usually volunteer after raising their own families, Brother Patrick said.

Mike Zales, a student in the pre-med program at BU, said the Village of Hope was the highlight of his trip to Africa. He was glad to show the children that there are many people who love and care about them by teaching them music, playing soccer with them and participating in arts and crafts, he said.

“It was hard for us to take in seeing all these kids so happy and so full of life yet you knew that half of them couldn’t even make it to their 18th birthday,” he said.

The kids were so happy in the community’s loving environment that it was easy to forget how sick they were until a child fell down while playing soccer, said Zales. All of the other children surrounded him to make sure that he was not bleeding before letting the visiting students come close.

“For awhile you think that these kids don’t know how sick they are,” he said. “They know they’re sick, but they are still able to carry on their lives.”

Zales also fed a girl with a severe bone disease that caused her arms and legs to bow. Zales said the experience was difficult, but “unbelievably moving” because he could feel God giving him the strength to serve.

Zales added that he was impressed by the witness of the Catholics of Tanzania.

“You realize for some of these people who don’t have material wealth, all they have is their faith and all they have is their spiritual side,” he said. “There’s confidence with these peoples that you don’t see with CEOs throughout America, and it’s all tied into where their hearts are.”

Brother Patrick Reilly, BH said that he wants students to encounter Christ and gain a better understanding of the Catholic Church while serving others in Tanzania. This will hopefully lead them to serve God with more zeal at home, he added.

“The Church in Tanzania and east sub-Sahara Africa is so alive. We want to give students a very positive, vibrant picture of the Church,” he said. “They have a deep encounter with Christ. It’s amazing when you’re 5,000 miles away and out of the western culture box, God seems to be able to do something pretty powerful.” Lara Wild, who will be a sophomore at BU next year, said that she is not fully aware of the ways the trip has affected her.

“When I describe the trip to people, my friends and family, they’re really grateful that I had the opportunity and they say that when I talk about it I have such different energy and perspective,” she said.

Wild added that she found the trip both enjoyable and rewarding.

“I would recommend to everyone to apply for this trip.” she said. “It really was the most incredible two weeks of my life!”


Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old Romanian as 'martyr to chastity'

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A 22-year-old Romanian peasant has taken a step closer to sainthood as a "martyr to chastity," six decades after she was murdered ...

Maryland attorney general will review church records on child sex abuse

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a Sept. 24 letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the ...

People helping people is what attracted actor to 'God Friended Me'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Television audiences may recall seeing actor Joe Morton as Eli Rowan Pope, the father of professional Washington fixer Olivia Pope, ...

Pa. bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The bishops of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors ...

CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists&rsquo; claim to ...

Update: Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...