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2007 CODALC Meeting, Lima

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Chimbote, Peru
Apostles Today: Dominican Connection

Joyce Ann Hertzig, OP

Joyce Ann Hertzig, OP (Grand Rapids) describes a new form of lay ministry developed by the Grand Rapids sisters serving in Chimbote, Peru . Joyce Ann, a member of the Grand Rapids General Council, visited there and brought back several stories about the people she met and the ministry of Dominicans in the mountains.   

Light Ceremony
RIGHT: Joyce Ann Hertzig and Margaret Mary Birchmeier, OP, RN lead Light Ceremony for new Apostles

New Apostles pray together

CHIMBOTE, PERU -- On February 6, 2007, the people who serve at Centro de Obras Sociales, (COS) the Maternidad de Maria, the laboratory clinic and the Posta Medica gathered and celebrated the reception of eleven new Apostles, a group which now has 29 members.

The Apostles, empowered by the love of Christ, share and exemplify the five core values of the Center. Members of this group meet monthly to study Dominican Spirituality, pray together and share insights about their service at the Center. Leadership of the group is rotated among themselves for these sessions. Besides providing leadership in their own departments, they make suggestions on how they might better serve the medical needs of the poor or carry Christ to the community in their daily lives.

This new group of eleven was invited to become Apostles because they are leaders in their respective departments and they are dedicated to study, prayer and community building to make the Center a place of love and hope.

All the members of the Cetner staff are guided by particular values and actions. They include:

To serve the many poor people that come to the Center or with whom staff visit in the slum villages
To respect life of all from conception to natural death
To attend to the medical needs of all persons with professionalism and Christian concern
To emphasize study and continued education to keep updated with medical advances and new methods
To respect and care for all facilities, grounds and equipment utilized at the Center.

In the present group of Apostles, eleven have been members for over five years.
They continue the Dominican Charism of prayer, study, and service in their work at the Center in Chimbote. These women and men, single and married, are partners in ministry through their present job relationship to the Center. Often their dedication goes beyond the call of duty.

At the Reception Ceremony, Margaret Mary Birchmeier, OP, RN (Grand Rapids) a certified midwife, and the Director of the maternity hospital, asked each person if they were willing to continue with their study and commitment to the core values of the Center. As they said yes, I offered them a candle from the light of Christ, “Receive the light of Christ and continue in this work.” It was an exciting moment.  Fr. Jules Roos, the administrator, blessed each new Apostle with a prayer for strength, courage and perseverance in this good work.

Together they prayed:

May God always be our light,
Be our guide and our protection
so that we may serve with Christ’s love and joy of the Spirit
so that we all may create in an atmosphere of hope.

On the day I was leaving Peru, Lupe, one of the new members, asked me to keep everyone at the Center in prayer so they may be luminaries of God’s love; that the Center be a beam of God’s hope. Apostles in Chimbote, Peru, are a wonderful sign of the strength that comes from collaboration and the Grand Rapids Dominicans are building a hopeful future in Chimbote with the relationships they are creating with the Apostles.

Joyce Ann Hertzig, OP (Grand Rapids)


Maternity Clinic

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