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