Our founding document reminds us that: “We are to have an ardent zeal for the poor, for those desolate in all things spiritual and for victims of injustice.” In keeping with the Church’s social teaching, we labor to preach the Gospel, to correct injustices, and to care for immigrants and minorities as we serve the economically poor and abandoned in both rural and urban areas. Our zealous missionaries are committed to welcoming immigrants and lending a helping hand as they adapt to life in their new country as well as those with nowhere else to turn as they suffer from addiction.
For most of the thousands of immigrants they serve, our Missionary Servants are a lifeline. The migrant ministry team helps organize Spanish-language Masses and religious education programs at different parishes. They serve as advocates, helping them get medical care or legal help when needed. They might help a family find affordable housing or put a father in touch with a local food bank for help with groceries for his family, or just “be there” to listen to a homesick young man as he talks about the family and friends he left behind.
Keaton Douglas of iThirst, offering Recovery workshop to those suffering from addiction
In 1964, Fr. Fred Lawrence, ST, founded the Serenity Retreat League at the Trinity House in Stirling, NJ, as a way of offering spiritual support and encouragement to the families of alcoholics. Recently, it was the site of the Regional Recovery Initiative headed by Brother Joe Dudek, S.T. Today, the Missionary Servants under the leadership of Keaton Douglas seek to continue the tradition of aiding the families of the addicted as well as the individuals themselves through the iTHIRST Initiative.
This warm and inviting place is where recovering addicts can come and feel safe, find a listening ear, an understanding heart, and nourish their tired spirits. The beauty of the program is that it is simple. It is people helping people – people like Brother Joe and Keaton Douglas who understand addiction and giving themselves wholeheartedly to offer spiritual support to addicts who are struggling with recovery.
The iTHIRST initiative empowers dioceses, parishes, and communities to become a resource for those suffering from addictions and their families. At the heart of iTHIRST is an understanding that there is a spiritual dimension to the disease of addiction that cannot be met by clinical professionals, but only by the spiritual consolation and guidance that the Church can provide.