Father Barth, what is the specificity of charism to which you are called as Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity? What are your areas of missionary activity?
Our founder called us to preserve the faith among the poor and abandoned and to make every Catholic an apostle.
Let’s go to the origins: what is the link between your founder and Saint Vincent de Paul?
Our founder is Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge, CM. He was born in 1868 and died in 1933. He was from Boston MA and is buried in Philadelphia, Pa. So, he was a Vincentian.
Last January you participated in the meeting held in Rome: after almost a year what are your considerations on that meeting? What are the challenges of charity?
I loved my time in Rome and with the Vincentian Family leadership. I felt more connected to the family than ever before and left inspired to connect more intentionally with the family. I was impressed by the global reach, the creativity, the involvement of the laity and the creativity in mission. The challenges of charity this past year, during Covid 19, have been enormous. Preserving the faith in this time of no contact and in many places no common worship has been a call to creativity and new forms of outreach. So many are suffering from the loss of job, home and their ability to access basic needs such as food and medicine. Again, the challenge has been to collaborate more than ever in order to respond.
Trinity Missions has 37 missions serving the parishes of inner-city neighborhoods and isolated rural areas in seven different countries in America and South-America. What has been the impact of Covid on these missions? How have you faced and how are facing this health emergency?
All of our missions in all countries have been deeply impacted. In the US there is some safety net to assist but in many other countries there is little if any. Our missionaries have had to be creative and we here in the US have tried to reach out to share and assist them in many ways. All missions had in person church services suspended, many people lost employment and hunger was a big issue. On top of this is the ongoing migration issue, not only in the US but in many other countries. Medical care is very limited in many less developed areas.
Could you leave us a sentence that encompasses the meaning of your service as Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity?
Our founder, Thomas Judge, called us to go to the “tangled portion of the vineyard” – to places where other do not want to go or where it is difficult to serve. We go to these places, bringing the love of God, the sacraments and concrete hands of hope and empowerment.