Serving the Poor and Seeing Christ’s Face

As I sit in the confessional day after day and from that vantage point glimpse the depths of the human condition, I am truly overjoyed and overwhelmed by how Christ deals so personally and so deeply with so many souls. The saga of humanity is only understood in the light of Christ.”

Fr. Michael Mitchell LC is a young priest who has spent his 5 five years since ordination both giving and receiving the merciful love of Christ, as he details in his new book, “I Saw His Face, Powerful Moments of Christ’s Mercy.” Sharing his encounters with the spiritual poverty of the person coming to confession to be healed, the brokenness hidden in people all around us, and the physical poverty of the poor and sick in Haiti, Fr. Michael invites us to know Christ in suffering, and to understand that life anywhere, in any circumstance only makes sense in Him. It is a truth made dramatically evident through his experiences as a missionary priest:

I experienced the beauty of Christ in a deep way at a clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti… After a few brief instructions about to how to dress the wounds properly, each of us was given medical gloves and a kit containing the antibiotic creams, gauzes, and dressings we would need. I led the missionaries in a quick prayer and turned to the line of patients.” “I must admit I almost got sick when I saw my first patient. 

On the sick man’s leg, there was no skin from the shin down—only rotted flesh. As a priest, I am a doctor of souls rather than the body. I wasn’t sure how to help him, but I tried my best. I slowly unwound the bandages, which were stuck to his wounds and caused him pain as they were peeled back. Once the bandages were off, I proceeded to clean out the wound with cotton swabs and the solutions provided by the sisters.

After fifteen minutes spent cleaning the wound, I looked up at the man and gave him a smile—and that was when I saw him. The eyes of the man looking straight at me smiled back at me. I remembered the line from Scripture in which Christ says: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).” 

As difficult as dressing that wound was, I did not want it to end. I slowly applied the ointments and took my time binding the leg in gauze and bandages. As I finished up and took off the gloves, I stretched out my hand toward the man and traced the sign of the cross on his forehead. I looked into his eyes and knowing I was seeing Christ, I simply said, “Merci. Thank you.”

(from “I Saw His Face: Powerful Moments of Christ’s Mercy” by Fr. Michael Mitchell LC)

For Fr. Michael, serving the poorest of the poor, and experiencing the loving gaze of God in their eyes has been an integral part of the missionary work he does with Mission Youth, with hundreds of missionaries, in many mission trips to both Mexico and Haiti every year. He continues to simply say “Thank you” to God, in prayer, in service and through the projects that Mission Youth is taking on to overcome the challenges and suffering of the people they meet on their missions.

Fr. Michael and Mission Youth have taken on a new challenge and they are inviting people around the United States to join him in serving Christ in those living in unimaginable poverty.

He writes,

“This past summer we began building a Catholic school for a small village in Haiti called Boucandrice.  The village is an hour drive east of Port-au-Prince by car and an hour on foot through the forest and fields.

Here it is on the map: https://www.google.ht/maps/@18.5024861,-72.0835246,46m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

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This is a village that is so poor it receives food from Feed My Starving Children, an American food relief program that many of our youth groups have visited in the past to help package meals. Here is a photo of the most recent boxes on their way:

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The local priest is named Fr. Wathner Aupont.   I have been friends with him since 2012 when I met him working together with the Missionaries of Charity.  He has seven villages like Boucandrice and all of them need lots of help.  Here he is with some new pews that we built for one of his churches.  The other young man is named Rosnet, and he is a seminarian a couple of years away from being ordained a priest. 

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Together with Fr Wathner we have decided to put a well in the village.  The price of the well is $7725.  Currently I have raised $1000 for it.  The estimate is below:

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The well is important for our work in the village. Together with the school we are building and the chapel, it will be a much needed aid to the village.  The people currently must walk down the mountain for 15 minutes to a spring.  The hike back up the hill with the water is very difficult.  Hygiene and sanitation is very hard for the people because water is so far away.  But they are living on top of plenty of water in the mountain.  This well will greatly improve the quality of life for them. Gathering water is usually the job given to the youngest in the family.  Here are photos of the kids carrying their water jugs!  With a well they can stop working all day and go to school.

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Below is a photo of the construction of the school.  It is in its last phase.

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This project is one of the most pressing right now for Mission Youth, any help is greatly appreciated.  I can answer any questions about the well at mmitchell@legionaries.org. “

You can also find out more about Mission Youth and the opportunities they offer to serve Christ in the poor at http://www.missionyouthmissions.com/

To make a tax deductible donations for the well project, checks can be made out to Mission Youth and sent to

8601 W 89th St

Hickory hills IL 60457

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Fr. Michael’s book is available from Ministry 23 publishers and in kindle and paperback on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Saw-Face-Father-Michael-Mitchell/dp/0996581200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624614&sr=8-1&keywords=i+saw+his+face