Diocesan Seminarian Takes Part in OCMC Mission Trip to Romania
CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA -- Diocesan Seminarian, Jonathan Bannon arrived safely on Saturday, July 10, 2010 in Romania, where he has been selected to take part in an Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sponsored Mission trip from July 10-21, 2010.
Jonathan and the members of his team are assisting ASCOR (the Student Association of Orthodox Christians in Romania) in offering a Youth Camp outside of Cluj. This Team is offering families the opportunity to participate together, offer religious education and youth ministry in a camp setting. The program will include Bible studies, sports, arts and crafts, and fellowship.
The OCMC Orthodox Mission Team members to Romania is striving to demonstrate to young Romanians that living in an increasingly westernized society does not imply that it is necessary or beneficial to abandon one’s Orthodox roots. A past leader of a Romania mission youth camp team comments, “Being in Romania helped me to begin to see Orthodox Christianity from a global perspective – to understand that the Church benefits greatly when Her members cross jurisdictional and cultural lines to serve one another”. This trip is providing the team members an opportunity to engage the younger generation of Romanian youth with our youth.
While Romania is a traditionally Orthodox country, there are many distractions and challenges that face Romanian youth. The Church in Romania is now faced with the prospect of having to re-evangelize members of a generation whose values differ radically from that of their parents. Although 85% of the population claims to be Christian, the years under communism brought severe persecution, manipulation and governmental control. Legislation of the 1990’s that promised religious freedom has left the Church in transition as it struggles to minister to its people.
The 2010 Romania Orthodox Mission Team is working within the Diocese of Cluj-Napoca and in particular is participating in an Orthodox youth camp, working with teenagers, and English instruction as well as religious education on the Church and the Faith will be the focus. The Team will also visit surrounding communities and historic sites within the Diocese.
Upon his arrival Saturday, Jonathan has begun the process of recovery from jet lag and adapting to his new surroundings. Jonathan has asked that we convey his gratitude to the members of his home parish of St. John's in Bridgeport and his friends throughout the diocese for their prayers for his safe travel. He is looking forward to beginning his duties teaching middle and high school students about the lives of American Saints, such as St. Alexis Toth at the Youth Camp. He looks forward to visiting the holy places of the diocese of Cluj-Napoca and assures us of a remembrance in prayer.
Please continue to keep Jonathan in your prayers and watch www.acrod.org for periodic updates from Jonathan during his stay in Romania.