How can Love Begins Here happen in the midst of Covid-19?
Of course, the safety of our missionaries and those we serve is a high priority for Love Begins Here. One of the benefits of LBH is that it is intentionally local, meaning that our missionaries all live within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and serve exclusively inside the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. While we are hopeful that LBH will be able to run "as normal" with overnight trips and no social distancing, we also acknowledge that may not be possible or prudent.
In Summer 2020, Love Begins Here Madison was able to run with no Covid-related consequences for participants or those being served. In Madison, the model turned to a parish-based model, with each parish's teens serving together in their own community each day and evening programming over Zoom. While not ideal, dozens of parishes and teens were still able to pray, serve, and be in community with each other.
Based on the success in Madison, we are confident that we will be able to successfully run Love Begins Here safely in Summer 2021.
If you have specific questions about our 2021 plans, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Why is it called Love Begins Here?
In her 1979 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) said,
And so here I am talking with you – I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people. And find out about your next-door neighbour – do you know who they are?
Love Begins Here focuses on the needs right here in our own Archdiocese. While it is great to travel across the country and world to serve those in need, God has willed for us to be in this time and this place for a reason - to be His hands and feet to those directly around us. LBH seeks to facilitate an encounter between our youth and those in need in our own homes, parishes, and neighborhoods.
Who can attend Love Begins Here?
Middle School weeks are open to teens who have completed 6th, 7th, or 8th grade the previous school year.
High School weeks are open to teens who have completed 9th-12th grade the previous school year.
Lead Missionaries (adults) must be at least 21 years old, or 23 if driving.
What happens on a day of LBH?
Lots! High School weeks span 6 days, while Middle School weeks span 4 days. The first and last days look a little different - parish groups arrive around 4:30pm on the first day and leave around noon on the last day. The full days in between typically look like this (times are approximate and fluxuate based on many factors):
- Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, make lunches
- Mass (depends on parish Mass schedule)
- 9:00am - Head to work sites with your car group
- 3:30pm - Wrap up at work site, grab ice cream (maybe), swim and shower
- 5:00pm - Rosary and dinner back at home base
- 6:30pm - Evening fun and community time
- 8:30pm - Large group sharing, talk, and prayer
- 9:30pm - Parish Time (time to debrief the day with your parish group)
- 10:00pm - Bedtime
What are the Pillars of Love Begins Here?
Love Begins Here operates around three main pillars, similar to the Missionaries of Charity (the order founded by Mother Teresa):
- Prayer - Missionaries attend daily Mass, pray the Rosary daily, have time for daily personal prayer, and weekly Confession and Adoration
- Service - We serve anyone in need: the local parish, individuals, and community organizations
- Community - Each day has time for fun and sharing with the LBH community and individual parish groups
What is the LBH Mission Manifesto?
The Mission Manifesto is our rallying cry. It is taught to all missionaries each week, and helps frame WHY we do what we do:
We boldly take initiative to bring love to our neighbors, evangelizing with patience and joy. We are aware that when we close our eyes to our neighbor, it also blinds us to God. We encounter Him in those we serve. By putting God first in all we do, we live to serve others. Things of the world come last. We will find ourselves and come alive when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to our neighbors.
SMALL THINGS. GREAT LOVE.
We work on a small scale with a larger perspective. No task is too small in the eyes of the Lord when filled with great love. We will aim for perfection in our work because our work belongs to the Lord.
We are missionaries who work with passion, knowing we can bring God’s love to our brothers and sisters who hunger. Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self. We refuse to settle for comfort and complacency, because we know each person is infinitely loved. We are the ones who enjoy life most, leaving security on the shore, on a mission to spread the joy of the Gospel.
How much does a week of Love Begins Here cost?
A week of Love Begins Here costs $120 for Middle School and $150 for High School. To continue making LBH accessible for all young people, we ask parishes not to add costs to attend. Instead, we courage parishes to fundraise or budget for things like car rentals, etc.
Lead Missionaries (adults) are free! They should be ready to use a tank of gas or so, as well as treat their car group to ice cream once or twice during the week. Many parishes choose to reimburse their lead missionaries for these expenses.
How do I sign up for LBH? (Parish Leaders)
Do you want to bring teens from your parish to Love Begins Here this summer? Awesome! Follow these steps:
- Check out the dates and locations for LBH this coming summer, and decide which week(s) you plan to bring teens.
- Fill out the Parish Registration Form with your weeks and the number of teens & adults you intend to bring. For Summer 2021, parish registration opens on October 15, 2020; priority registration closes November 20, 2020. After this date, parish spots will be given out as space allows for each week.
- PROMOTE your Love Begins Here dates to your teens and families, answer questions, and get them ready to register.
- Have your teens and adults register using the LBH Individual Registration Form. Families will pay directly through our registration page ($120 for Middle School; $150 for High School). There is no cost for Lead Missionaries (adults). For Summer 2021, individual registration opens on January 12, 2021, and closes on March 31, 2021.
- Love Begins Here will update parishes regularly with an enrollment list and how many spots remain for their parish.
- Have your teens and adults print and fill out the appropriate forms and return to you.
If you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us!
How do I sign up for LBH? (Individuals)
Individual Registration for Love Begins Here will be open from January 12-March 31, 2021.
First, talk to your parish group leader (typically, your Youth Leader/Youth Minister) to see which week(s) your parish is bringing a group.
Next, complete our online registration. During registration, you will be able to sign up with your parish on the week(s) they are coming. You will pay for your week of LBH when you register. After you register online, you will be able to download and complete Registration Forms, which you will return to your parish.
*If your parish is not bringing a group to Love Begins Here, we have a limited number of "ArchMil" group spots. These spaces are filled on a first come, first served basis.
Can I still sign up if my parish is not sending a group?
Yes! We have a limited number of "ArchMil" group spots for teens who join us without a parish group. See the question above for more about how to register for the ArchMil group.
Does my parish have to send adults (Lead Missionaries)?
Yes. If you are organizing a parish group, plan to send enough adults to transport your teens throughout the week.
Please make sure all Lead Missionaries are compliant with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Safe Environment Office as well as driver certified.
Where do we stay?
Missionaries stay at a host parish throughout the week, where we eat, sleep, and pray in community. Typically, we sleep in school classrooms (separated by gender), and eat in the parish hall. Missionaries are encouraged to bring an air matress or matress pad to sleep on.
Each day includes an opportunity to shower, typically at a local pool.
What sort of work will we do?
LBH emphasizes doing small things with great love. Mother Teresa said that the world longs for love more than it longs for bread, so while we work hard, the focus is much more on building relationships with those we serve. Missionaries serve at different service sites throughout the week. Our work can include weeding, painting, visiting and playing games with nursing home residents, lifting items, cleaning, raking, yard work, landscaping, sorting clothes/food for local shelters, trimming, cleaning windows, and simple acts with great love for those in the community.
What happens in the evenings?
Each year, Love Begins Here focuses on a particular theme from the life and teachings of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Short talks given by the Love Begins Here core team each night are based on this theme. One night each week is also devoted to Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Confession. Most evenings include talks, sharing time, free time, games, relaxation, and dessert.
How do groups get around throughout the week?
Teens are organized into car groups, which are led by a Lead Missionary (adult) for the week. Lead Missionaries drive their car group (typically 3-5 teens from different parish groups) to work sites, the pool, etc. each day.
Can teens or adults leave during the week for other commitments?
Love Begins Here is a mission experience. Just like we wouldn’t be able to return home if we went on an out of state mission, Love Begins Here wants to emphasize how important it is to detach from our normal and chaotic daily activity. We ask that all teen and adult missionaries sleep on site and stay for the entire experience.