Why "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 8th-12th grade the previous school year. (Yes, 8th graders get to choose which version of LBH they attend!)
Adult Missionaries must be at least 21 years old, or 23 if driving.
What happens on a day of LBH? (DAILY SCHEDULE)
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):
- 7:00am - Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, make lunches
- 8:15am - Mass (depends on parish Mass schedule)
- 9:00am - Head to work sites with your car group (lunch on site)
- 3:30pm - Wrap up at work site, grab ice cream, 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
How much does a week of Love Begins Here cost?
A week of Love Begins Here costs $150 for Middle School and $175 for High School. To continue making LBH accessible for all young people, we ask parishes not to add costs to attend. Instead, we encourage parishes to fundraise or budget for things like car rentals, etc.
Adult missionaries have no cost. 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.
To keep our costs low for our teen missionaries, parishes are asked to bring only those adults who are needed for their group (about one adult for every 4-6 teens). We welcome more adults from a parish if our space permits with a cost of $100.
How do I bring teens to LBH as a group from my parish?
We encourage parishes to organize groups of missionaries to come on Love Begins Here. To organize a group, follow these steps:
- Read our Parish Leader Guide; let us know if you have any questions!
- Register your parish group using our Parish Request form.
- PROMOTE your Love Begins Here dates to your teens and families, answer questions, and get them ready to register! Feel free to use our resources if you'd like (folder password protected - receive the password when you register your group!)
- Have your teens and adults register using our registration system using the links sent by LBH staff.
- Keep an eye out for communications from Love Begins Here Milwaukee for more details!
If you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us!
How do I sign up for LBH?
Registration for LBH2023 opens on January 18, 2023! To join us, follow these steps:
- Ask your parish youth leader (youth minister, etc.) which week(s) your parish is attending Love Begins Here.
- Receive your parish's registration link from from your parish youth leader and complete our registration. You will pay your missionary fee directly to your parish.
- Get ready for a summer of fun!
*If your parish is not bringing a group to Love Begins Here, we have a limited number of "Free Agent" spots.
Can I still sign up if my parish is not sending a group?
Yes! We have a limited number of "Free Agent" spots for teens who join us without a parish group. To register as a Free Agent, find the registration link on the main LBH page once registration opens!
Does my parish have to send adults?
Yes. If you are organizing a parish group, plan to send enough adults to transport your teens throughout the week.
Parishes must make sure all adult missionaries are compliant with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Safe Environment Office as well as driver certified through Catholic Mutual Insurance Group.
Each adult missionary is also required to complete Love Begins Here's adult missionary training. This takes place in the late Spring just before the Summer.
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.
Do I have to stay overnight?
Love Begins Here is an immersive experience, where we separate ourselves from our daily life in order to be more present to our neighbor and to God. Because of this reality, Love Begins Here typically does not allow missionaries to go home during their week.
At the same time, we are always willing to talk about needs that our missionaries have. If staying at home might a need for your missionary, please contact our staff to talk more.
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 an adult missionary for the week. Adult missionaries drive their car group (typically 3-5 teens from different parish groups) to work sites, the pool, etc. each day.
Do I have to go the whole week without a shower?
Absolutely NOT! We work hard to provide an opportunity to shower every day on the mission field (except the first and last day of each trip, when you can shower at home). Often, this opportunity happens at a campground, YMCA, or pool facility. These facilities typically do not have individual showers, so a swimsuit is a good idea.
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.
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.