Over 200 people — including His Grace, Bishop Matthias of Chicago and the Midwest, some 150 volunteers from across the country, staff members, site leaders, interns, and others — gathered at Project Mexico’s Saint Innocent Orphanage here July 12-18, 2011, to build seven homes in memory of the late Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest.
“Volunteer missionaries from New York, California, Florida, and Kentucky joined participants from across the Diocese of the Midwest to build the homes — the most built by a week-long Project Mexico ‘Orthodox Basic Training’ team,” said Matushka Ruth Yavornitzky of Rochester, MI, who organized the project. “We worked, ate, worshiped, laughed, cried, and made lasting friendships that could only happen by doing God’s work.”
During the Sunday Divine Liturgy, Bishop Matthias blessed five new boys entering Saint Innocent’s and celebrated a Memorial for the repose of Archbishop Job’s soul.
Matushka Ruth initiated plans for the trip in early 2010.
“We wanted to provide a ‘living tribute’ to our late archpastor,” explained Matushka Ruth. “After considering a number of options, it was decided to organize the pilgrimage to Project Mexico to build homes for those in need. At first we weren’t sure how many we would be able to build, but as the registration forms kept coming in, it became clear that we’d have enough hands to build several.
“Participants were responsible for raising their own funds, while in February 2011, an appeal to parishes successfully raised additional funds for the trip,” Matushka Ruth continued. “If not for the generosity of so many people and parishes from across the Midwest and beyond, the trip would not have been possible.
“For all of us, this was the trip of a lifetime,” Matushka Ruth concluded. “It was so moving, so life changing, bringing everyone closer to Christ and to each other while ministering to those who otherwise might be forgotten. From the missionaries and participants and myself, we thank everyone who made the trip possible!”