This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience a missionary trip and to truly see what it is like to interact with a different parish outside of our cathedral. Throughout the trip Fr.
Simon Esshaki showed me and the other seminarians his regular duties and schedule throughout his time at St. Barbara Chaldean Catholic Church in Las Vegas. On Saturday morning we headed to the church to teach a first communion class that was conducted by Fr. Simon. We seminarians were given a chance to teach the kids and answer any questions they had for us.
After the first communion class, Fr. Simon put together a basketball game with the children and it is still undetermined who won! The kids were ecstatic and were in great joy to see new faces at their parish. Later that evening a bible study was put together for the youth in Las Vegas that was held at the church. We had youth from ages 14-18 attend this Bible study session.
We first opened in prayer then introduced ourselves to get to know each other. The topic of the day was vocation and the true meaning behind Gods plan for us. Myself, Marlo Georgis, and Peter Patros, the two seminarians who were with us, gave a talk about following our vocation and what led us to the path we are currently in. The youth were very excited about this and had many questions for us. Prior to the Bible study we prayed Chaldean Evening Prayer in St. Barbara church that was open to any parishioner that wanted to join in prayer. after the Bible study, Fr. Simon heard confessions for all the youth who attended.
On Sunday morning we headed to St. Barbara to pray Chaldean Morning Prayer and were joined by the Shamashe that were part of that parish. After Morning Prayer we got ready for mass that was celebrated by Fr. Simon. During the homily Fr. Simon introduced us visiting seminarians and told the parishioners to pray for our seminarians because one day we might be serving them, just like he is. Followed by the introduction Fr. Simon gave an extremely powerful homily that connected the call of apostles, and how all Christians have to imitate them with every decision they make in following Christ. After mass we had coffee and dessert with the parishioners and were able to get to know each other.
This was a very humbling experience that I am grateful for being apart of. This missionary trip truly opened my eyes to the reality of a priest and the duties he must fulfill in order to be a good shepherd to his flock. I want to thank Fr. Simon again and hopefully have the opportunity to go on many more missionary trips in the near future.