Love Begins Here adjusts to pandemic Print
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Written by Angela Curio, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 28, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Eleven years ago, Love Begins Here (LBH) launched in the Diocese of Madison with week long, local mission trips for teens in middle school and high school.

This summer, LBH will continue its ministry to local communities but with an even more localized focus to accommodate gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines.

Engage at parish level

"For those registered with the parishes, you are going to engage with Love Begins Here at the parish level," said Lindsay Finn, LBH Madison's director, on a YouTube video posted on May 16. "For those who are registered as Lost Sheep (those not registered through their parish), we will be in touch soon with plans."

 

Though the groups will be smaller, Finn said "the core of our mission will remain the same."

According to their mission manifesto, the group's focus has always been localized, focusing on ministering to neighbors in need and doing small things "with great love."

"We work on a small scale with a larger perspective," says the mission's website. "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."

Love Begins Here Homeschooled

During the month of May, LBH launched Love Begins Here Homeschooled. Each Monday, the LBH Facebook page posted videos and blog posts to give teens a homeschool lesson.

"Helping others is at the core of what Love Begins Here is all about," wrote Deacon Enan Zelinski for the LBH Homeschooled blog posted on May 17.

"(But) more than supplying for material needs, the witness of Love Begins Here is that we evangelize with patience and joy. . . . And a large part of this witness is striving to let each person know that they are infinitely loved. Not just loved in a general way but loved in all the unique and intricate things that make them who they are."

The blog went on to explain how we must try to understand each situation and each person. "What this requires is a practice not only of patience, but, above all, of compassion and empathy," continued Deacon Zelinski.

"We must try to understand others before we help them. This does not mean that we must wait to help someone until we are best friends with them, but that — to the best of our ability — we must be considerate of them as we know them and given what we know about them."

He gave the teens three challenges to practice in their homes. The first challenge was to "practice patient compassion. Whether someone is struggling or rejoicing, try your best to rejoice or suffer with them. You don't even necessarily need to say anything, but try to imagine what they are experiencing. This is often uncomfortable, but it is also a great gift that can help another person either to feel consoled in trial or accompanied in joy."

The second challenge was to help in hidden ways rather than to look for recognition, and the third challenge was to ask for help when you need it.

"This really should be challenge #1," continued Deacon Zelinski. "But it makes more sense in the context of the other two. As we try to help others and be considerate to them, we also need help. We are imperfect and will not always love others or help them as we should. Before helping others, simply pray that God helps you as you help others."

Deacon Zelinski will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

 
 

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