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Our Lady’s Ministry helps poor around the world

September 11, 2015
Tom Burke

With an outreach to the poor now 20 years old, Our Lady’s Ministry continues its effort to help the impoverished around the world. The group holds its annual fundraiser Sept. 26.

Our Lady’s Ministry grew from a prayer group of the same name at St. Bruno Church in San Bruno in 1995.

Carlos Lopez Valencia, a leader of the group, launched a branch group and began the organization’s hallmark mission trips to poor areas. Today, Our Lady’s Ministry has approximately 50 members.

“A mission trip begins with an invitation from a clergy member requesting support of material and financial assistance for their diocese where people live in abject poverty or one that has experienced a severe natural disaster,” Kathleen Bruno of Our Lady’s Ministry told Catholic San Francisco. Beneficiaries of the effort include orphaned, malnourished and handicapped children, abandoned elderly, poor seminarians, and the incarcerated. Members making the trips pay their own way, Bruno said, and generally five to seven members travel on the eight to 12 trips per year.

Preparations for the trips include conversations with leadership about where food can be purchased in bulk quantities, where a delivery truck can be rented, how many people are in the community requiring assistance. Then the OLM crew purchases nonperishable foods for distribution. Tables are also set up with clothing donated for the community. OLM members bring an additional suitcase full of clothing, school supplies or medical necessities.

“Our Lady’s Ministry members joyfully serve on the mission trips because they see the face of Christ in all the people they serve on each and every trip,” Bruno said.

Our Lady’s Ministry has helped people in the United States as well as countries including Uganda, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador Thailand and the Philippines.

The Sept. 26 fundraiser includes live and silent auctions, dinner and video clips of 2015 mission trips. Tickets are $35. Visit www.ourladysministry.org; call (415) 467-4747. Our Lady’s Ministry is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

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