Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Bearers of Civilization and of Good"

"Tourism appeals to the human person who wants to grow in knowledge and to experience how men and women are the bearers of civilization and of good." This year's "Message on the Occasion of the 27th World Day of Tourism" reminds us that the profit of tourism is more than economic. Travelers open to discovering other peoples and cultures delve into the human spirit.

Saturday evening I attended the third annual fundraiser for a mission in Honduras. It affords the opportunity of young people and adults to visit a people in great need and to share love, one human for another. As people described their affiliation with this missionary venture--many had visited (some more than once); others had not but assisted and promoted the venture from the greater Cleveland area--they reminded me of my visit 15 years ago to the mission in Recife, Brazil, which the Archdiocese of Detroit began and continues to sponor.

From my first moments I was deeply impressed by how wealthy the people are in hospitality, in faith and in joy. It was, to borrow a phrase of one person who described her visit to Honduras, "a life-altering experience" for me. It continues to nourish my life each day, even when I am unware that it does.

Many citizens of developed countries have a difficult time articulating what they feel, experience and return home with from visits to less developed countries. The message on tourism is worth thoughtful consideration. As you read, notice where you see yourself in it.

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