Operation 8th Day: Take It Home


This week has been more than a great experience. This trip was so humbling, and can be hard to describe in this blog post. Friday was our last day together as a group. We went to Malibu and explored a beach while having some fantastic conversations. After Malibu we went to Fr. Jim’s house right across the street from USC. That is where our journey got real. He asked us questions and challenged our way of thinking. While doing that, he told us many different stories along with pieces of wisdom. I didn’t write them down, but I’ll paraphrase.

Wisdom for young people is to keep tradition. Wisdom for old people is to be open to change.
There is a difference from not believing in God and not knowing enough about God.
One cannot fully experience the Eucharist/Jesus if one has never been in love.
I don’t have the answers to peoples problems; only insights.

There were many more in that short period of time, but those are the ones that stuck. Fr. Jim also talked about how some can use the word community and not fully express or experience it because it is not rooted. The charisms that we exude must be have a primary root that goes back to the gospel. Fr. Jim is quite the jokester, but he is very wise and personal. I wanted to speak to him privately, so as everyone left I asked to chat for 5 minutes. I talked to him about my struggles and he listened. He told me some things that I will cherish and remember forever. Once again, I must learn to walk with people. I must accept that I don’t have all the answers nor will I always get the answers to my questions. This trip has provided me an opportunity to go with the flow and enjoy the little things.

Speaking of little things, I would like to share a story of my good friend Cassin. It was two o’clock in the morning on our last day together, and Cassin wanted to show me a surprise. I was open to see what he was going to show me, so I grabbed Makena to come along for the surprise. We followed Cassin to the chapel where we saw Michael praying. Cassin went to the piano and started playing. It was so beautiful and moving. The music was flowing through him and the chapel. Automatically tears began to run down our faces. It was a moment I will never forget. Cassin, thank you so much for being a great role model and friend. You have touched my life, and I appreciate it so much. The joy you brought to the group amazes me. Thank you for sharing a wonderful experience with me.

Now the trip is over and it’s time to take what we learned/experienced in LA back home. Service is only a small part of taking this back home, but is still important. Here are some ways I plan on taking it home.

  1. Keep and emphasize the roots of what we believe in.
  2. Make and keep strong relationships with others to fully promote the common good.
  3. Walk with others.
  4.  Exude the charisms, and know their roots. 


This list is still in progress, but it’s a start. Thank you so much for reading our posts. We had a great time on this trip and learned/experienced so much. I want to thank the Marianists for all that they have done for us. They continue to help me with my journey in life and I appreciate them so much. I would like to thank the coordinators and the three Marianist Universities. This experience has honestly impacted my life. I will always cherish the moments that we shared. Thank y’all so much for everything.

Ryan Munoz
St. Mary’s University 

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