St John The Compassionate Mission Selected As OCF Real Break Trip Destination

JOHNSTOWN, PA [Diocesan Chancery] -  Attention College Students: St. John the Compassionate Mission of Toronto, Ontario, (Canada), an Apostolate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA, has been chosen as a trip location for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)'s  Real Break 2013.  It is scheduled to take place from March 9-16, 2013.

If you want a real world experience of God command to love your neighbor as yourself then this is the trip for you!

St. John the Compassionate Mission is simply a way of life. Rooted in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church, it is about living theology with those who are suffering, often right on the doorsteps of our churches. The Real Break Toronto team will travel to the Lived Theology School and St. John the Compassionate Mission in Ontario, Canada to be vulnerable and learn from the poor what it means to be human.
This trip will provide a unique experience of serving Christ through the fulfillment of the command of God to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.  As Christ asked in the parable, “Who is my neighbor?”, the Real Break Toronto team will quickly discover the answer as they encounter Christ in the men and women who frequent The Saint John the Compassionate Mission, who are in need in many different ways:  physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. 

This trip is a hands-on experience that will challenge each person to focus on his and her relationship with Christ and others; And, each will have the opportunity to discover the depths of his and her spirituality.  Christ reminds us in the parable of the Sheep and Goats on Judgment Sunday how we are to serve others as if each person in need was our Lord Himself.  You will be engaged with Christ as you serve others who are in need of experiencing the love of Christ through the love of neighbor. 

The Team will be engaged in re-building lives and creating community at St John the Compassionate Mission by involvement in the programs for the homeless at St John’s. It will participate in the morning and night Winter Program by helping to prepare and serve meals, as well as sharing meals and talking with the poor.  The Team will also take part in the regular liturgical services that are the heart and foundation of the life of this Orthodox mission.

About the St. John the Compassionate Mission

The Mission opened its doors on January 30, 1987 and first began by renting a small store on 53 Blake Street in the middle of a densely populated Public Housing Project. The opening day was an act of trust in God's desire to plant a presence of Faith, Hope and Love in that needy neighborhood.  In 1995, after a period of being homeless for one year, the mission moved out of Blake Street and with the help of friends, purchased a building on Broadview Avenue large enough to accommodate all of its needs. Volunteers did all the renovation work in the building, including the chapel.

St. John the Compassion mission is not a soup kitchen, or a social program; it is the Church on the street. It engages and challenges one to the very core of our faith and what it means to be an Orthodox Christian in the context of North America.

In fulfilling its calling to assist those in need, St. John the Compassionate provides physical and spiritual food five days a week at its modern kitchen and dining facilities and the Chapel of St. Silouan the Athonite.  The chapel of St. Silouan is the heartbeat of the community as the rhythm of daily prayer nourishes and sustains each person as he labors to do the work of Christ.   St Silouan Chapel also serves as a mission parish for those seeking a transnational expression of Orthodox Christianity in the Greater Toronto region.

The Mission also owns and operates a bakery and a thrift store, which employs the poor and disadvantaged. Most recently, the mission has expanded its outreach through the establishment of an internship program, known as the Lived Theology School . The aim of this  intern/live-in volunteer program is  to teach and train interns in both the theological and practical understanding of Orthodox mission, so that the participants may more effectively minister to those in need in their local community.


 Trip Registration

There are limited spaces for each destination. To secure your spot, register online at with a $150 deposit. Final payment will be due by January 30, 2013.  However, if you opt to set-up a credit card hold, final payment is not due until 2 weeks after the end of your trip.  To set up the hold please call 661-412-2267 by January 30, 2013 to securely process this information.

Trip Cost - $785.00

 The cost includes ground transportation, lodging, meals, and materials; however, it does not include transportation to and from Toronto, Canada.  If you are flying to Toronto, you are strongly encouraged to book your domestic flight as soon as you receive confirmation that your Real Break trip is Active - There are enough participants for the trip to happen.

 If you fundraise over the trip cost, you are eligible to receive a reimbursement of the cost of your flight up to the overage amount fundraised.  

Click Here For More Information

His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa encourages all Diocesan College Students to seriously consider being a part of the 2013 OCF  Real Break Toronto team, or any of the other Real Break trip opportunities.  This year trips will be offered to Constantinople, Project Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, New Orleans and Los Angelos (Skid Row). Learn more here.      

The Real Break program provides an alternative to the "traditional" Spring Break . It exists to provide the most authentic experience possible, modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. OCF organizes both domestic and international trips to give College students the opportunity to serve those less fortunate and to do something "real" for themselves and for God. OCF's Real Break has been running since 2000 with over a thousand students participating in these life-changing trips. Past trips have included: Mexico, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Raphael House, St. Basil Academy, Greece, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Romania, Buenos Aires, Alaska, and more.