Brian Trzop graduated from Saint Viator High School in 2002 but he continues to maintain relationships with the Viatorians. Back in 2013, he was one of a delegation of young people to travel to the Viatorian mission in Belize. Four years later, Trzop accompanied another group of young people to the Mexican border. Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, leads this semi-annual pilgrimage, tracing the steps of migrants, meeting with volunteers and reflecting on God’s call to “welcome the stranger.”

Brian Trzop with the mother of the host family he stayed with in Chiapas.

For Trzop, he wanted more. At the end of November, he was among a group of  people who traveled to Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. Since it borders Guatemala, the state has been overwhelmed with migrant caravans trying to make their way north to the United States.

“It is a spot where many migrants get held up in shelters and tent cities while trying to move north,” Trzop says. “These are people not just from Mexico. Many are from Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries such as Haiti. What I considered economically poorer areas in Chiapas, still was not as downtrodden as these other countries.”

Trzop (center, back) and some of the group (Brian Noon, center front and Emily Brabeck, far right) with their host family in Tapachula.

Trzop describes himself as conservative politically, but he feels compelled to respond to the needs of the poor he witnessed, both in Nogales and Chiapas, as a Christian and a humanitarian.

“I feel blessed as an American, but I also see the sufferings, determination and motivation of those turning to the United States for help,” he says. “I pray for the leaders of our country, and I also feel I have a responsibility to learn and help according to Christ’s mandate.”