It’s a family tradition: God’s Portion Weekend at St. Patrick’s Parish in Georgetown, Iowa
God’s Portion Weekend was celebrated August 31-September 1 in Georgetown, Iowa. The weekend celebration featured a golf tournament, “Country Homegrown Dinner,” games, entertainment, auction, and Mass. All proceeds support St. Patrick’s Parish in Georgetown, Iowa. Fr. Mark Yates, C.PP.S. is pastor. Companion Sharon Crall, pastoral associate at St. Patrick’s shared the following reflection of the weekend tradition.
Oh, the stories and the generational family traditions that were still part of the richness of the God’s Portion Weekend at Georgetown on August 31-September 1! The Church community invited the larger Monroe County Community and many parts beyond, even out of state, back to celebrate and raise money for the historic Church building and needs of St. Patrick’s Parish. At this gathering, stories get told of the event, the people, and the history of St. Patrick’s to pass from generation to generation.
Even the preparation for God’s Portion Weekend reminds people of stories. A “Code Yellow” is still called out (today via text message) to gather the parish to process sweet corn. Many could tell you as children, they were enticed to “fish in the ponds” during corn blanching time. It took a few years for them to realize that they were a crucial part of the process—taking the ears of corn from one cold water bath to another. Then it was not so much fun!
Children of the event planners would be lined up in the old hall basement and assigned to chop and grate cabbage for slaw—and didn’t stop until the job was finished.
Years ago, the green bean snapping and processing was itself a story. Pickers sent a driver with buckets of beans throughout the neighborhood to be snapped at various houses. That was called a “bean drop.” Participants were given two hours to accomplish the job, and then the driver would return for pick-up. No one ever complained as they dropped everything they had planned to do and snapped beans for canning. There was no age or gender stipulation involved in this job. If you could snap, you qualified.
The day of the dinner provides its own laughs. One must laugh while frying chicken at 3:30 a.m. to keep yourself awake. Several years back a couple of parishioners dressed in firemen gear to provide “fire department” protection during the cooking.
Every generation was part of the “Talent Show” undertaken for several years at the end of God’s Portion Day. No matter the parishioners had worked all day long at that point. Many remember being astounded as people of all ages got up on stage —all for the “honor and glory of God and his Church.” Some claim miracles occurred. Great aunts turned into beauty queens. Parishioners turned into movie stars and singers. Children became self-confident performers, and even one pastor turned into a country-western singer or a member of the Beach Boys! The stories of having fun producing those outrageously funny shows are frequently told.
Remember, remember, remember and pass the stories along to the next generation. There’s a loyalty to Georgetown that is special. If you were raised around Georgetown you treasure lots of great memories. If you married into the Georgetown family, you had no idea what you were getting into! If you visit each year at God’s Portion Day—welcome, enjoy, have fun, and listen. There’s bound to be a story being told somewhere to the next generation.
The Daily Iowan, a regional paper of southeast Iowa featured Fr. Timothy Armbruster, C.PP.S. in a recent article. Fr. Timothy moved to Centerville, Iowa to become pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He took over from Fr. Bill Hubmann, C.PP.S., who retired over the summer. Fr. Timothy previously had served as associate pastor at St. James Catholic Church in Liberty, Missouri with additional duties as the vocation director for the Kansas City Province.
The article can also be accessed at https://www.dailyiowegian.com/news/religion/st-mary-s-welcomes-new-pastor/article_41171e02-c4fa-11e9-8fad-5718b4c451a9.html
Voices of Charity, a publication of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL) featured collaborative efforts between the sisters’ community and Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Since 2014, Precious Blood Volunteers have had placements at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, an SCL ministry. Most recently, Precious Blood Volunteer Brooke Buth led the campus ministry program at the school.
Additionally, the magazine featured collaborative efforts between the two communities with Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S. leading, and Fr. Dennis Schaab, C.PP.S. providing sacramental ministry at the SCL motherhouse in Leavenworth, Kansas.
To enlarge the text from the magazine, click on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the page. The magazine can also be accessed at https://www.scls.org/voices-of-charity/2019-2/2019-archives-summer/#dflip-df_4455/29/
The Precious Blood community in the surrounding areas gathered at Sacred Heart Church in Warrensburg to celebration the anniversary of the founding of the community. We began our time with prayer which included readings from scripture and Saint Gaspar as well as a reflection by Companion Ruth Mather. We concluded our time of prayer with the celebration of Companion covenant renewal. Congratulations to Shirley Schlobohm who renewed her covenant. We continued our celebration in the parish hall with a wonderful buffet provided by the Central Missouri Companions. Many thanks to the Companions and Fr. Joe Bathke for their wonderful hospitality.
Caitlin will be serving at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She will be living in community at Gaspar Mission House in Kansas City. She grew up in Cebu City, Philippines and Lubbock, Texas. She graduated in May from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biology and a minor in Spanish.
2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Caitlin Caminade
Why do you want to volunteer?
I’m eager to volunteer so that I can shift my focus outside of myself. I feel there is so much I can learn from service, and I see it as an awesome opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?
I love the ministry’s focus on walking with those who suffer and the emphasis on forming and building relationships in the Kansas City community. I’m also glad that I’ll have the support of Precious Blood priests and other volunteers to grow in my faith.
What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?
I am looking forward to being in the clinic and learning about healthcare accessibility, as I hope to go into the medical field in the future. I’m also excited to get to know the community and Kansas City!
2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Keven Cheung
Keven will serve at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri and will live at Gaspar Mission House. He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Professionals Studies and minors in International Development Studies and Poverty Studies.
Why do you want to volunteer?
“Service has always been an integral part of my life. From serving in different capacities
over the years, I have continuously been humbled and challenged by the people I interact
with. Serving has been a way for me to reconcile my own brokenness with that of
another. My desire to serve comes from a deep desire to grow in love, wisdom and
understanding for the communities I am placed in.”
Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?
“The Precious Blood Volunteers’ four pillars hold the qualities I strive to embody, which
include faith, building community, walking with those who suffer, and seeking
reconciliation. The intersection of faith, service to the marginalized, and clinical
experience is what draws me to the PBV. The PBV program is an opportunity for me to
develop meaningful and life-giving relationships with the communities I live and work
What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?
“I am excited to be spending a whole year getting to know Kansas City and developing a
genuine appreciation for the various communities within the city. I am also looking
forward to living at the volunteer house and allowing it to become a home for me. I hope
to gain a better understanding of the healthcare system and what it means to be a
Over the weekend, a special training was held for the Companions who were discerned the community to serve as Conveners and Sponsors for the next three years. The training with prayer that spoke of the power of fire and the power of the light of Christ. Throughout the next day those gathered discussed specific details of their new responsibilities as well as the best practices that were utilized by the different Companion groups across the country. We are so grateful to all those who gathered for saying “Yes” and helping support Companions throughout the country.
On Sunday, July 7th, Northern California Companions gathered at Sonnino House in Berkeley for a belated feast day celebration. They also had two other reasons to celebrate. Timothy Guile made his first covenant with the community. Timothy began formation in San Rafael but had to move to Guam for family reasons. With some creative use of technology and learning about what time zone Guam is in, the Companions were able to work with him to finish formation. The celebration was a chance for him to make his covenant in person with the Companions he has come to know. They also celebrated the new gathering space that is being developed at Sonnino. This room will now have space for all the Companions to join together for gatherings, ongoing education and community events.
Then he breathed on them and said:
“Receive the Holy Spirit…”
John 20, 22
I wonder if the sirens were blaring that first Pentecost when the disciples were gathered and “suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind”? This noise, like the sound people have described far too often around the Midwest this Spring as tornadoes have cut swaths of destruction, knocked the disciples off their game. Their game was to stay put, stand pat, tremble in fear, play it safe.
But the Spirit had other plans. The Spirit of God thrust them into the world to speak new languages. As Paul reminds us, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us.” Pentecost awakens the Spirit we already know lives and breathes within us. The Spirit is always with us. Unfortunately, we often keep her hidden in the basement of our souls or gathering dust in the attic of our minds, content to live and move and have our being as mannequins instead of men and women of the Spirit.
Saint Gaspar often noted we are “people of the Spirit.” Pentecost celebrates the Spirit stirring into flame the desire in the first followers of Jesus to continue his mission of mercy and compassion. Those tongues of flame that shoot like lasers into the hearts of those first followers caused all heaven to break loose. The wind of the Spirit freed the disciples from fear, awakened the power and potential already inside of them.
Each of us carries this breath of the Spirit with us from birth. But like those first followers of Jesus, we have breathed in so much fear, hurt, hate, and harm that sometimes we forget how to breathe, how to speak words of tender mercy, how to love one another.
In the Gospel story of the Pentecost event, the disciples are portrayed as a community hiding in fear in that upper room. But with a gentle breath and a greeting of peace, Jesus stirs their courage. Not immediately, of course; it would take a while for them to have the lung capacity to breathe peace instead of fear. They had inhaled so much foul air—the pollution of betrayal and greed, the smoking ruins of dreams gone up in flames, the Sulphur-like smell of evil—that it would take some time to fill their lungs with the sweet, crisp air of the Holy Spirit. But with this gift of the Spirit comes reconciliation and forgiveness, and the courage to spread that mercy to the ends of the earth.
Pentecost is a celebration of the Spirit—wind, fire, breath. The Spirit manifests Herself is so many ways: courage, wisdom, knowledge, understanding. The power of Pentecost is in unleashing the potential for good that already exists among us. Are we ready to embrace it? As Pope Francis asked in his first Pentecost homily as pope in 2013, “Are we open to God’s surprises? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new?”
This season of the Spirit invites us to set sail on new paths, carried on the winds of change. As a province, these prevailing winds will welcome a new leadership team on Monday evening, June 10, as Father Garry Richmeier, Father Dave Matz, Brother Daryl Charron, Father Timothy Armbruster, and Father Keith Branson will be installed as our new provincial and council. As we welcome the new, I want to thank the missionaries who have served us in leadership the past eight years—Fathers Richard Bayuk, Tom Welk, Ron Will, Mark Miller, and Jim Betzen. As provincial, I have been blessed to have their wisdom and counsel, their friendship and commitment to the community’s future.
I am also deeply grateful to the province staff who continue to serve all of us with fidelity, creativity, and initiative. The gifts they bring each day in the service of the community reflects the Pentecost story in advancing the gospel message and especially the charism of our founder and the spirituality of the Precious Blood.
As I prepare the take leave of the office of provincial, my appreciation to all of you, members, companions, volunteers, and friends, is boundless. Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, patience, and support these past eight years. I beg your pardon if my mistakes and missed opportunities have in any way hurt you. I trust in your mercy, compassion, and the bond of charity that serves as that holy thread that ties us together.
Robert F. Kennedy once said, “We can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts, brothers [and sisters] once again. The answer is to rely on youth—not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” This becomes our Pentecost challenge as we embark on the New Creation.
And so, in conclusion, I offer this prayer and pray all to take good care:
Great and Holy Spirit,
whose breath gives life to the world,
whose voice is heard in the whisper of a gentle breeze,
whose force is found in the rush of a mighty wind,
You sweep us off our feet on this great feast of Pentecost.
With a sacred gust of grace, you make known to all peoples
the power of your pardon and peace.
With tongues of fire, O Great Spirit,
You create from many languages
a language of love to proclaim with one voice
the favor of your forgiveness and fidelity.
O Gracious God, during this season of the Spirit,
open wide the door of our hearts where all your abundant gifts are stored.
Open wide our minds to the wonders of Your Sacred Presence in all of creation,
and in all peoples of this earth.
We never cease to thank and praise you, O God,
for renewing our dreams, resuscitating our hopes,
and reviving the language of love we left for dead.
And so, with the breath of Your Son inspiring us,
we conspire with all peoples of this planet,
to breathe peace,
to be peace.
With peace in the blood of Christ,
Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.
by Koby Buth, Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Heath Center
Growing up, I regularly attended youth ministry events titled something along the lines of, “Be a Hero for Jesus!” The message I heard at those events usually went something like this: “Jesus calls us to be moral exemplars in society. We need to stand out from our peers in a way that points to Christ and brings others to Him. By performing extraordinary acts with extraordinary courage, we will gather attention from society that we will then be able to redirect to Jesus.”
Part of the use of the word “Hero” was, of course, a means of appealing to our ten-year-old imagination: we could be Superman or Wonder Woman. I did not consider, however, how this appeals to our modern obsession with individualism, until I first heard the song “Helplessness Blues” by the band Fleet Foxes. As I contemplated the lyrics over time, the first verse has always been the most striking to me:
I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes,
unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
serving something beyond me
While that verse could be interpreted as critiquing the Participation Trophy Phenomenon, I think it more clearly speaks to the desire to contribute in small, cooperative ways to a larger, more meaningful society. Those youth ministry events encourage great individual acts, not small, perhaps menial, acts that add up to something greater than we could do individually. I think that our youth ministers did not want to encourage those particular acts, primarily because they can feel menial. An accountant for a homeless shelter may not feel like she’s contributing much to the world, but that shelter would not exist for very long without her, leading to fewer people getting the services they need.
This volunteer year, I have often felt like a “cog in some great machinery,” which has in some ways left me a little unsatisfied. I have felt the need to begin some great project which will overhaul the way the clinic works and drastically improve the care for our patients. I would love to say that desire comes solely from the care I feel for our patients, but I think some of it comes from a desire to stand out from the crowd—to be a Hero for Jesus. In college, we often had speakers from small organizations come and speak about what caused them to start a nonprofit that helps with human trafficking or world hunger. I often wondered if, instead of having many small organizations dedicated to eradicating a huge social issue like human trafficking, having a few large ones would be able to mobilize more people and more resources. I wondered if people’s desire to be a Hero for Jesus by starting their own organization was a less efficient way of decreasing hunger and slavery in our world than joining a pre- existing one and adding their skills and talents to an already established nonprofit.
People will often say that the desire to be a cog in a machine is fueled by complacency. But I am learning to see the benefits to it. It allows good, helpful organiations to function smoothly. It helps you make significant changes in the world without burning yourself out hunting for the next great idea.
A few months ago, some street evangelists stopped Brooke (my wife, also a Precious Blood Volunteer) and I on our walk home and asked when we were saved. I thought, I don’t think salvation is a one-time thing, I think it’s a process, which is why Paul tells us “work out your salvation.” But, because I knew I would make my wife uncomfortable confronting street evange- lists, I said, “When I was around six.” He then asked, “Does your salvation make you want to go out and evangelize?” My answer was something along the lines of, “Actually, I feel like I usually want to show people what Christ is like rather than telling them.” We then told each other to have a good day and parted ways. These people were looking for big ways to serve Christ, which is good, but I’m trying to find consolation in doing small things, routine things to serve Christ, other people, and the broader creation.
Koby is a current Precious Blood Volunteer serving at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
To learn more about becoming a Precious Blood Volunteer go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org
Koby Buth with a patient at KC CARE Health Center
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of the New Wine Press.