Since so many people are sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis, we thought it would be helpful to provide a round-up of resources that the Kansas City and Cincinnati Province communities have posted over the last week. The links below include print, photo, and video materials from both provinces.
Video-“Tapping the Wine Cellar” Gospel reflection for March 29th with Fr. Keith Branson, Vicky Otto, and Tim Deveney: https://www.facebook.com/396121670519197/videos/244769186701173/
Text-Reflection on 40th Anniversary of the Assassination of Oscar Romero, by Fr. Joe Nassal: http://preciousbloodkc.org/on-the-40th-anniversary-of-the-assassination-of-archbishop-oscar-romero/?fbclid=IwAR3ICDFPMjVHE0D4cyPY4WxCYQwok82qPkFELqRgxzgrJXYYxEFNPNzdS0w
Video-Fr. Ron Will’s Lenten Reflection 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17P0UehDO-Y
Video-Fr. Ron Will’s Lenten Reflection 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdmvyAo-RUE
Text-Reflections from Precious Blood Renewal Center: https://www.pbrenewalcenter.org/blog/tag/contemplative-life/
Photo-Prayer to St. Gaspar During the COVID-19 Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/199797412107/photos/a.383292102107/10157014732577108/?type=3&theater
Video-Fr. Timothy Knepper Reflection for March 25: https://www.facebook.com/100017386757252/videos/600265387229681/UzpfSTE5OTc5NzQxMjEwNzoxMDE1NzAxMDQxMzQ0MjEwOA/
Text-Checklist of Hope by Fr. Angelo Anthony: http://cpps-preciousblood.org/2020/03/keeping-hope-strong/?fbclid=IwAR0aG1kbnqDI3pVAMGLxQZwmRnxngzfuBrgKnKi4Vpey0y-B0E_yIVdeIfQ
Video-Fr. Timothy Armbruster Reflection 1: https://www.facebook.com/stmaryscentervilleiowa/videos/724544397950733/
Video-Fr. Timothy Armbruster Reflection 2: https://www.facebook.com/stmaryscentervilleiowa/videos/2616226618592005/
Text-Reflection from Greg Evers (in formation): https://tallerdejose.org/straight-with-crooked-lines/?fbclid=IwAR3_yPs7rQioQcijGs_hvWfPfyCdrhoYNHu1-xVs21ih3k05G28fF6_qPso
by Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.
“I don’t believe in death without resurrection.”
– St. Oscar Romero
It is a strange new world. Almost every story on National Public Radio is about the pandemic and the medical, economic, and social problems it creates. As I reflect by the window in week two of the “shelter in place” order in the Bay Area that is now extended throughout the state and most of the nation, the trash truck collects the garbage at the apartment complex across the street. While many are out of work or working from home because of social distancing, trash and recycling companies are probably busier than usual because more people are staying at home. Obviously, doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and first responders are the busiest as they try to make less work for another group who are busier than usual, morticians and gravediggers.
So, on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, it is good to remember that we don’t believe in death without resurrection.
A virus of violence killed St. Oscar. Before this pandemic took hold of the world, we had an epidemic of gun violence in this country; a pandemic of oppression and injustice especially toward refugees and immigrants. Romero was killed because he became a voice against the virus of violence that claimed the lives of the poor in El Salvador.
He was denied canonization for years because there were those who felt his death was caused for political reasons rather than rooted in the gospel nonviolence of Jesus. The church finally recognized that when the rule of law in a country is unjust and the poor are being persecuted, the Sermon on the Mount and the witness of Jesus becomes political. Fidelity to gospel nonviolence leads to the cross stained with the precious blood of Christ.
Forty years ago, Archbishop Romero’s blood poured out upon the altar where he was celebrating Mass, martyred for living his faith and giving voice to the cries of the poor. “They can kill me,” he said, “but they cannot kill the voice of justice.”
Now the focus of the nation and the world is on the corona virus as it should be. But the virus of violence will continue unless those who are rooted in gospel values raise their voices against the culture of hate, indifference, and death.
As with other crises we have faced, we are at our best when the news of the world is the worst. The hashtag now is “alone together”—though we are sheltering in place and staying at home, there is a sense of solidarity that we are all in this together. May it also be so in attacking the virus of violence.
As we meet in prayer across the miles, St. Oscar Romero, pray for us.
by Keven Cheung, Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Health Center
2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Keven Cheung
“So, what brings you in today?” is usually the first question I ask patients once I have brought them back to an exam room at KC CARE Health Care Center. Replies will range from a simple follow-up appointment to a long list of health concerns. Patients will reveal personal and intimate details of their lives within a short period of time. Perhaps it is the natural expectation of vulnerability that comes with seeing a healthcare professional or that being strangers makes the information less personal. Whatever the case, people come through the doors seeking help and willingly expose themselves physically and emotionally.
Many of the individuals that come to KC CARE are those that are most vulnerable in our society: uninsured, undocumented, underserved, or homeless. One of the questions I often ponder is how to uphold the dignity of those that I serve. It can be hard at times to balance the desire to sit and talk to patients with the responsibilities I am tasked with. Given the limited time and fixed schedules, upholding a patient’s dignity is often found in small actions. One example of this centers around women’s health. Women who come in for breast and cervical examinations will often be told to undress before the provider comes in so that less time is wasted waiting for the patient to undress. One provider, however, will always go into the room to talk with the patient before allowing them time to undress. After all, sitting there unclothed on the cold examination table with paper thin drapes over your body waiting for the doctor can be uncomfortable for anyone. This seemingly small decision is one way that I see the personalization of dignity in the clinic.
It is understandably hard to work in an environment that addresses suffering. There is only so much that I can do for a patient. Part of my work as a volunteer is to send referrals on behalf of patients to different specialities. Unfortunately, those without insurance are left with the option to either pay out of pocket or to be put on a waitlist for programs that could take up to a year, both of which only negatively exacerbate financial and physical burdens. The best I can offer sometimes feels vastly inadequate to the circumstances patients face. A phone call, fax, or phone number that patients can follow up with is usually only the first step in a long line of hoops they have to jump through. The best part of my day at times is when a patient finally picks up the phone after weeks of trying to contact them. I never expected to learn so much about the healthcare process through referrals.
A few months ago, I remember calling a patient about his referrals. His friend picked up the phone and told me that she and her husband were the ones that took care of and arranged for his health needs. In the few interactions we had, I was encouraged by her consistent responses over the phone and dedication to helping her friend. Many patients do not know how to, are unable to, or do not have someone to advocate for them. Their health issues can often be neglected in comparison to their other responsibilities. With so many fires to put out, no wonder patients miss appointments, phone calls, and medication refills. Working in the clinic has highlighted more problems than solutions, but I also recognize that the most effective way to create change will be a collective one. My hope is that my time in Kansas City will continue to prepare me to critically tackle these challenges as my role within healthcare further develops.
Keven 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
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 edition of the New Wine Press.
Companions from the greater Kansas City area gathered on Sunday for a presentation by Fr. Ron WIll at the Precious Blood Renewal Center. After the presentation, two Companions were finally able to make first covenant. Congratulations to Liberty Companions Eileen Strider and Mary Ann Glenski.
Here are the materials for Companion Gathering centering on Core Value Three from the General Assembly. Copy the link listed below into your address bar or internet browser:
Article for Reflection: http://preciousbloodkc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Article-for-Discussion-Core-Value-3-Our-Missionary-Charism.pdf
Questions for Reflection: http://preciousbloodkc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Questions-for-Reflection-Core-Value-3.pdf
Companions gathered at San Pedro Retreat Center on Feb 22 and 23 for the last Companion Retreat for this year. Fr. Tim McFarland shared insights about how the role of the laity has changed in the Church and led discussions about hopes for the future. At the conclusion of the retreat at the closing liturgy, Companions renewed their covenants. Florence Carrigan from Lake Mary made her first covenant with the community.
Thanks to Fr. Garry Richmeier, Fr. Timothy Armbruster and Fr. Tim McFarland for leading our retreats throughout the year. They all shared enlightening reflections and facilitated discussions about the future of Companions.
Here are the materials for Companion Gathering centering on Core Value Two from the General Assembly. Copy the link listed below into your address bar or internet browser:
Here are the materials for Companion Gathering centering on Core Value One from the General Assembly. Copy the link listed below into your address bar or internet browser:
Leah Landry with Sr. Donna Liette, C.PP.S. at PBMR
by Leah Landry, Precious Blood Volunteer Alumna 2017-2018
I think about my year as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation every day. Maybe it’s because I have only been gone for 16 months, but I have a feeling that my volunteer year will continue to influence the life I create for myself. I can already see its effect on my life in D.C.
My experiences as a Precious Blood Volunteer have also made me more intentional about being a part of a community. Knowing so many folks in the Back of the Yards neighborhood during my volunteer year and seeing them when I went to the grocery store or drove down the block was a wonderful feeling. My experiences as a volunteer have made me see myself not as just an individual; I constantly try to build more community around me because I realize that’s where I am happiest.
Another impactful change from my volunteer year that I have brought with me to my life in D.C. is my new understanding of systemic racism and privilege and the role I play in that system. This new lens spurred me to go to the Texas-Mexico border in June and support the migrant families that were being released from immigration prisons to the Catholic Charities of Laredo Shelter. Racism is not something I can witness or hear about and just feel bad about anymore. I saw the effects of this widespread, insidious system in Chicago and I feel compelled to work with others to dismantle that system.
My life looks different than it did 16 months ago. I have a new home, a new city, a new community, and a new job. But every part of my life has been and will continue to be shaped by the people, experiences, and lessons I had as a Precious Blood Volunteer. And while it might be less challenging to live in ignorant bliss, I am grateful that my experiences as a Precious Blood Volunteer are sticking with me and helping me live a life that is more authentically in line with who I want to be.
[Leah Landry served as a Precious Blood Volunteer during the 2017-2018 year. She is a graduate of Notre Dame University and a recipient of the Yarrow Award from the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame for her commitment to service in peace and justice. She currently works for Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C.]
Companions on both sides of the country were busy this weekend. Lake Mary and Orlando Companions gathered in Florida for a day of reflection and prayer with Fr. Vince Wirtner. Thanks to Lake Mary Companions Trish and John Frazer for hosting the gathering in their home.
Companions in California gathered for their Retreat led by Fr. Garry Richmeier at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center. Congratulations to Newark Companions Dave and Maria Elena Bryon, Alameda Companions Teri Bowe, Jun and Norma De La Cruz and Los Angeles Companions Evelyn Moreira and Jessica Reyes who renewed their covenants during the closing liturgy.