by Fr. Ron Will, C.PP.S., Leadership Team Member
As we left St. Joseph, Missouri, I commented to Fr. Dave Matz how beautiful everything looked; the grass was so lush and green. After traveling a distance north on I-29, I commented how brown everything was. We were on our way to visit the Precious Blood Companions in South and North Dakota. It was a shock to my system to wake up to 32 degrees on the first morning, April 29;but despite the air temperature, we found very warm and welcoming hearts in Aberdeen, Linton, and Bismarck.
We were on a mission to reconnect the Precious Blood Companions in the Dakotas with the larger Precious Blood Family. Although our members no longer serve there and we hadn’t seen each other for years, we are still part of one family. Like family separated by many miles, family reunions bring us together, catch us up, and deepen our commitment to one another. We found the Precious Blood spirituality very active in their lives, but in need of rekindling—just like a dying campfire needs stoking. It is easy to get busy about our daily routines and things at hand, and neglect family who live far away, especially if they don’t use email. But we are still family, with the same blood flowing through our veins.
My trip to North Dakota reminded me of the need to find ways to stay connected with companion groups where our incorporated members are no longer serving. These Companions are still part of our Precious Blood family. I encourage all who have ever ministered there to stay connected, or re-connect with parishioners living there. The dying flames can be easily stoked into flames again.
I believe that Companions can look around and invite new people to join them through a formation process they run themselves. The Companion Leadership Team will gladly travel to any location to offer an Information Meeting to get the ball rolling. In our conversations, we helped the Dakota Companions name some individuals they know who already are living a Precious Blood spirituality, and who could be invited to explore Companions.
While we were in North Dakota, the grass greened up from recent rains. It was a metaphor of what happened in the hearts of the Companions while we visited with them. As we approached the Missouri border on our return home, the grass began to look lush and beautiful again. Things are always more comfortable and beautiful at home, but we are not called to stay comfortable, as Pope Francis reminds us so often. We are called by the Blood of Christ to minister to the edges of society.