Fr. Mark Miller: Stand in Opposition to Execution on May 3rd

PBSI Names First Executive Director

The Precious Blood Spirituality Institute (PBSI) has announced the hiring of its first executive director, Vicky Otto.

Vicky currently serves as the director of Companions (lay associates) for the Cincinnati and Kansas City Provinces of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. She will assume her new position on July 1.

“It is an honor to serve as the first executive director of the Precious Blood Spirituality Institute,” Vicky said. “I look forward to working with each of our communities as we promote and share Precious Blood spirituality. I also look forward to our collaborations when opportunities are identified to reach out to our broken and divided world, offering our spirituality’s many gifts, including healing, hope, reconciliation, and renewal.”

A native of Tucson, Vicky has a long history of parochial and pastoral ministry, as well as administration. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fordham University and an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She has been the director of Companions since 2014.

The PBSI is a new partnership of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, and the Sisters of the Precious Blood of Dayton, Ohio. It was formed earlier this year to promote Precious Blood spirituality to the world. The executive director will oversee the administration, programming, and strategic planning of the PBSI, ensuring that it reflects the charisms of the sponsoring congregations.

She will take her place on the PBSI board, which also includes member-representatives of the three congregations.

The provincial councils of the Cincinnati and Kansas City Provinces will soon begin a search for a new director of Companions.

Embracing the Passion

by Holly O’Hara, Communication Director at PBMR

An image of crown of thorns stock photoRecently, I heard this statement at Mass: “The Passion leads to the Glory of the Resurrection.” Hearing it, I was surprisingly shaken. I wondered if this is really true. Does our passion, our suffering, really lead to a resurrection?

Some days here at PBMR, it doesn’t feel like it. At times it’s hard to find hope amidst the suffering and injustice that envelops our youth, families, and neighbors. Some days, it just feels like passion after passion with no clear resurrection in sight. But every time I get to this place of darkness and desolation, God always greets me there, holds me close, and brings me an unexpected radiant light, a renewed hope lifting me from my darkness.

A couple of weeks ago, Sr. Donna invited me to deliver some gift cards to a mother in our community. Grateful for the break from my office and growing to-do list, I accompanied her to the house of one of our youth and his mother. I had heard a great deal about his mom, but this would be the first time I’d get to meet her. As she opened the door, we were greeted with warm hugs and words of welcome. She invited us into her home and introduced us to her children, grandchildren, and others who live under her roof and care. I instantly felt enveloped by the love that flowed through the house, and that emanated from the tiny yet mighty woman standing before me. 

As she took us through her house, she shared about some of the struggles she and her sons have endured over the years—children incarcerated, deceased, and impacted by violence in the streets. As she invited us downstairs into the basement, I was introduced to her son—a young man around my age, paralyzed from the waist down after being shot two years ago. Sitting with him, my heart ached as I listened to the rollercoaster these past two years have been. His mom explained that it was just her and her sons for years, but that they always knew they would be okay because they were together. “We always had each other through it all.” Through the pain and suffering, there was a strong undercurrent of faith, hope, and deep love burning bright between mother and children. As I sat on a box in that basement, a light of hope flickered in the darkness. 

Driving home that night, I was pretty overwhelmed. I could feel my heart bursting with an overabundance of joy and sorrow. I thought about how tempting it would be to not feel this pain and sorrow that I now feel for this family who suffers so greatly, and in not feeling their sorrow, not grappling with my call to do what I can to care for them. But to block out the sorrow and the responsibility, to shy away from the passion, would be to block out the divine joy of being in relationship, and to block out the light of hope that I found in our togetherness. I realized that growing in relationship means taking up this cup of joy and sorrow; embracing the passion to find a resurrection. Meeting our neighbors, growing in relationship with them, feeling their pain, and uniting ourselves to their well-being transforms us. Because now that I know you, I love you, and I care about what happens to you. Now that I know you, I am with you to confront whatever comes our way, together. 

I guess the first step to resurrection is allowing ourselves to see, feel, and experience the Passion—opening ourselves to the sorrows that surround us, and discovering how God is bringing new life and love into the most unlikely of spaces. Jesus’ heart was pierced by a lance—blood and water spilled out—and from that passion, the resurrection followed. So what happens when I allow my heart to be pierced by the sorrows that surround me? Inevitably, it will hurt, and it will likely end my life as I know it, but the love and community that will be born in the most desolate of spaces will shine radiantly like the Easter sun.

Every day, I just pray for the grace to open my heart to the people around me—to draw near to their joy and sorrows alike. To love with arms wide open, unafraid, radically available. People are in pain and suffering whether we look or not, but when we choose to draw near to those who suffer, they no longer suffer alone, and that can change everything. Now we are in it together, and now, at least, we have each other.

There is great hope in knowing that we are not alone and we always have each other, even in our darkest moments.  When we stay together through our times of passion, flames of love and community flicker through the darkness and renew our hope in the promised Resurrection.

This article was featured in the April 2022 edition of the New Wine Press.

Laudato Si’ Action Platform

by Gabino Zavala. Justice and Peace Director

The Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood has enrolled in the Vatican-backed platform that promotes a process for organizations, institutions, and families to work toward sustainability in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for creation.

The hope is that this allows the Catholic Church to respond to the Pope’s prophetic words in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ on care for our common home. The hope is that Catholic institutions, organizations, dioceses, and families might put Pope Francis’ prophetic voice into actions that can make a difference so that we might deal effectively with the catastrophe that is global warming. In other words, what can we do to protect our planet and preserve it for present and future generations?

The Action Platform outlines several areas that are Laudato Si’ goals such as hearing the cry of the earth and hearing the cry of the poor; adopting simple, sustainable lifestyles, and ecological concerns. The Platform also identifies different actions that can be taken in each area.

Action steps include using renewable energy, reducing consumption of meat and single-use items, fostering ecological education and spirituality, advocating for sustainable development, and following ethical investment guidelines including divestment from fossil fuels.

This Platform seeks in us a radical change of heart in people and institutions and thus a transformation of society. The Platform is a concrete way for all of us, united in Christ, to integrate the teachings of Laudato Si’ into our lives. This is a concrete and perceptible way to witness to our faith as we renew our local Church and care for our common home.

Action is urgently needed. God has called us to be stewards of creation. This Laudato Si’ Action Platform allows us to take our stewardship seriously so that we can care for and heal our common home.

As our Precious Blood Family joins with others in putting the Laudato Si’ Action Platform into effect, we will be offering suggestions and ideas that might help us respond to the needs of caring for our common home.

“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real change in lifestyle” (Laudato Si’ 21)

Cover page of Laudato Si'

Fr. Joe Nassal: Lost and Found-Lent 4c

Watch Fr. Joe Nassal’s homily, below.