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/
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 Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director
Last week the Trump administration announced a new immigration plan with family visas greatly reduced and no mention of Dreamers. This plan is not the just and comprehensive reform of our immigration system that we as a Precious Blood community envision in our corporate stance. The President and his administration must go back to square one to come up with a truly comprehensive, and just reform of our broken immigration system.
President Trump outlined his plan for “modernizing our immigration system for a stronger America,” where he aims to impose more new security measures at the border, dismantle the asylum process, and vastly scale back the system of family-based immigration which has allowed immigrants to bring their spouses and children to live with them. Over the last two years, this administration’s immigration policy has resulted in a ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, separation of families at the border, closing the border to asylum seekers and an obsessive desire to build a wall along the U.S.—Mexico border.
As Precious Blood Missionaries we are called to have a love and respect for the poor and the vulnerable in our midst and to recognize the dignity in every human being. It is because of this that we are called to advocate for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Our history tells us that this country was built by immigrants who left their homes under difficult circumstances to make a new life for themselves. This administration’s “new” plan does not address the reality of those who are presently fleeing from violence and oppressive poverty. President Trump forgets that America is stronger when we embrace diversity and work together.
The requirements of this new plan are not in keeping with the Gospel of Jesus, who welcomed all people. Therefore, we advocate that we meet the needs of all vulnerable people. This “new” plan sounds very much like the policies of the last two years, which has served as a sad narrative seeking to demonize and dehumanize our immigrant neighbors. We should urge our President and his administration to go back to the drawing board and find solutions for the common good.