Genuine Love

by Maggie Roth, PBMR Intern

Before coming to Chicago, I lived in areas with socioeconomical privileges. During my first weeks here, I remember a sort of culture shock. I tried to wrap my mind around meeting a single mother who was trying to take care of her children, find childcare so she could work, pay bills, put food on the table, and keep the house together. My heart broke hearing about the fear people around me experience day to day, aware of the violence that surrounds them. As I became more aware of these challenges, I also started to see the beauty in the strength and vulnerability that people shared so freely every day. 

Five months later, when asked to reflect on my time here, the first thing that comes to mind is genuine love. The love with which I see people treat one another and the love that connects with the hospitality, hope, and healing I’ve seen at pbmr is inspiring. This is clear as mothers and the youth introduce their friends and family members to the larger pbmr family. It has been a blessing to see how safe spaces make it possible for people to walk through life together, build relationships, and receive services to move forward. 

In my time here, developing relationships has by far been my favorite part. The youth who come to the center often remind me of my siblings. We try different recipes making pizza, cookies, and pie. We spend time playing basketball, going to the lake, and getting into some deep conversations. I leave every conversation in awe of their perspective and insight. The first time we went to the lake, the guys were sharing their experiences with police. One mentioned he was willing to bet that at some point, the cops would stop us to make sure I wasn’t being kidnapped. Another day, a group of us were sitting around the table and someone asked what my friends and I would talk about. It led to a conversation on how everyone was doing mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As always, they surprised me with their answers and suggestions. Someone commented that a walk helped him when he’s upset or stressed, and many mentioned music—two things that I can relate to.

“What would you do if someone you loved was murdered?” two young men asked casually one evening. I had never considered this before, but it became clear they had thought about it for years. We talked about living in a way to honor the loved one, being there for family, and the pain of losing someone. We discussed violent and nonviolent options and what the repercussions could be. They explained that for them retaliation comes from a place of love and protection, rather than the revenge and anger I was expecting. One of the young men felt he would be responsible for stopping whoever was inflicting harm, because if he didn’t, they could do it again to someone else. He seemed conflicted as he explained, “Then his people would come after me, and my people after his people…”

I continue to think about these conversations. A year ago, I never would have asked any of these questions about protection, safety, police, or profiling. It seems a cliché, but I wonder what Jesus would have done. I imagine Him meeting Zacchaeus where he was and acknowledging his human dignity. It reminds me of what I have learned about restorative justice: that people need to be able to speak their truth and have their voices heard in a space where everyone is treated with respect. It provides a safe space to addresses issues, hold people accountable for their actions, give everyone a chance to heal, and an opportunity to repair relationships. It provides a space for relationship, friendship, care, and most of all genuine love.

This article appears in the New Wine Press, February 2021.

2021 Human Development Fund Application Available

by Fr. Joe Uecker, C.PP.S., Human Development Fund Chairperson

The application for the province Human Development Fund is available for 2021. The application packet is available at the link below. Completed applications are due by April 15, 2021.

The criteria for the Human Development Fund include demonstrated need and a connection to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Requests up to $10,000 can be requested. Projects in the United States not directed by C.PP.S. or A.S.C. members will be funded for a maximum of three years. After that, the project leaders are to seek funding from other sources. Other projects will be judged on an individual basis. Human Development Fund awards will be announced in July 2021.

Lenten Lecture Series Video 1, From the Wilderness to the Mountaintop: Looking for Hope Along the Way

February 23, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S. From the Wilderness to the Mountaintop: Looking for Hope Along the Way
image of Fr. Joe Nassal
February 23, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S. From the Wilderness to the Mountaintop: Looking for Hope Along the Way
image of Fr. Barry Fischer
March 2, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. Barry Fischer, C.PP.S. Redemptive Suffering: Finding Meaning in Suffering
image of Fr. Dennis Chriszt
March 9, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S. Facing Stumbling Blocks and Foolishness Along the Way
picture of David matz
March 16, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S. From the Wilderness to the Mountaintop: Looking for Hope Along the Way
image of Fr. Denny Kinderman
March 23, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Fr. Denny Kinderman, C.PP.S. Lament: Expressing Grief in Community Gives Hope
image of Fr. Keith Branson
March 30, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT
Fr. Keith Branson, C.PP.S.
Finding Hope with Mary at the Foot of the Cross
The Zoom reflection sessions will be available on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. ST. To participate in those, please register below.

Virtual Masses

Wondering where you can attend Mass virtually? Here’s a list of Kansas City Province parishes, and others who offer Mass online. They livestream via Facebook, so you’ll need an account to view the Masses live.

St. Mary of the Visitation, Ottumwa, Iowa, https://www.facebook.com/StMaryChurchinOttumwa/

St. Mary’s, Centerville, Iowa, https://www.facebook.com/stmaryscentervilleiowa/

St. Mary’s, Albia, Iowa https://www.facebook.com/StMarysAlbia

Most Holy Redeemer Parish, San Francisco, California https://www.facebook.com/mhrsf/

St. James Parish, Liberty, Missouri https://www.facebook.com/StJamesLibertyMO/

St. James Parish, Kansas City, Missouri https://www.facebook.com/stjamesmidtown/