Introducing the 2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteers: Caitlin Caminade

2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Caitlin Caminade

Caitlin will be serving at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She will be living in community at Gaspar Mission House in Kansas City. She grew up in Cebu City, Philippines and Lubbock, Texas. She graduated in May from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biology and a minor in Spanish.

Why do you want to volunteer?

I’m eager to volunteer so that I can shift my focus outside of myself. I feel there is so much I can learn from service, and I see it as an awesome opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?

I love the ministry’s focus on walking with those who suffer and the emphasis on forming and building relationships in the Kansas City community. I’m also glad that I’ll have the support of Precious Blood priests and other volunteers to grow in my faith.

What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?

I am looking forward to being in the clinic and learning about healthcare accessibility, as I hope to go into the medical field in the future. I’m also excited to get to know the community and Kansas City!

Introducing the 2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteers: Keven Cheung

2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Keven Cheung


Keven will serve at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri and will live at Gaspar Mission House. He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Professionals Studies and minors in International Development Studies and Poverty Studies.

Why do you want to volunteer?

“Service has always been an integral part of my life. From serving in different capacities
over the years, I have continuously been humbled and challenged by the people I interact
with. Serving has been a way for me to reconcile my own brokenness with that of
another. My desire to serve comes from a deep desire to grow in love, wisdom and
understanding for the communities I am placed in.”

Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?

“The Precious Blood Volunteers’ four pillars hold the qualities I strive to embody, which
include faith, building community, walking with those who suffer, and seeking
reconciliation. The intersection of faith, service to the marginalized, and clinical
experience is what draws me to the PBV. The PBV program is an opportunity for me to
develop meaningful and life-giving relationships with the communities I live and work
with.”

What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?

“I am excited to be spending a whole year getting to know Kansas City and developing a
genuine appreciation for the various communities within the city. I am also looking
forward to living at the volunteer house and allowing it to become a home for me. I hope
to gain a better understanding of the healthcare system and what it means to be a
physician.”

Hero of Small Deeds

by Koby Buth, Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Heath Center

Growing up, I regularly attended youth ministry events titled something along the lines of, “Be a Hero for Jesus!” The message I heard at those events usually went something like this: “Jesus calls us to be moral exemplars in society. We need to stand out from our peers in a way that points to Christ and brings others to Him. By performing extraordinary acts with extraordinary courage, we will gather attention from society that we will then be able to redirect to Jesus.”

Part of the use of the word “Hero” was, of course, a means of appealing to our ten-year-old imagination: we could be Superman or Wonder Woman. I did not consider, however, how this appeals to our modern obsession with individualism, until I first heard the song “Helplessness Blues” by the band Fleet Foxes. As I contemplated the lyrics over time, the first verse has always been the most striking to me:

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes,
unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
serving something beyond me

While that verse could be interpreted as critiquing the Participation Trophy Phenomenon, I think it more clearly speaks to the desire to contribute in small, cooperative ways to a larger, more meaningful society. Those youth ministry events encourage great individual acts, not small, perhaps menial, acts that add up to something greater than we could do individually. I think that our youth ministers did not want to encourage those particular acts, primarily because they can feel menial. An accountant for a homeless shelter may not feel like she’s contributing much to the world, but that shelter would not exist for very long without her, leading to fewer people getting the services they need.

This volunteer year, I have often felt like a “cog in some great machinery,” which has in some ways left me a little unsatisfied. I have felt the need to begin some great project which will overhaul the way the clinic works and drastically improve the care for our patients. I would love to say that desire comes solely from the care I feel for our patients, but I think some of it comes from a desire to stand out from the crowd—to be a Hero for Jesus. In college, we often had speakers from small organizations come and speak about what caused them to start a nonprofit that helps with human trafficking or world hunger. I often wondered if, instead of having many small organizations dedicated to eradicating a huge social issue like human trafficking, having a few large ones would be able to mobilize more people and more resources. I wondered if people’s desire to be a Hero for Jesus by starting their own organization was a less efficient way of decreasing hunger and slavery in our world than joining a pre- existing one and adding their skills and talents to an already established nonprofit.

People will often say that the desire to be a cog in a machine is fueled by complacency. But I am learning to see the benefits to it. It allows good, helpful organiations to function smoothly. It helps you make significant changes in the world without burning yourself out hunting for the next great idea.

A few months ago, some street evangelists stopped Brooke (my wife, also a Precious Blood Volunteer) and I on our walk home and asked when we were saved. I thought, I don’t think salvation is a one-time thing, I think it’s a process, which is why Paul tells us “work out your salvation.” But, because I knew I would make my wife uncomfortable confronting street evange- lists, I said, “When I was around six.” He then asked, “Does your salvation make you want to go out and evangelize?” My answer was something along the lines of, “Actually, I feel like I usually want to show people what Christ is like rather than telling them.” We then told each other to have a good day and parted ways. These people were looking for big ways to serve Christ, which is good, but I’m trying to find consolation in doing small things, routine things to serve Christ, other people, and the broader creation.

Koby 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

Koby Buth with a patient at KC CARE Health Center


This article originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of the New Wine Press.

Pictures of Hope


by Steven Dougherty, Precious Blood Volunteer

Steven Dougherty is a Precious Blood Volunteer serving at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) in Chicago, Illinois. In the three reflections below, Steven paints pictures of hope he has encountered while working there.

My second week in Chicago was one of the most violent in recent history. Waiting for the bus, I saw a man and a woman talking. They spoke slowly. The air was thick and hot. As she was leaving, the woman leaned in and hugged the man. Then she held him for a moment at arm’s length. She looked him in the eyes, and with worry in her throat she said, “Be safe.” Her words, thick in the hot air. They were desperate wounded words, heavy with fear. This was a command, a salutation, a wish—something impossible, or at least it seemed so at the time. So many people had died. Then she let the man go, freeing him from her temporary protection, hoping her wish would be enough. I thought it was beautiful how much she cared for this man, how well they must have known each other. Then the woman came to me and did the same!

****

In my months of volunteering at PBMR I have witnessed struggle, I have witnessed pain, and I have witnessed loss. I have been asked many times about hope. How can I stay hopeful doing the work I do at PBMR? I struggle with this, because finding hope feels like a privilege. If I say that I have hope that this community I work in will be revitalized and not gentrified, if I say that I hope the people we help can get jobs and will be treated fairly, or if I say that I hope people will stop dying so young, I am doing so only for myself. I think these things because at the end of the day I am tired. I have done what I know I can do, and the rest seems impossible, so I hope. I am not saying this is a bad thing, only that is not the thing I want it to be. Access to hope has become a privilege. It has become a way of distancing ourselves from the responsibility of the world’s problems. Hope for things to get better keeps things the way they are.

But there is another side to all of this, because hope does not have to be something that is stagnant. Hope can move through us and into others. When this happens, when hope draws us together, there is power—power for real change in the world. When people work together with a united vision of hope, when they know exactly what they want to accomplish, hope can be actualized. We can reach out with hope and work together to make sure that everything will be okay, and although it is hard, we do this work anyway.

In my months of volunteering at PBMR I have also witnessed this: a new kind of hope—a hope that does things in the world. It is a hope that people share with strangers. It is mixed with fear and pain, but it is strong enough to overcome them both. Since it was given to me by the woman at the bus stop, I have seen it all over Chicago, I have even used it myself: “Be safe.” There is so much behind these words. They carry a message that you are cared for, and they carry a promise that although there is so much danger that I cannot solve, you have my protection. Anytime someone leaves the Center you hear all of this. Everyone is not always safe. In fact, our participants are rarely safe—but will still hope. We believe the impossible and together we make it a little more possible.

****

The man in front of you seems old but you know that time does not pass here as it does elsewhere, so in the letter to your friend you will call him worn. He is asleep. He has been asleep since you got on the bus, and since you got on the bus, the bus has filled with heat and pressure.

In the letter to your friend you will compare it to the sun—the bus—and now it grows loud. A child begins to scream. The heat and the pressure move through your spine and you feel beyond heavy—you feel worn.
You cannot make out the words of the child. In the letter to your friend the back of the bus will be another world, one that is burning in its closeness to the sun. All you hear is longing. Longing that makes you think to write a letter to your friend. Longing to be heard: the painful pulling apart of a body from its limbs. In the letter, you will call it gun violence in Chicago. The man in front of you who you will call worn, but who you know is old for this bus and the violence, whispers with his eyes still closed, “Hey now, it’s gonna be okay.” You are not sure who he means to say it to, the child or himself. In the letter to your friend he will say it to everyone because “it” is a delicate thing: the bus and the child and your spine and Chicago, but you believe him anyway.

Steven is a current Precious Blood Volunteer serving at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago.
To learn more about becoming a Precious Blood Volunteer go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org
This article originally appeared in the May 2019 edition of the New Wine Press.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019

Lina Guerrero (2018), a current Precious Blood Volunteer, with Sister Donna Liette, C.PP.S. at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation.

We join in celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing reflections from current Precious Blood Volunteers and alumnae. Enjoy!

Brooke Buth (2018)

Lina Guerrero (2018)

Marijo Gabriel (2017)

Lota Ofodile (2017)

Leah Landry (2017)

Alia Sisson (2017)

Brooke Buth praying with students and staff at Cristo Rey KC High School

Jade Bowman (2015)

Patricia Wood (2014)

Vanessa Steger (2014)

Nora O’Connell (2013)

Kara McNamara (2013)

Leah Yeo (2013)

Maggie Nickels (2012)

Bonnie Kane (2011)

To learn more about serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer go to our website www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org