Bridging the Past to the Present

Caitlin Caminade and Keven Cheung. Precious Blood Volunteers Alumni

by Caitlin Caminade, Precious Blood Volunteer Alumna (2019-2020)

It was the strangest thing to land back in my hometown after the conclusion of my service year earlier this summer, and to find that I felt like a stranger in a place that was once familiar. I have experienced so much personal and spiritual growth since I last lived here as a teenager, especially within the past year, and current events have only highlighted the differences between who I was then and who I am now. The combined effect of this global pandemic, renewed conversations about racial justice, and tensions of this election year is that there has never been a better time to reflect on our values and actions. For myself, the contemplation was not easy, but it allowed me to see my hometown with new eyes.

It occurred to me that in order to continue living out the values I gained from my volunteer year, seeking out community ought to be one of my priorities. After reconnecting with an old friend, she encour- aged me to come to daily Mass with her. It was after a Mass in August that we ran into Father Carl, the chaplain of campus ministry for the nearby university. Thanks to him, we were able to find other like-minded young adults who were yearning for community, and we began a (virtual) Bible study about the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. This study and recent events have caused me to ruminate on a certain question: how do we look after our neighbor? I believe that most of the conflicts of today come from disagreements about the answer to this question.

In our study, we recently read the parable of the Good Samaritan, and my friend shared a reflection that challenged me to see a new perspective. Of course I would like to see myself in the role of the Samaritan who acts with mercy and generosity. Several times in my life, I have also been like the traveler, in desperate need of mercy. But certainly I have also been like the Jewish priest and the Levite, turning a blind eye to those in need. The call to be a neighbor comes every day, not just the days when we encounter someone in desperate need. So now the question I ask myself is: whose neighbor can I be, here and now?

For myself and the people in my Bible study, we have had to be creative about ways to put our lessons into action because of the restrictions of the pandemic. We’re writing to residents of a local nursing home, donating items to the Catholic Charities resource center, and having sometimes difficult discussions in our circles of influence about how to push for justice for all through electing officials who uphold the values of our faith. Through the support and challenge of this community, I’ve found hope in the other young people around me that even in times of difficulty we can always discern the next right thing to do.

I am also especially grateful for the experiences and skills I gained from the Precious Blood Volunteer program and that I am able to share them with my community now. It has helped me bridge the past and present versions of myself. And since we have no way of knowing what joys or pains the rest of this strange year will contain, I am glad I have a community to journey with.

This reflection originally appeared in the October 2020 edition of the “New Wine Press.”

Caitlin served as a Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Go to preciousbloodvolunteers.org to learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers.

Christ the Redeemer Welcomes All

Christ the Redeemer Stained Glass Window at Most Holy Redeemer Church

By Mike Price, current Precious Blood Volunteer

We are all pieces of the stained glass window of Christ the Redeemer. We are an eclectic group of individuals that come together to form the image of Jesus in the Eucharist as a community.

As a Precious Blood Volunteer, we have great opportunities to serve a widely diverse community of people from all walks of life. I am currently serving at Most Holy Redeemer, also known as MHR, in the Castro district of San Francisco, California.

MHR has a deep rich history associated with the AIDS epidemic. MHR opened her doors and hearts to the Coming Home Hospice across the street from the parish. This was the first-ever recorded hospice house opened that ministered directly to those dying of AIDS. The church community came together and would be their first volunteers to care for those who were rejected by families, friends, and their faith communities. MHR is known for being the only catholic parish in the Archdiocese of San Francisco that ministered and offered the sacraments to those who were dying, including doing up to 16 funerals a day for those loved ones who had passed away. Most of these young men and women died without ever having family or friends to hold their hearts as they were suffering. Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church community was the family and loved ones who held their hearts as they passed from this life to the next. MHR was Christ the Redeemer to many as they were left behind by the world.

Some people would also say that this parish is a pilgrimage site for those who are seeking healing from past hurts. This community is filled with former religious sisters, brothers, and priests. There are far more people who have passed through this community to only get a glimpse of God’s grace and love for them. MHR is home to many all over the world because this is where they were redeemed by Christ’s grace and love for them. This was the place where they met others who were and have been rejected by the church. This is a community that has blurred lines of the marginalized and choose to serve their community well through many ministries that are offered by MHR. This is where God’s inclusive love is given to the brokenhearted. The MHR community takes the broken pieces of their heart and welcomes them as Christ the Redeemer.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church is an eclectic group of redeemed and loved people who come together to form the image of Christ who is our redeemer. We are a community that serves others because we are rooted by Christ the Redeemer.

Mike is a current Precious Blood Volunteer serving at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco, California.
To learn more about becoming a Precious Blood Volunteer go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org

Precious Blood Volunteers Information Sessions for Fall 2020

Join us for one of our upcoming information sessions! Learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers, postgraduate service, and how you can grow while walking with and learning from others.

Past events

 

 

 

Introducing the 2020-2021 Precious Blood Volunteers: Mike Nguyen

Mike was born and raised in Lahaina, Hawaii, and is our first volunteer from Hawaii! He will be serving at both Cristo Rey Kansas City High School and Bishop Sullivan Center. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2020 with a degree in neuroscience and Japanese. This year he will be applying for medical school where he hopes to continue his dream of becoming a doctor.

Why do you want to volunteer?

“I want to volunteer to serve and learn from communities different than my own. In my pursuit of being a doctor, I have seen how important it is to truly understand the people we serve so we can walk with them in compassionate solidarity. By interacting with underserved populations while living simply, I hope to understand those who need help them most. This year I am excited to work as a teacher and mentor so I can prepare myself to be a better doctor who empowers patients to be informed advocates for their own health.”

Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteer Ministry?

“Doing volunteer work has always been something I enjoyed, but I realized during my time in college that I had more to give. Joining Precious Blood Ministry I have the opportunity to help those in need in a sustained and personal way. By living out the Precious Blood Mission to build community and walk with those who suffer, I know I will be able to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. I am extremely excited to serve the Kansas City community, and I know with the support of Tim and the Precious Blood Ministry I will be well prepared to do so.”

What are you looking forward to most?

“I am excited to meet new people and I looked forward to building strong friendships along the way. This year will undoubtedly present me with challenges but I am excited to learn from them and grow from the experiences.”

Learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers at preciousbloodvolunteers.org.

Introducing the 2020-2021 Precious Blood Volunteers: Thomas Weiss

2020-2021 Precious Blood Volunteer, Thomas Weiss

Thomas Weiss will be serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in the Program of Liberal Studies, Notre Dame’s Great Books education.

Why do you want to volunteer?

“The most formative experience of my education was the summer service program I completed after my sophomore year at Notre Dame. Living in intentional community at Hope House and serving at PBMR will hopefully be an equally illuminating and restorative experience for me.”

Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers?

“The values of Precious Blood Volunteers outline the kind of life I hope to live. Commitment to serving those from suffering communities and a drive to redevelop often backward social systems resonate with the direction of my heart as I transition out of college and toward a career informed by Christ’s message of peace and compassion.”

What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?

“I am excited to step out of the classroom and into the real world. Having spent four years mostly reading books and writing essays, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to put my ideals into practice and to learn to sharpen my understanding of social realities through first-hand experience with those living on the south side of Chicago.”

Learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers at preciousbloodvolunteers.org.