Painting Peace Poles in Chicago

“The boards are primed and are ready to be painted,” were the only words of instruction given to us to paint one of the Peace Poles at PBMR.  During the Vocation Mission/Discernment week that Fr. Steve Dos Santos and I hosted we had the opportunity to experience many different activities of the Center.  Over the past couple of years, different Peace Poles have been hand-painted and placed on the property and around the neighborhood.  Each Peace Pole is made with four panels.  We could either design each one individually or wrap our design around.  As ideas were thrown out, the image of the cup and cross, a tree, a person, and hearts were incorporated into the design.  Isaac, one of the young men, began to pencil in the outline of the tree.  Before he could begin to paint he had to leave for another commitment.  When he returned about an hour later, he was very impressed with the tree and branches we had painted from his pencil lines.  It was awesome to see the smile and look of pride and accomplishment on his face.  Although we were unable to completely finish the Peace Pole, we were assured others would do it for us and it might be placed in front of the Art Studio in the place where a tree once grew.
Interacting with the youth, the young men, and the various mothers who call the Center home, it is great to hear each of their stories but more importantly it was great to hear the stories of their accomplishments and being empowered as leaders.  It was also interesting seeing and hearing the stories of our two inquirers, Travis Bruns from Chickasaw, OH, and Marcus Palacios from Tampa, FL, and their reactions to life in Chicago and the ministry of PBMR.  Both had great insights into pulling things together and understanding the workings of PBMR and recognized how much a culture experience it is.
Both Travis and Marcus helped with the design and drawing of the Peace Pole.  It was amazing watching them take the idea and make it come alive.  Like many of the other young at the Center, it is amazing what can happen and be created when they are giving a chance to express themselves.

World Day of Prayer for Vocations – May 7

The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life, in the particular sense of mission “ad gentes”.
2017 marks the 54th Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Prayers of the Faithful
For young men and women; That God may give them the gift of understanding to discern their service in the Church, the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life; And for the gift of courage to follow His call. We pray to the Lord…
For young people; That they may know the personal love of the Lord for them, and respond with open and generous hearts. We pray to the Lord…
Bulletin Quote
World Day of Prayer will be observed on Sunday, May 7th, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”  The purpose of this day is to publically fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).  Please pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes. You can find many resources to promote a culture of vocations on the USCCB Vocations webpage (
Other Vocation Resources
Vocation Prayers courtesy of
2017 World Day of Prayer for Vocations Papal message

Lenten Retreat–Gathering around the campfire

By Timothy Armbruster, Vocation Director
“Living Like Jesus” is the theme chosen for this year’s Catholic School theme.  Both St Francis Xavier School, in St. Joseph, as well as St. James Catholic School, in Liberty, have been working with this theme for the school year.  In keeping with this theme, this year’s Lenten retreat focused on the word “evangelize.”  As part of the retreat, we played off the simple definition of the word as “story-telling.”  Throughout the day, each student was invited to think about the different ways they learn and they different stories that they know.  How did Jesus teach? Through word and example, through telling stories, through parables.  The retreat focused on gathering around a campfire and telling stories.  What stories do we tell? What stories of our family? What stories of our faith?  It didn’t matter what stories they wished to tell, it was important that they had a story to tell.  Story-telling, evangelizing, begins with knowing our story, knowing the story of our faith and sharing it with others.  As we concluded the day, each student was given a red or yellow flame to write on with the intention of a story to tell and who to share it with.  As each flame was added to the campfire, the flame grew brighter.  Pictured here are middle-school students who are sharing their flames and sharing their story.

Sacred Heart 8th Grade Mission Trip

By Timothy Armbruster, Vocation Director
After 3 days of various service and community building activities, the Sacred Heart 8th Grade Mission trip wrapped up with Mass on the Labyrinth.  It was a beautiful spring morning to be gathered outside.  Our mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the wonderful week of service and a chance to bring together and reflect upon all that happened.  The labyrinth was the perfect place to reflect individually on the service each student did as well as be mindful of the connection and outreach to the larger community.  At various places, the coordinators and supervisors reminded the students although the work they did might have seemed small and insignificant, they may never know the impact that small act of kindness may have in another person’s life.

Sacred Heart 8th Grade Mission Trip

By Timothy Armbruster, Vocation Director
Sacred Heart School 8th grade class and Mrs. Debbie Bolin, Campus Minister, are teaming up with The Missionaries of the Precious Blood and the Sisters of Charity for a 8th Grade Mission Trip in Kansas City. Twenty-three eight grade students will spend time between now and Friday at Harvester’s, Unbound, Seton Center and other places of service.
The students will also work on team building skills at the Tucker Leadership Lab on the Campus of William Jewel College.  The Sister’s will give them a tour of the Cathedral in downtown Kansas City, will explain Eucharistic Adoration to them and have them participate in several activities that are important in the life of the Church. We also have several fun activities planned to include Tour of Chips Chocolate Factory, Aquarium, Crayola store, and a few cookouts.  We will end our day Friday with mass before the students head home.
With some of our activities being outside, we are still hoping and praying for a bit of sun!!!