A New Year’s message from our provincial director, Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S.
I am not one of them, but I have heard about people making New Year’s resolutions.
Usually, these are cast in the first person: I will quit smoking. I will learn a new skill.
I am here with good news: if you hope to grow in wisdom, knowledge, or fortitude in the coming year, you do not have to go it alone.
These gifts come to us through and from the Holy Spirit. Life, we hope, is a long journey of enlightenment. We want to think that we are far wiser than we were 10 or 20 or more years ago.
Was that our own doing? Some of it was, perhaps. But the farthest leaps in understanding always come to us when we plug into the power of the One who created the universe.
So if we want to use this year as a time when we see more clearly and understand more deeply, all we have to do is ask for inspiration and guidance from the Holy Spirit. And then follow the light that the Spirit always provides.
By Fr. Jeff Kirch, C.PP.S., Provincial Director
Francia, Francesco; The Nativity of Christ; Glasgow Museums; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-nativity-of-christ-83994
On behalf of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, serving the people of God around the world, I would like to wish you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas.
“All around the world” has been on my mind. Earlier this month, I was in Rome to attend a meeting about religious life. I am still thinking about all those good men and women who minister to the people of God in so many ways.
Today they are celebrating Christmas in many ways, each according to their culture and customs. But each in awe of the newborn who changed the world for all of us.
The central truth of Christ remains the same across time and cultures. But the way that we embrace the Truth is very personal. The universal and the intimate—it is a paradox that God cares about the whole world and each one of us. God is the creator of the universe and is embodied in a child too young to walk.
Let us all join in this worldwide celebration today with a continual sense of wonder that this miracle is presented to us anew. That we see it through our own eyes, yet share the Good News with all the Earth.
by Jean Giesige, Dayton Office
When the Missionaries of the Precious Blood created their United States Province from the former Cincinnati and Kansas City Provinces earlier this year, they knew they would need a new symbol for this new entity.
The process of creating a new symbol began as it ends, with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
Four Missionaries were asked to participate in a discussion of their own call, their experience of the Congregation, its mission, and their understanding of Precious Blood spirituality.
They did a deep dive into the Congregation’s identity. One question they were asked: If the Congregation was a person, what would be its personality traits? Some of their answers were: “Empathy; a person who really listens; nonjudgmental; integrity; looking at current events and ready to respond in love; respect for others; compassionate; spiritual; humble.”
Their thoughts were distilled and sent to a design firm that came up with the first round of symbol design drafts. The committee of four Missionaries took a long look, rejected a few designs outright, made recommendations on the rest, and set the designers back to work.
The drafts that made it through that initial process went on to the Provincial Council. Council members studied the design drafts, rejected some, and asked the artists to refine others. The drafts went through several more rounds. The council studied not only the symbol design but the words that went with it.
Council members were unanimous on the design that they ultimately chose. Elements of the design include the cup, cross, and covenant. The wine that is filling the cup is both flowing in, representing God’s Spirit infused into the Community, and flowing out to the world. It shows movement, because “Missionaries are not statues,” as St. Gaspar said.
“This process has allowed us once again to talk about who we are and how to present that to the world,” said Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., provincial director. “I appreciate the input of the council and of those four Missionaries who talked so vividly about their vocation and the identity of the Congregation that we all love. The new symbol was born out of all of that. I hope we can embrace it.”
By Fr. Ben Berinti, C.PP.S.
As we celebrate the feast day of our founder, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, the Missionaries in this country do so, for the first time, as the United States Province. That should give us a jolt of energy, since this is our invitation to rebirth, our time of renewal. And our founder was all about renewal, revival and reveling in the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.
Ever since our founding Assembly in June 2022, I keep returning to the image of St. Gaspar as a “child of the Epiphany,” born on that feast day, and continue to contemplate what implications this could possibly have for us as we live out our commitments and covenants to the Congregation and the mission of St. Gaspar for our times.
What a glorious feast of the Church on which to be born, even if it did mean he had to bear the heavy burden of the strange names his parents bestowed upon him, Gaspar Melchior Balthazar del Bufalo Gaspar carried not only the traditional names of the Magi, but he inherited their questing spirit, their vivid imagination, their fearlessness in the face of a grueling journey, and the wonder that they displayed upon finding the incarnate Son of God.
But as much as St. Gaspar embodied the qualities of the Magi, he was not only a “child of the Magi,” but also a “child of the Shepherds.” While the Magi brought their exotic element to the wonder of the Incarnation, they were not the first witnesses to the Word Made Flesh. It was to the working, poor, unwelcome mundane shepherds that the invitation to come and worship was first proclaimed—not by a star, but rather by an angelic chorus.
And yet, these two sets of people, and what they represent in the Gospels, hold one thing in common—something important to our founder. Both the Magi and shepherds lived on the fringes of the society and culture into which the divine was incarnated. And this reality also finds its way into the heart, soul and zeal of St. Gaspar.
St. Gaspar leaves us the task of also embodying a life on the fringes, a life reaching out beyond the rigid boundaries so many want to create in our day—a mission that not only looks to the stars for big and bold dreams, but also a mission that has its feet firmly planted on the ground where the less than exotic needs of our brothers and sisters still cry out for the Word Made Flesh.
As a child of the Magi, St. Gaspar truly lived the meaning of the great feast of the Epiphany—recognizing the divine presence, especially in the Blood of Christ, dwelling within our world and us. And he not merely recognized it but responded to that revelation by offering his unique gifts for the renewal of God’s people.
May we honor our founder today and each day going forward by doing the same!
Fr. Ben Berinti, C.PP.S., is a provincial councilor with the United States Province. An author, preacher and pastor, he is in ministry in Melbourne Beach, Fla.