Two Members of Vietnam Mission Ordained Deacons in Rome

by Fr. Garry Richmeier, C.PP.S., Kansas City Provincial Director

The Kansas City Province and Vietnam Mission are pleased to announce the diaconate ordination of Paul Hao Pham and Vincent Hoa Vu Thai of the Vietnam Mission. The ordinations took place on November 10, 2019, at Corpo e Sangue di Cristo Church in Via Narni, Italy. Bishop Gianpiero Palmieri, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rome ordained Hao and Hoa.

Paul Hao Pham Xuan Anh studied language and law at university and worked for Sanyo Electric Company prior to joining the Missionaries of the Precious Blood Vietnam Mission in 2009. He graduated with a degree in theology from the Dominican Center in 2017. Currently, he serves as the co-director of the Vocation Team for the mission and serves in ministry at Tan Thanh Parish.

Vincent Vu Thai Hoa is originally from Dong Nai Province in Vietnam. He was a music teacher prior to beginning his studies in theology at the Dominican School. In July of this year, he was appointed as local director of Than Thanh Mission and codirector of the Vocation Team. He also serves as the treasurer of the Vietnam Mission.

On behalf of the Kansas City Provincial Council, I sincerely request all in the Precious Blood community to remember Hao and Hoa in prayer. May the blood of Christ continue to bless them in their faith journey.

Celebration of the Feast of St. Gaspar in Vietnam Mission

by Fr. Dien Truong, C.PP.S.

On the Feast of St. Gaspar, members of the Vietnam Mission, ASC members, local diocesan priests, candidates, and friends gathered together in our mission of Tan Thanh (about 100 miles away from Xavier House) to celebrate the Mass and have a dinner party following.

At this event, I’ve learned that our members and candidates have developed their friendships quickly. It gives us opportunities to expand our mission by establishing the very first group of Companions or working in ministries where we find the most need of renewal and the spirituality of the Precious Blood, which has never been known.

If the dream of St. Gaspar was to have a thousand tongues to proclaim the blood of the Lord, today, we need a thousand hands to serve those who thirst and hunger for God’s love.

Community Connections

by Denise Murrow, Director of Precious Blood Resource Services

On October 25, 2019, Community Connections Coalition held a resource fair at the Good Samaritan Center in Excelsior Springs for those in need. Precious Blood Resource Services(PBRS) was one of twenty other service providers who participated in the fair. Those who attended were assigned a companion to walk with them as they visited with the service providers that could meet their needs in the areas of housing, mental health, physical health, employment, and many other services. Attendees were able to pick out any clothing that they needed. Free haircuts were given, and lunch was provided by the culinary school at Excelsior Springs Job Corps. One woman and her husband who attended was very excited about the fair. She stated that she and her husband were homeless and walked all the way from Texas and came to Excelsior Springs. She said that a few agencies who were at the fair, including Good Samaritan Center, helped them with resources such as clothes, food, emergency assistance, and moral support. Now they both have jobs and a home to live in. Overall, the fair was able to help 78 people from 30 households.

The coalition holds this resource fair twice a year and is hosted by the Good Samaritan Center who provides emergency financial assistance, a food pantry, clothing, senior services, and special programs. Transportation has always been a major issue in the rural areas of Missouri such as Excelsior Springs. These fairs allow those who are low income, homeless or at risk of being homeless in Excelsior Springs to have access to services without having to travel long distances to get to agencies that can assist them.

Presentation Notes from Companion Retreat

Many of the people who attended the Companion Retreat at Saint Charles wanted to share the information that Fr. Tim McFarland presented with their Companion Groups. He has graciously given us a copy of his presentation. Click here to view.

Companion Retreat at Saint Charles

Companions and members gathering at Saint Charles the weekend of October 26 / 27, 2019 for their retreat led this year by Fr. Tim McFarland, C.PP.S. Fr. Tim led the group in a thought provoking and at times energetic conversation about how to discern their role in the New Creation. At Mass on Sunday four Companions made their first covenants with the community: Chris and Ruth Bodyke from the Marywood Companions, Josie Santos from the Columbus Companions and Greg Kulas from the Whiting Companions. In addition, 25 Companions renewed their covenants with the community. Thanks to the community of Saint Charles for their warm and welcoming hospitality.

 

Faith in Action

2019-2020 Precious Blood Volunteer, Caitlin Caminade

by Caitlin Caminade, Precious Blood Volunteer at KC CARE Health Center

Two months in, it seems I have found a new rhythm. Whereas in the first few days
at KC CARE Health Center, it felt like I was stepping onto a treadmill that is already set at a sprinting pace, now I feel as though I am in sync with the rest of the team. I am extremely grateful for the patience of my coworkers, as they trained me on how to use the electronic records system, taught me the lingo, and showed me how to care for our patients. Throughout all this, they have kindly reminded me that making mistakes is part of the process.

I was recently reminded of the purpose of this process by some readings at Mass. In the gospel of Luke, the disciples ask the Lord to increase their faith. A simple enough request, I thought, and one that I have pleaded before in the moments when I felt guilty for faltering so easily. I think it is an instinct to think that more of something will always fix the issue at hand. How often I have wished to be more steadfast, more consistent in prayer, and how rarely I have truly appreciated the gift of faith. Because through faith, no matter how small, God can still reveal the truth and work through me.

And what if you don’t have more? At the clinic, this question is asked every day, figuratively speaking. After all, people come there in their hour of need, often quite aware of the socioeconomic systems that have made them vulnerable. This is where I must meet them.

However brief my encounter with the patient may be, I am right there beside them to face that with them. It’s a moment of rawness and realness that never leaves me unaffected. And while it does take a toll, I hope I never get used to it or take it for granted. My experience volunteering at the clinic has so far motivated me to think of healthcare as a ministry.

On October 4th, St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day, I was reminded of the Peace Prayer (an old favorite of mine) that is often attributed to him, and I have taken a lot of strength from it. To be an instrument of peace in the face of so much hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, sadness—a goal for the rest of my service year and be- yond. And I have still so much to learn! About providing healthcare as a profession and as a business, about how to put my faith into action, about how to be a bold Christian witness. I ask for your continued prayers for us volunteers as we continue our year of service.

Caitlin 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

Precious Blood Ministries Team up to Support Parents

by Dennis Coday, Director of Program Development, PBRC

Precious Blood Resource Services and Precious Blood Renewal Center are teaming up to help people faced with the challenges (and joys!) of raising children.

The two provincial ministries will be hosting Parent Cafes that are open to anyone who has the responsibility of raising children: parents, grandparents, foster parents, aunts and uncles, even older siblings.

Participants are being recruited through community channels, local school districts, and social service agencies in the Liberty-Kansas City north area. At the Parent Café, they join in a series of structured, small-group conversations that promote peer-to-peer learning and deep self-reflection.

The small-group conversations are facilitated by leaders who have been trained in the Parent Café protocol and procedures. Childcare is provided, so participants can fully join in the discussions. A meal is also available for families to share before the program begins.

The first Café at Precious Blood Renewal Center is Nov. 5, 12 and 19. Other cafes will be scheduled in the winter and spring.

The idea of the café is not to dispense parenting advice, but to promote networking and sharing among new and experienced parents so that solutions can be found in the wisdom of the group, said Denise Murrow, a Precious Blood Companion and director of Precious Blood Resource Services.

Murrow learned of the Parent Café concept through her contacts in the family social services agencies in the area and thought hosting a café at Precious Blood Renewal Center would be an ideal set up.

Precious Blood Resource Services is a ministry of accompaniment, Murrow said, so the idea of accompanying people who raise children through the Parent Café seemed an ideal project to adopt. And the Renewal Center – with its large, beautiful gathering space and kitchen facilities — seemed an ideal place to host a café.

“It’s a way for our two ministries to build bonds in the community, with other social service agencies and with individuals in the community,” Murrow said. “Isn’t that what the New Creation is about?” she asked. “All of us collaborating together?”

Murrow brought the idea to the Renewal Center team, who embraced it with enthusiasm.

“It’s a perfect fit for the mission of the Renewal Center,” explained Lucia Ferrara, Hospitality Director of Precious Blood Renewal Center. “We say we are a safe and sacred place for healing and reconciliation. [The Parent Café] will be for the parents a safe place to express their ideas, concerns and fears about parenting.”

“They also know that what they say here, stays here. And they know [what they say here] will be accepted,” Ferrara said, “When they leave, they will leave with a renewed spirit because of solidarity with other parents who have gone through the same things.”

“We want families, parents, grandparents to feel welcomed. We want the community to come together for the good of the kids,” said Ferrara, who has completed training to host the café and facilitate table discussions.

Companion Mary George has also completed the Parent Café training and will be working with Murrow and Ferrara to host the cafes at the Renewal Center. “When Denise came to me with the information about Parent Café I felt a calling to ‘Step out, Stand up and Speak clearly about the Precious Blood of Jesus,’ which, as you know, is part of our Companion Vision Statement,” George said.

“Being a part of Parent Café is a way for me to bring hope and renewal to families in my community,” she said.

Ferrara also has a personal reason for welcoming the Parent Cafes. She and her husband, Michael, fostered children in their home for several years. “At that time, we weren’t given any resources that could have helped us out,” she said. Sometimes, they felt isolated and on their own.

“I wanted to be part of something that helps parents be aware that others are going through similar things,” Ferrara said. “Every family has its own set of challenges, but [the Parent Café] lets people know they aren’t alone in the experience of raising children.”

George, too, brings past experience to the Parent Café. “I was a Stephen Minister for several years at St. James–Liberty and learned to walk with people who were dealing with difficult life situations,” she said. “A major part of the walk was listening and not judging, which are two of the Parent Café Agreements that are explained at the beginning of each Café.”

Ferrara also likes how the cafes are structured. “We’re not telling people what to do or how to be good parents.”

The Parent Café, she said, “draws on the wisdom that is found in all of us. Finding that wisdom and being able to share it with others — sharing in each other’s wisdom — that’s how the café works.”

Details about the Parent Café can be found here.

If you know someone who might be interested in attending the café, direct them to this webpage to register or to get more information.

If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity with the café, contact Murrow or Ferrara.

The project is supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Saint Gaspar Celebration in Missouri

Members and Companions gathered at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Saint Joseph to celebrate the feast of Saint Gaspar on Sunday, October 27. During a prayer service Jeanne Keck, Dee Baker, TR Lee and Ed Franz from the Liberty Companions made their first covenants with the Precious Blood community yesterday at our St. Gaspar feast day celebration. Congratulations also to St. Joseph Companion Cayetana Maristela who renewed her covenant. The Saint Joseph Companions as well as Fr. Joe, Fr. Bill and Fr. Lac offered wonderful hospitality for this special day.

 

Precious Blood Resource Services Participates in KCPD Outreach Event

PBRS at KCPD event

PBRS Volunteers talk with a child who attended the outreach event

PBRS volunteers at KCPD event-2

Denise Murrow, Officer William Keeney, Mary George, and Dee Baker

by Denise Murrow, PBRS Director

One of Kansas City’s biggest community outreach events of the year, Kansas City United Against Crime, took place on October 5, at six different locations throughout Kansas City. Precious Blood Resource Services (PBRS) participated at the Eagle Heights Baptist Church event in North Kansas City. It was hosted by the Shoal Creek Patrol Division of the Kansas City Police Department.

The event provided food, activities for children, police displays, and representatives of community resource organizations. Those in attendance included medical, mental health, financial, crime prevention and other vendors who help the community. Precious Blood Resource Services participated by helping attendees connect with services like rent assistance and medical exams. PBRS volunteers not only gave time with those with immediate need but also gave them assurance of follow-up calls after the event.

Precious Blood Connections to Vatican’s Amazon Synod

by Dennis Coday

You’ve probably seen news about the synod of bishops meeting at the Vatican this month to discuss issues that impact the church in the Amazon region of South America. (See for example, Pope Francis opens Amazon synod, says to ‘light the fire of the Gospel’ in the region.)

But did you know there is a strong Precious Blood connection to that meeting?

That connection is Bishop Erwin Kräutler.

Precious Blood Bishops Erwin Kräutler was honored in 2010 with the “Right Livelihood Award” for a lifetime of defending the amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples. Photo courtesy of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

The 80-year-old Austrian was ordained a priest for the Society of the Precious Blood in 1965 and began missionary work in Brazil. In 1980, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Xingu in central Brazil. Today that territorial prelature has some 382,650 Catholics in 15 parishes served by 33 priests and 41 women religious. That is an average of 11,954 Catholics per priest.

Xingu, named for the Xingu River which winds through it, is in the very heart of the Amazon.

Kräutler retired in 2015, but remains active, most recently as part of the preparatory council appointed by Pope Francis ahead of the synod on the Amazon.

It was Kräutler who in April 2014 broached the idea with Pope Francis of ordaining “mature married men from indigenous communities” to the priesthood to ensure Catholic communities in remote areas have regular access to the sacraments.

Pope Francis, according to media reports later confirmed by the missionary bishop, told Kräutler that he would examine the issue if a national conference of bishops proposed it to him. So later that year,  Kräutler and Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes presented the idea of ordaining married community elders to Brazil’s National Conference of Bishops, which formed a commission to delve deeper into the matter.

The idea of ordaining so called “viri probati,” literally “tested men,” was include in the instrumentum laboris, or working document, of the synod on the Amazon, ensuring that it will be discussed sometime in the next weeks. Furthermore, Hummes is the “relator,” or the person appointed by Pope Francis to guide the bishops at the in the synod of the Amazon.

“The question, then, is how can we provide [Sunday] Eucharist to all communities, or at least during the important Catholic festivities, such as Easter and Christmas,” Kräutler said in a radio interview last month.

“Priests appear in some of these communities two, three times per year. It is unbearable,” he said.

But Kräutler adds that the discussion of ordained married men is just one small part of the synod’s agenda. The synod will also address “integral ecology.” He said Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, was like a working manual for those preparing the synod.

Besides evangelization (what Kräutler described as “new paths for the church”) the synod will take up themes found in Laudato Si’, like concern for marginalized people and protection of the environment.

These are themes very familiar to Kraulter. In his more than five decades in the Amazon, Kräutler has often spoken against unchecked development, corporate farmers and ranchers, and loggers who degrade the Amazon forest. According to Catholic News Service, Kräutler has been on a hit list for at least a decade and has been under police protection.

Kräutler was instrumental in helping bring to justice the killers of American Sr. Dorothy Stang, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who was assassinated in 2005 because of her work with landless peasants in the Amazon region.

In 2010 he received the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel Prize, “for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction.”

So as you follow news accounts of this synod, remember its Precious Blood connections.

[Dennis Coday is director of program development for the Precious Blood Renewal Center in Liberty.]