Easter 2019: Rise Up

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Coming on up for the rising tonight.

Bruce Springsteen
“The Rising”

Dear Friends,

On Monday of Holy Week, many of us were profoundly moved by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the most treasured places of prayer in the world. The blaze that swept through the cathedral broke our hearts because of its historical, cultural, and spiritual significance. Even those who had never visited this sacred space were moved to tears as there is within us this deep and abiding need for sacred spaces that connect us and hold us in their beauty and majesty.

When the spire came crashing down, many expressed the feeling of profound loss that they experienced when the Twin Towers in New York City fell on September 11, 2001. Though the causes of the destruction were completely different and thankfully no one was killed at Notre Dame, there is this emptiness inside when watching such devastation.

On Good Friday, this emptiness that was named by Paul on Palm Sunday, of Jesus who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness…becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” is captured in our veneration of the cross as we unite our sorrows and the sufferings of the world with the death of Jesus.

Holy Saturday finds us watching and waiting at the tomb, searching for clues, grasping for meaning in the emptiness. This year, Holy Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the mass murder at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. On National Public Radio on Friday, a survivor of the school shooting, Heather Martin, was interviewed by Nathaniel Minor. Heather was a senior at Columbine on April 20, 1999, and recalls being in choir practice when the shooting began. They barricaded themselves in the room until the SWAT team rescued them.

Heather talked about the trauma of that day, of her life spiraling out of control after the shooting, of living with the horrible memory that left a scar upon her soul. After several years, she was able to get her life together but she never wanted to talk about that day. Then, on the 10th anniversary, she went back to Columbine for a memorial service. In meeting with classmates who also survived the day, she realized she was not alone in her need for healing. This was the turning point for Heather as she “went back to college and got her teaching license. She and other Columbine survivors started the Rebels Project, a nonprofit named after their high school mascot.” The focus of the group was to help the survivors of other shootings.

One of those who contacted her was Sherrie Lawson who survived the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Sherrie told NPR she was filled with so much pain that she was on the verge of suicide. But one night she searched for a survivor’s group and found the Rebels Project. Sherrie and Heather began emailing until finally Sherrie flew out to Colorado to meet Heather.

They both remember sitting in the car after supper and talking for three hours while listening to Bruce Springsteen. The song that became their favorite is “My City of Ruins.” Both were deeply moved not only by the music but by the words of the song: “There’s a blood-red circle on the cold, dark ground. The church door’s open, I can hear the organ’s song, but the congregation’s gone.” But Sherrie said it is the end of the song the stirs her soul when Springsteen sings, “Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!” because it reminds her “that you’ve been through this thing, but life goes on. And you can rise up. And it’s not going to be the same, but good things can still happen. And definitely, positive things have happened since.”

Today, Heather and Sherrie have risen from the terrible trauma they have experience in their lives to find new life. Today, they “spend time traveling across the country together to communities affected by shootings.”

This Holy Week has reminded us yet again that though spires may fall in fire and beauty turns to ashes, courage and compassion, hope and beauty will rise up.

This Holy Week has reminded us yet again that though truth can be compromised and even crucified, the Truth will rise up and set us free.

This Holy Week has reminded us yet again that though love can be betrayed, mocked, tortured, and hung out to die on a cross, love will rise up again.

So, friends, may we rise up this Easter to embrace the call of the empty tomb: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised up.”

Rise up, my friends, as we become a New Creation in the Risen Christ! Have a Blessed and Holy Easter season!

Peace in the blood of Christ,

Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S.
Provincial Director

St. Agnes Parish Collaborates With One LA for “Right to Counsel” Proposal

from Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S.
I have been working with One LA and with the Mayor’s office for 2 years on the “right to counsel” proposal for renters. This proposal’s history started at St. Agnes Parish in Los Angeles, where I serve as the pastor. We have done two workshops in the past two years helping our parishioners who are tenants know their rights when it comes to renting and possible illegal eviction. We now in Los Angeles sit on the cusp of a budget proposal to fund this program for the coming year. The following article from One LA’s newsletter explains the latest news conference.

One LA Urges Mayor to Fund a Renters’ “Right to Counsel” 

At a news conference Thursday outside City Hall, One LA and a coalition of tenant advocates pressed for the city to move forward with a “right to counsel” ordinance and called on Mayor Eric Garcetti to allocate $10 million to assist tenants in his upcoming budget.

“We have a humanitarian crisis in our city in regards to homelessness and housing,” said Fr. David Matz of St. Agnes Catholic Church. “In the last ten years we have lost one thousand families from our parish due to these issues. Many of our elderly are forced out of their apartments and left homeless.”

Every year, close to 30,000 people in Los Angeles face evictions. The money from the city would go not only to legal aid, but also to education and prevention, outreach and emergency payments to help keep struggling renters in their homes. The price tag of $10 million would fund the first year of a multi-year timeline to phase it in.

“One LA has worked alongside Mayor Garcetti on the passing of proposition HHH and the linkage fee,” continued Fr. Matz. “Now the LA Right to Counsel Coalition is presenting this strategy to address one of the biggest root problems of homelessness– evictions. We know that Mayor Garcetti is working diligently so we ask him for his support for the “Right to Counsel” and to fully fund it.”

Story in the LA Times

St. Agnes Parish Collaborates With One LA for “Right to Counsel” Proposal

from Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S.
I have been working with One LA and with the Mayor’s office for 2 years on the “right to counsel” proposal for renters. This proposal’s history started at St. Agnes Parish in Los Angeles, where I serve as the pastor. We have done two workshops in the past two years helping our parishioners who are tenants know their rights when it comes to renting and possible illegal eviction. We now in Los Angeles sit on the cusp of a budget proposal to fund this program for the coming year. The following article from One LA’s newsletter explains the latest news conference.

One LA Urges Mayor to Fund a Renters’ “Right to Counsel” 

At a news conference Thursday outside City Hall, One LA and a coalition of tenant advocates pressed for the city to move forward with a “right to counsel” ordinance and called on Mayor Eric Garcetti to allocate $10 million to assist tenants in his upcoming budget.

“We have a humanitarian crisis in our city in regards to homelessness and housing,” said Fr. David Matz of St. Agnes Catholic Church. “In the last ten years we have lost one thousand families from our parish due to these issues. Many of our elderly are forced out of their apartments and left homeless.”

Every year, close to 30,000 people in Los Angeles face evictions. The money from the city would go not only to legal aid, but also to education and prevention, outreach and emergency payments to help keep struggling renters in their homes. The price tag of $10 million would fund the first year of a multi-year timeline to phase it in.

“One LA has worked alongside Mayor Garcetti on the passing of proposition HHH and the linkage fee,” continued Fr. Matz. “Now the LA Right to Counsel Coalition is presenting this strategy to address one of the biggest root problems of homelessness– evictions. We know that Mayor Garcetti is working diligently so we ask him for his support for the “Right to Counsel” and to fully fund it.”

Story in the LA Times

Called to Serve

by Vicky Otto, Precious Blood Companion Director
Congratulations to Celina Companion Charlie Salway who will be ordained a Permanent Deacon this month!
Charlie becomes the fifth permanent deacon who is a Companion. We are grateful to him and to Whiting Companion Leo Barron, Kansas City Companion Paul Muller, Orlando Companion Tommy Tate and Parkfalls / Butternut Companion Bob Schienebeck for making the commitment to serve the Church and the people of God.  We are proud of all of you!

Called to Serve

by Vicky Otto, Precious Blood Companion Director
Congratulations to Celina Companion Charlie Salway who will be ordained a Permanent Deacon this month!
Charlie becomes the fifth permanent deacon who is a Companion. We are grateful to him and to Whiting Companion Leo Barron, Kansas City Companion Paul Muller, Orlando Companion Tommy Tate and Parkfalls / Butternut Companion Bob Schienebeck for making the commitment to serve the Church and the people of God.  We are proud of all of you!

New Mission House Visit

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

Passing through a seven-hour round trip from Xavier House of Formation to the Mission House in Tan Thanh, Bu Dop, Br. Daryl, and I had a short visit with our members and candidates who reside and minister to local parishes there. This mission house is about two miles from the border of Vietnam and Cambodia. It is under the monsoon and tropical weather: dry and hot in the day and cold in the night for months.

There are three old houses occupying in 1/4 of a square acre, which were sold and donated by the previous parishioners who lived there. The strongest impression I saw was a new water well and a huge container tower, built just a week ago, which overlooks tropical fruit and vegetable gardens that are used for the whole community there. In addition, Hoa, and Diep continue to fill regular orders for eggs from their chickens for parishioners and local residents. When we had a luncheon there together, most of the food we ate was organic and healthy, with the exception of a few cans of beer.

Since I had commitments with some parishes in Saigon, we needed to return to the city after praying the rosary together in the chapel in the afternoon. Though it was a short visit to our mission house in Tan Thanh, it left in my heart a joyous feeling, as well as providing me with stories to share in my annual mission appeals this summer.

New Mission House Visit

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

Passing through a seven-hour round trip from Xavier House of Formation to the Mission House in Tan Thanh, Bu Dop, Br. Daryl, and I had a short visit with our members and candidates who reside and minister to local parishes there. This mission house is about two miles from the border of Vietnam and Cambodia. It is under the monsoon and tropical weather: dry and hot in the day and cold in the night for months.

There are three old houses occupying in 1/4 of a square acre, which were sold and donated by the previous parishioners who lived there. The strongest impression I saw was a new water well and a huge container tower, built just a week ago, which overlooks tropical fruit and vegetable gardens that are used for the whole community there. In addition, Hoa, and Diep continue to fill regular orders for eggs from their chickens for parishioners and local residents. When we had a luncheon there together, most of the food we ate was organic and healthy, with the exception of a few cans of beer.

Since I had commitments with some parishes in Saigon, we needed to return to the city after praying the rosary together in the chapel in the afternoon. Though it was a short visit to our mission house in Tan Thanh, it left in my heart a joyous feeling, as well as providing me with stories to share in my annual mission appeals this summer.

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Dennis Coday Joins Precious Blood Renewal Center

Former National Catholic Reporter editor reconnects with his Precious Blood roots to lead programming and marketing efforts for reconciliation center.

Having a lifetime relationship with the Precious Blood community and utilizing over thirty years of journalistic experience, Dennis Coday is excited to join the Precious Blood Renewal Center as Director of Resource and Program Development. Previously working at National Catholic Reporter, Dennis started in 2003 as online editor for the publication. He served as managing editor in 2007 and then editor in chief in 2012.

Coday attended Precious Blood Seminary High School, Rockhurst College and a year of special formation. He is a classmate with Fr. Mark Yates and Fr. Lac Pham. His brother is Fr. Timothy Coday.

“We are excited to welcome Dennis Coday to the ministry team of Precious Blood Renewal Center. Dennis has a long history with our community through his years in formation. He brings with him a wealth of experience in promoting renewal and reconciliation, hope and healing in our church and in our world.”
Rev. Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S., Kansas City Provincial Director

Coday will be working with the Renewal Center staff to develop programing around the four pillars the center’s mission: to be a safe and sacred place to offer healing and hope, renewal and reconciliation for all people. He is also responsible for marketing and promotion of the center’s programs.

“I adopted journalism as a career more than 30 years ago because of my involvement with the Catholic Worker movement and the example of Dorothy Day. The practice of journalism was a channel for my work for peace and justice,” Coday said.

“Working with the Precious Blood Renewal Center, I can continue my commitment to building community and working for a better, more peaceful world that I believe is at the heart of my professional calling,” he said.

Precious Blood Renewal Center is a ministry of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province. It provides hospitality and facilities for individuals and groups who seek rest and renewal. Precious Blood Renewal Center is often used by groups who plan team building, those who seek reconciliation, or individuals looking for personal retreat opportunities.

Dennis Coday can be reached at renewalcenter@preciousbloodkc.org.

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