There is Life in the Blood

A message on the anniversary of C.PP.S. founding from our
Provincial Director Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S.

As we mark another year of life in our Congregation—208 years now since our founding in 1815 by St. Gaspar del Bufalo—my thoughts turn to his thoughts in those early days. How did he envision the future? How did he attract people to the new Congregation and its mission of renewing the Church and the world through the power of the Precious Blood?

Missionaries have been faithful to that mission ever since, with God’s help. We might even say that renewal and reconciliation are just as important today than in Gaspar’s day. We never have to worry about running out of work.

And the Precious Blood family does not run out of energy. Not our Missionaries, not the sisters’ congregations that are also under the banner of the Precious Blood, not our lay associates or those who faithfully support our work.

It is heartening to me to see the many ways that Missionaries carry out their ministry, and the mission of our Congregation. As provincial director, I am privileged to sit with members as they talk about their dreams, plans and preferences. As we talk, we are working together for the good of the Congregation, the good of the Church, and the good of the member. I believe that all of that can be aligned, with God’s guiding hand.

I like the way our Fr. Ben Berinti, C.PP.S., described life as a Missionary of the Precious Blood in a recent article in the Florida Catholic. Fr. Ben spoke of “the joy of being set down smack dab in the middle of daily life with real people trying to find ways to answer the call of Christ to the fullness of life he offers.

“The blood of Christ is all about LIFE…there is life in the Blood.  And so, as a Missionary of the Precious Blood, I am called to lift up life and the saving work of Christ rather than to judge, criticize, offer a negative outlook, lament how terrible the world is, etc. I am called to be a positive force for life and growth, to be a person of hope and encouragement.”

Let us all be people of hope and encouragement. Let us all find life in the Precious Blood of Jesus.

Precious Blood Scholarship Application Deadline Extended

The deadline has been extended until August 15 for the United States Province’s scholarship program, which aids students who wish to attend Catholic schools.

Members and Companions are invited nominate a young person who wishes to attend a Catholic primary or high school for a $1,000 scholarship. Fr. Al Ebach, C.PP.S., will chair a committee that will review the applications and determine the scholarship recipients. Applications are limited to one per member or Companion; family members are not eligible. Access to an application form is below.

May God bless all students and educators as they recharge and prepare for another productive academic year!

Application Form

Fr. James McCabe, 65 Years

The Missionaries of the Precious Blood announce the 65th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. James McCabe, C.PP.S.

Fr. McCabe, 91, a native of Newcastle, Neb., entered the Congregation in 1945 at Brunnerdale, the Missionaries’ former high school seminary near Canton, Ohio. He was ordained on June 1, 1958. In his years as a priest, he has been involved in parish ministry, college administration and leadership of the Congregation.

Fr. McCabe served briefly in parishes after his ordination, then became an instructor at St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio, from 1961-1965. During that time he also served as archivist for the Congregation. In 1965, he became the librarian of Saint Joseph’s College in Rensseleaer, Ind., which is sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He was instrumental in the growth of another college sponsored by the Missionaries, Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond, Ind., where he served first as executive vice president beginning in 1973, then president from 1975–81.

Fr. McCabe returned to parish work in 1982. He served as pastor of St. Mary of the Woods Church in McQuady, Ky., and Immaculate Conception Church in Hawesville, Ky.

In 1987, Fr. McCabe was named pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Celina, Ohio, where he served until 1992, when he was named secretary for the Cincinnati Province. He also served the province as its personnel director, and was a member of its senate. During this time, Fr. McCabe helped found the Amici, a group of former members and students of the C.PP.S. He served as Amici coordinator from 1987 to 2005.

In 1997, Fr. McCabe was assigned to the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio; he was named director of the shrine in 2000, where he served until his retirement in 2001.

In 2002, Fr. McCabe retired to St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio, where he helped at local parishes as long as he was able.

Fr. McCabe has a genial manner and in parish life, generally led by consensus. As a pastor, he was a good listener and effective preacher, often including in his homilies his own foibles, which drew smiles from the pews. Yet he had a powerful intellect and organizational skills. His nickname in the Congregation, given to him while still at Brunnerdale, was Dux (leader).

His is a lifelong love of books—he learned the trade of bookbinding while a student at St. Charles and pursued it as a hobby later in life.

Devoted to his family and the Community, Fr. McCabe always knew how to make connections with others, and keep them connected.

Fr. Donald Thieman Celebrates 70 years

The Missionaries of the Precious Blood announce the 70th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Donald Thieman, C.PP.S.

Fr. Thieman, who at 96 is the oldest living Missionary of the Precious Blood, is a native of Coldwater, Ohio. He entered the Congregation in 1941 at Brunnerdale, the Missionaries’ former high school seminary near Canton, Ohio, and was ordained on June 4, 1953 at St. Charles Seminary, Carthagena, Ohio.

Fr. Thieman spent a few years in parish ministry after his ordination, at St. Anne Church in Toledo and St. Augustine Church in Minster, Ohio.

In 1958, he volunteered for ministry in the Congregation’s mission in Chile (now part of the Latin American Province), even though he was not sure about this step. But Missionaries were being asked to serve in Latin America at the time, so Fr. Thieman waited for God’s direction.

He heard it clearly one day while proclaiming the Gospel during a Mass in Minster, Ohio: “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life (Mt 19: 29).”

He served in Chile for over 50 years.

In Chile, Fr. Thieman was a pastor of churches in Santiago and Valdivia. He served as the director of the Chilean Vicariate from 1970–74. He lived through 17 years of violence after the Pinochet military coup, and helped the people he served survive those times of trial with courage and grace.

In 2012, after 53 years in Chile, Fr. Thieman returned to the United States and now makes his home at St. Charles Center.

During his years in Chile, Fr. Thieman was a steadfast, calming presence to the people of God and to the younger Missionaries who served with him. He taught them how to love the people, even those who weren’t the most lovable. It wasn’t that he didn’t have struggles of his own, ministering so far from home, trying to communicate in a language that did not come easily to him. “I’ve never been a great one with vocabulary,” he said.

His own constant prayer was a simple plea, in Spanish, “Ven, Señor Jesús.” (Come, Lord Jesus.) Whispering that prayer, then listening for an answer, has guided his ministry for 70 years.

In the Realm of Miracles

By Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S.

Today we celebrate the ascension of the Lord. Jesus ascended into heaven body and soul in the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary and his apostles. This is not the first time Jesus was suspended in the air. If we go back to the transfiguration, we see that Jesus was suspended in the air when he was talking to Moses and Elijah.

Many of us may think that supernatural experiences are not needed to needed to inspire our faith. That is true. Jesus said blessed are those who do not see but still believe. Yet we have the Eucharist change into real flesh and precious blood. As Christians, it is not necessary for us to have supernatural experiences, but God still chooses to work in that realm. We do believe a miracle takes place at every Eucharistic celebration. I do believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. To me, the miracle is that the body and blood of Jesus continues to look like bread and wine. Because I know it’s the body and blood of Jesus.

To be honest, I have not had a lot of supernatural experiences. When I was visiting in our parishes in Lima, Perú in 1999, I was being shown around by a fellow C.PP.S. seminarian, Emanuele Lupi. He was later ordained and is now serving as our moderator general—but during that trip to Peru, where he was in ministry, he introduced me to a lady who was a teacher.

Nine years later, I was at Medjugorje when the same teacher approached me, although she did not know it was me. She asked me a question about faith. By then I had been ordained and was dressed as a priest. The miracle was that this lady teacher was from South America and I met her again in Eastern Europe nine years later.

On this solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, our hope is that our souls will ascend to heaven someday. We read in Scripture, “Our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a savior.” This world is a testing ground.

Everything that happened to Jesus will happen to us. We will experience joy, pain, betrayal and new life. You and I are called to extend the mission of Jesus. Jesus ascended into heaven and is interceding for us to continue his mission. Let us give all we have to extend the reign of God. Glory to the Blood of Jesus, now and forever.



Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S., is the pastor of the three parishes in the Catholic Communities of Northwest Dayton, Precious Blood, St. Paul and St. Rita.


A Powerful Passage

By Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S.  

The “Journey to Emmaus” is one of the most well-known stories in the New Testament. It is a vivid story that we can truly connect with. Two downtrodden disciples leaving Jerusalem…an encounter with a stranger to whom the disciples tell the story of Jesus’ death…the stranger relating to the disciples the whole of salvation history…and the climax of recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread. It is truly a powerful passage.

As a homilist, I’ve reflected and preached on this passage numerous times. Each time I highlight a different aspect of the story. Sometimes it is the recognition of Christ in the breaking of the bread, sometimes it is the burning of the disciples’ hearts. Sometimes, my mind is drawn to the image of the “journey on the road.”  The two disciples are leaving Jerusalem and traveling to Emmaus. They are going from one place to another place.

So many stories in Scripture involve a journey. Movement is a vital component of our spiritual life. Scripture is loaded with stories of journeys: Abraham, Moses, Joseph, the journey that led to the Nativity, Jesus’ journey up to Jerusalem, the journey of the first apostles, and the journeys of Paul.

And think about all the journeys we take in our faith, such as the annual journeys of Lent and Advent. There is the journey of coming to faith through RCIA. The formation journey that we all are on, as we move into a deeper and deeper relationship with our God.

The concept of “journey” is rooted in our faith, in part, because we associate it with the idea of progress. As Christians we are on a journey to God. That is what we are doing here on earth. While on the journey we strive to build up the Kingdom of God. As we progress, we grow closer and closer to God. As St. Thomas Aquinas taught, we come from God and we return to God. Fundamentally, life is that journey.

Thankfully, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we do not make this journey alone. We are joined by others who help us when we stumble or take a wrong turn. But most importantly, we are joined by Christ. The First Letter of St. Peter directs us to “conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.”

Our journey continues. Through our redemption in the Precious Blood of Christ, we pray it brings us ever closer to God.

This reflection by Fr. Jeff Kirch, C.PP.S., was originally shared in 2020.

The V. Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., is the provincial director of the United States Province. Previously, he served as the secretary general of the worldwide Congregation and was also in ministry at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., of which he is an alumnus.