We All Must Care for Each Other

picture of Bill Hubmannby Fr. Bill Hubmann, C.PP.S.

In our first session at the members’ gathering in St. Louis in June, we sat at tables in triads and were asked to give a five-minute bio particularly about our lives in community and a significant event or moment as Precious Blood Missionaries.

I told of how in 1985 I arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, Wisconsin just as many young men with HIV/AIDS were coming home from the East and West coasts to die. Since I was the new chaplain, I was asked to take them on as part of my ministry. One, particular young man, “Buddy,” had come home from San Francisco. He arrived at a nearby airport where his family met him. He collapsed while exiting the plane and was brought to the hospital in an ambulance. Buddy was literally covered with Kaposi sarcoma from head to foot. He looked like he had been pummeled all about his face. In the family’s first meeting with the doctors after “Buddy’s” admission they discovered that he was gay, he had AIDS and he was dying. In shock and disgust, his family briefly saw him in his hospital room. He was on a ventilator, sedated, and unable to talk. After seeing him they quickly left the hospital not to return. “It was more than they could take,” they said. On their way out they gave the staff the name of a funeral home, that he was going to be cremated, and that they wanted everyone told that he had leukemia. “Buddy” was abandoned by his family and feared by the medical staff assigned to treat him in Intensive Care. Many covered themselves with all available protective gear. I was assigned as his chaplain and refused to wear anything more than a gown and gloves as protective gear. It just got in the way. “Buddy” had been under the care of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for the last six months. When contacted by the hospital about “Buddy’s” condition, the NIH said that they had nothing more to offer. There was no more that could be done but comfort measures. “Buddy” asked to be taken off the ventilator and let go. For the several days he was in St. Joe’s I sat by his bedside, held his hand, spoke of how he was a beloved child of God and how God would never abandon him. I did all that I could to comfort him. In recalling this instance I realized that it was God, St. Gaspar, and the Precious Blood community that called me to ministry and put me in this place.

Almost as an aside another member of our triad told of how he recently took a carload of Confirmation candidates to do volunteer work at a homeless shelter. It was very much an eye-opening event for him and for the young people. When they got back in the car to head home there was a sudden, unexpected pounding on the window. It was one of the homeless men. The car door opened and this homeless man got down on his knees alongside the car, reached in, and tied the shoelaces of one of the Confirmation candidates. Looking into the eyes of the student the homeless man said: “We all have to take care of one another.” A tear ran down the young man’s cheek as he realized that while he had come to “care for another,” he himself was now the one who was cared for. The one who came to ministered was ministered to.

The call to compassionate accompaniment is part of our Precious Blood DNA.

 

Celebrating the Month of the Precious Blood

by Fr. Jerome Stack, C.PP.S.

As we celebrate the month of the Precious Blood, the following suggestions may be useful.

While St. Gaspar did not leave us an extensive treatise on the Precious Blood, some of his writings and sermons on the topic have been collected by the late Beniamino Conti, C.PP.S., and were published in English translation as Standing at the Cross: The Preaching of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo (C.PP.S. Resources Series 36, 2017).

Another member of the Italian Province, Tullio Veglianti, C.PP.S., has published a book of daily meditations for the month of July. An English translation is available as The Blood of Christ: A Month of Meditations (Missionaries of the Precious Blood, 2018). Each day has a theme that is expressed in a reading from Scripture, followed by a reflection, a reading from a spiritual author, intercessions and a closing prayer. It is suitable for private or group use.

The late Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., has published several books on Precious Blood Spirituality. The most important of these is In Water and in Blood: A Spirituality of Solidarity and Hope, originally published in 1988 and now available in a revised edition (Orbis, 2007).

A book of particular interest to members of religious congregations is Barry Fischer, C.PP.S., The Cry of the Blood: The Challenge of Refounding (Messenger Press, 2004).

I have uploaded several resources to a Dropbox folder which may be of interest. The proceedings of the first three Precious Blood Study Weeks contain a number of articles that deserve attention today, more than 50 years since the third Study Week was held in 1968. John Colacino, C.PP.S., of the Atlantic Province, has compiled a course of readings and prayer for the month based on the structure of the Office of Readings. There is a scripture reading for each day and a reading from a spiritual author. The latter readings are on a three-year cycle while the Bible readings are the same each year. Also in the folder is an article on St. Catherine of Siena and the Precious Blood. The folder may be accessed at   https://bit.ly/3vzfVYW

Finally, there are a number of articles on the spirituality of the Precious Blood on this website, that of the Cincinnati Province (https://cpps-preciousblood.org), and the site of the General Curia (https://www.cppsmissionaries.org).

Tapping the Wine Cellar-July 1, 2021

Please join Fr. Keith, Vicky, and Tim for July 2nd’s Tapping the Wine Cellar! We hope you can take some time to explore the readings for Sunday using this video as a jumping-off point.

Tapping the Wine Cellar-June 24, 2021

Please join Fr. Keith, Vicky, and Tim for June 24th’s Tapping the Wine Cellar! We hope you can take some time to explore the readings for Sunday using this video as a jumping-off point.

Tapping the Wine Cellar-June 3, 2021

Please join Fr. Keith, Vicky, and Tim for June 3rd’s Tapping the Wine Cellar! We hope you can take some time to explore the readings for Sunday using this video as a jumping-off point.