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.


The Benefits Outweigh the Cost

Sr. Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS

The Gospel readings for the eight Sundays of Easter are an awe-inspiring movement from Jesus to us. The first three Sundays focus on the risen Christ and proclaim his appearances to the disciples. The Fourth Sunday of Easter reassures us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will always remain with us and care for us.

However, when we come to the last three Sundays before Pentecost, there is a shift in time, place and person. Instead of encountering the risen Christ, these Sundays move to Jesus’s farewell discourse to the disciples at the Last Supper, and shift in person from Jesus to us, preparing us for Pentecost Sunday and the descent of the Holy Spirit. These Sundays challenge us to take up Jesus’ saving, loving mission as his faithful disciples.

This Sunday’s Gospel begins with Jesus stating “If you love me … ” If implies a free choice. Jesus does not force us to love him or his Father. We choose to love God and each other because that love establishes a unique relationship opening us to the Holy Spirit dwelling within each of us. It is a relationship that promises us a share in the same risen life that Jesus has been given by his Father and that binds us to God and each other in a marvelously intimate way.

So, while if implies a choice, why would we not make the choice to love God and each other? The benefits—especially the promise of eternal life—far outweigh the cost! The more we grow in our love for God and each other, the easier it becomes to keep God’s commandments and be faithful to God’s will. Jesus’ love for us promises that he will not leave us orphans and so we can be confident to whom we belong. We can be confident of the loving relationship that Jesus extends to us. We can be confident that our love draws us deeper and deeper into the mystery of God’s life and love that is so freely and lavishly given to us.

At the Last Supper, knowing full well the ordeal of suffering that he would soon undergo, Jesus’ heart was turned to his disciples: instructing them, offering them hope, loving them with all his very self could give. Yet, freely choosing to love God and others can have a cost. The cost to Jesus was to be nailed to a cross. The cost to us is to be nailed to the Gospel, living the kind of love that Jesus showed us in his life and ministry. Let us love one another as Jesus loves us: totally, freely, life-giving. If we love God and others? How can we not?


Sr. Joyce Ann Zimmerman, C.PP.S. is the director of the Institute for Liturgical Ministry in Dayton, Ohio.

The Good Shepherd is also the Gate

By Fr Tim McFarland, C.PP.S.

A couple of years ago when I was in ministry in Mercer County, Ohio, I had prepared my homily for this Good Shepherd Sunday and noted how perhaps it was (is) difficult for us to identify with this Gospel as we don’t see sheep much – even in the agricultural area of Mercer County. And wouldn’t you know it, as I was driving to have Mass at Rockford, Ohio, what did I see: a herd of sheep!

One of the oldest images of Jesus is of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The image resonated with many during the early years of Christianity. It portrayed Christ as the Good Shepherd carrying a sheep over his shoulders, an image that provided comfort to the persecuted followers of Christ. The image still resonates with many even today as it appeals to our sense of belonging and of being comforted in complex and sometimes hostile times.

The Gospel speaks about the sheep and the shepherds and though many of us don’t often see sheep, we can identify with elements of the Gospel. At its core, this Gospel is about relationships and that is something we all have. Jesus speaks of the relationship the shepherd has with his sheep – he knows them and they know him.

History tells us that all the sheep were kept together in a big sheepfold where the various shepherds had brought their small herds. Without brands, without markings of any kind, you might ask how each shepherd gets back the sheep that belongs to him or to his boss?

The shepherd calls each of his flock by name. He has been with them on the hillside, so he knows the one with the nick in its ear, the one with the pretty face, the one that limps. There is a name for each one because they are not just a herd; each has a personality that is special, just like human beings.

The bond of love uniting us is based on the love that unites the Father and Jesus. Our new existence is founded on God’s unbreakable love and faithfulness. We have to attune our minds to the sound of his voice.

In this analogy, we hear Jesus describe the depth of love he has for his flock – us. He lays down his life for them and for us. By shedding his Precious Blood, Jesus has given us new life. Now we are challenged to do the same. It is rare that we literally lay down our lives, but there are small ways we lay down our lives, for example, giving time to listen or be with others in their need, etc.

Jesus is not only the Good Shepherd, He is also the Gate into the fold. To be a sheep that is Christ’s, a person has to open to the love of the Lord. He or she has to go within Jesus, through Jesus, who is the Gate and the Way, as well as being the leader along the way. There are many voices that vie for our attention these days we have to be open to and listen for the voice of our shepherd. It is the call of love and challenges us to speak the same to others.

Here is the good news, then. Whether a person is faithful or astray, he will be surrounded by the love of the Good Shepherd. St Patrick’s prayer says it well: Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ with me.


Fr. Tim McFarland, C.PP.S., is the director of ministry and mission and serves on the faculty at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind.


Fr. Edgar Jutte, C.PP.S., 1935-2023

Fr. Edgar Jutte, C.PP.S., 88, died at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, April 10, 2023, at St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, Ohio, where he had been a patient for several days. He died of complications following a fall at St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio, where he made his home.

He was born on March 21, 1935, in St. Peter, Ohio, to Theodore and Mary (Dorsten) Jutte. He entered the Congregation in 1949 at Brunnerdale, its former high school seminary near Canton, Ohio, and was ordained on June 9, 1962.

After his ordination, Fr. Jutte was an assistant pastor at Precious Blood Church in Fort Wayne. In 1965, he volunteered to serve in the Peruvian mission.

Fr. Jutte returned to the United States in 1973, then served as a chaplain at the Maria Stein convent of the CPPS Sisters. From 1974-75, he ministered at Precious Blood Church in Fort Wayne. He became an associate pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Ottawa, Ohio, in 1976.

In 1978, Fr. Jutte returned to Latin America, this time to minister in Chile. He then returned to Peru in 1982, when he was assigned to ministry in La Oroya, a mining town far above the tree line in the Andes.

An injury forced his return to the United States in 1993. He served in parishes in Mexico from 2000-2013, when he retired to St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio, where he lived for 10 years.

Fr. Jutte is survived by his only sister, Madonna Brunswick, Coldwater, Ohio; his brother, Thomas Jutte, Sidney, Ohio; a sister-in-law, Dorothy Jutte, New Bremen, Ohio; and several nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by brothers Mark Schwieterman and his wife, Rosemary; Orval Schwieterman and his wife, Helen; Roger Schwieterman and his first wife, Dorothy, and his second wife, Dolores; his brother, Donald Jutte; brother-in-law John Brunswick; and sister-in-law Vivian Jutte.

Fr. Edgar had a strong constitution and strong faith to go with it. When he served in La Oroya, he took on ministry in small, remote villages, hiking out with only a few necessities. That was the way he lived out his vocation. But he also nourished it; he enjoyed reading theological texts and then discussing new ideas with his fellow Missionaries.

He was devoted to the people of God and to his religious congregation. Missionaries would play cards some evenings and trade stories about legendary C.PP.S. Missionaries of yore. Fr. Edgar would comment, “Well, the age of characters is gone.”  and his fellow members would respond, “Sure they are!” They would cast significant looks at Fr. Edgar, who never minded jokes and pranks at his expense. Quick witted, he would wait for an opportunity to pay them back in kind.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 18 at 2 p.m., with Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., provincial director, presiding. Fr. Tom Brenberger, C.PP.S., will be the homilist. Burial will follow in the Community cemetery.

Calling hours at St. Charles will be held in the Gaspar Room on Monday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Tuesday until the beginning of Mass.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, United States Province.

Fr. Joseph Hinders, C.PP.S., 1936-2023

Fr. Joseph Hinders, C.PP.S., 86, died at 3:50 p.m. Saturday, April 8, 2023, at St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, Ohio, where he was being treated following a fall at St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio, where he made his home.

He was born on November 18, 1936, in Celina, Ohio, to Homer and Emma (Pax) Hinders. He entered the Missionaries of the Precious Blood at Brunnerdale, their former high school seminary in Canton, Ohio, in 1951, and was ordained on June 8, 1963.

Fr. Hinders taught at Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa, Calif., after his ordination. He ministered at St. Joseph Parish in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and Holy Rosary in St. Marys, Ohio, before volunteering for the Missionaries’ mission in La Oroya, Peru in 1966.

He served there for four years before returning to the U.S. in 1970, when he was appointed an instructor at Brunnerdale. In 1981, he was transferred to Florida where he ministered to farm workers in the Diocese of Orlando. He also ministered at Resurrection Church in Winter Garden, Fla. He returned to Ohio in 1984 then ministered to the Hispanic community in Dayton.

In 1988, he requested a leave from the Community. He was laicized in 1994. In 1990, he married Mercy Escobar. He and Mercy lived first in South St. Louis where he worked for the St. Louis Department of Corrections, then in El Salvador, where he taught English. Mercy died in 2007.

In 2009, he requested to be reincorporated with the Missionaries. He received permission and was definitively incorporated and reinstated as a Missionary of the Precious Blood on May 25, 2010. He served as parochial vicar at St. James the Less Parish in Columbus from 2010-13 then retired to St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio. There, he helped tend the Community garden and ministered in area parishes as needed, particularly at St. Bernard Church in Burkettsville, Ohio.

He is survived by his adopted son, Juan Carlos Hinders, Baltimore; his sister, Marita (Gene) Pitstick, Akron, Ohio; a sister-in-law, Doris Hinders, Kettering; and numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother John, John’s first wife, Jean, and his second wife, Virginia; his brother Urban; and sisters Mary (Richard) Rutledge and Louise Hinders.

Fr. Hinders had a searching mind and a wry wit. His gentle, introspective nature did not mean he wasn’t paying attention; his observations were usually on-target yet never to be feared. He was extremely kind and appreciated anyone who walked into the room. He liked taking care of people, and enjoyed his association with St. Bernard Parish in his later years. He wanted to be of service.

He also appreciated God’s creative powers, especially in the form of flowers. He was a conscientious gardener who knew how to make things bloom. Even when his physical strength ebbed and he was no longer able to spend much time outdoors, he surrounded himself with pictures of flowers, a reminder of hope and grace.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, April 17, at 2 p.m., with Fr. Andy O’Reilly, C.PP.S., presiding. Fr. Jim Gaynor, C.PP.S., will be the homilist. Burial will follow in the Community cemetery.

Calling hours at St. Charles will be held on Sunday, April 16 from 1:30-7 p.m., and Monday until the beginning of Mass.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, United States Province.

A New Seal for the New Province

In the 1850s, a craftsman named Henry Rice of Massachusetts decided he would do better as a stencil-maker in Ohio, and so, legend has it, he walked all the way from his home state to Dayton. He brought his stencil-carving tools with him. In Dayton, he pitched a tent and went to work, making stencils that were used to mark whiskey and beer barrels.

“At the time, Dayton was a distillery town. That’s the reason our downtown streets are so wide, so that whiskey wagons could make U-turns,” said Mike Bertke, with Dayton Stencil Works, the company that Rice founded.

Rice did well, moving his business from a tent to a storefront. Dayton Stencil Works is just a few blocks from the Missionaries’ office in downtown Dayton office. And last month, Dayton Stencil made a new seal for the United States Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

Seals “have been used as a means of communication, identification and authentication since the beginning of recorded history, and in fact are some of our earliest records. Seal impressions from Mesopotamia date back as far as 7,500 years ago,” according to the Imprint Project, a British organization that studies medieval seals.

The Missionaries use their embossing seal for corporate documents as well as canonical documents, such as requests for ordinations, or any official correspondence with the Vatican or General Curia, said Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., the provincial director.

An embossing seal makes its imprint in paper; other seals make an impression in wax. A seal is different from a stamp, which requires accompanying ink.

Mike Bertke has worked for Dayton Stencil for 49 years. Mike produced the Missionaries’ new seal. It’s not every day that a customer walks through the company’s door on E. Second Street (as our staff members did, in early March), to order a seal, Mike said.

“Seals are going by the wayside,” Mike said. “We used to make a lot of embossing seals for corporations, and for engineers and architects, who at one time were required to have their own seal to mark their plans. Now, it’s okay for them to use stamps. But we sell stamps too, so we’re able to take care of them either way.”

At one time, making seals required an upper die made of quarter-inch brass. Seal-makers were artisans, craftsmen. “If a guy was really good, he could recreate logos in the center of the upper die. Then a master engraver could engrave the die. You would get into some very detailed work—just look at the state seal of Ohio,” Mike said.

Quality seals, like the one now owned by the U.S. Province, still use a brass die on top with a bottom die made of lead, Mike said. Some companies use laser engraving on the upper die, and bottom dies of plastic. Mike disapproves. “They break too easily,” he said.

Mike has connections to the Missionaries beyond their new seal. His father was born in Carthagena, Ohio, near the Missionaries’ St. Charles Center. His father moved the family to Dayton.

And, Mike adds, he’s done some research on his family history, and “we’re related to the Right Rev. Dwenger.” The late Bishop Joseph Dwenger, CPP.S., who negotiated the purchase of the land on which St. Charles stands, was the second bishop of Fort Wayne.

So the Missionaries’ new seal was produced by a kinsman of Bishop Dwenger, which seems fitting.

“Having lasted for the whole of recorded history, seals are still with us and continue to make an impression,” says the Imprint Project.

So does the length and reach of the Precious Blood family.