by Fr. Timothy Armbruster, C.PP.S.
Waking up to a dusting of snow on the ground in Chicago is no big deal, except when it is the end of March. We gathered in Chicago at Drexel House for our Lenten Discernment weekend on March 29-31. Fr. Steve Dos Santos and I, along with the men in the house, welcomed three inquirers for the weekend. Joining us were Elliot Rich from Chicago, Newton Lih from San Fransisco, and Connor Zink from Cincinnati. It was a wonderful weekend of sharing and reflecting upon our Precious Blood Spirituality. Frs. Lac Pham and Dennis Chriszt, as well as our students Matt Perez and Greg Evers joined us for the talks and sharing. Our talks on Saturday focused upon different aspects of healing. Fr. Lac’s talk focused upon our human woundedness and need for healing, Fr. Steve’s talk focused upon Jesus’ desire to heal us and wash us in His Precious Blood, and Fr. Dennis’ talk focused upon the call to share the love of Jesus with others.
Throughout the weekend we experienced the hospitality of the formation house with time for sharing, prayer, and meals. We concluded our time together with Mass at St. John the Baptist Church, in Whiting, IN. After the weekend, Newton was able to travel with me to Kansas City and got a chance to meet the staff and members at Precious Blood Center.
We continue to pray for those who are in discernment that through our prayers and conversations they may come to know God’s call in their lives.
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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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Congratulations to Hoa Vincent Vu for graduating from the Dominican Institute of Theology in Saigon with a degree in theological studies. What a joy it was for Hoa to see the professors who taught him over the six years that he was at the school witness his receiving his certificate of achievement as he walked up on the stage. How proud his mother, aunt, and religious community were of him was evident by the great applause they gave him as he shook the hand of the presenter of the certificate. Hoa worked hard at his studies and absorbed a lot of knowledge. He was eager to put it to use.
Hoa has done well to apply his ministerial knowledge in his first assignment as local director at our Tan Thanh Mission as well as Co-Director of Vocations for Vietnam Mission. He works well with Hao Paul Pham in their new ministry of seeking for vocations for ministry in our Congregation. Both Hao and Hoa are hoping to receive the ministry of Diaconate in the first week of May if all goes well with their obtaining visas for the trip to the United States.
“Let us serve God with holy joy.” ~St. Gaspar del Bufalo
Sunday, November 4 marks the beginning of National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov 4-10, 2018). It is an annual week-long celebration promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
As we each are called to reflect upon our own vocation and ministry in our lives, I challenge and encourage you to reflect upon the great joy your ministry has brought to you and to others as you continue to serve God’s people. In the words of our founder, “Let us serve God with holy joy,” we are called to find that joy in our lives and share it with others.
This Sunday’s responsorial psalm is “I love you, Lord, my strength.” These words remind us of the one who first loved us and what is our response in return.
As ministers of the word, we are called to invite others to join us in the ministry. Christian life comes with many choices. National Vocation Awareness Week is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” Will you be called to the single life, consecrated religious life, ordained priesthood, or married life?
As we reflect upon the readings for the weekend of Nov 3/4, may we also take the time to reflect upon our own vocation as well as inviting others to consider his or her vocation to serving God’s people. In addition, bulletin inserts (both in Spanish and English) have been sent out to all the parishes we serve. They should arrive by Monday. Please let me know if you don’t receive them.
Finally, as we reflect upon the readings and National Vocation Awareness week, I also encourage you to visit the Bishops website for more homily hints and other resources for the week. NVAW-reflection
By Timothy Armbruster, C.PP.S.
“Sometimes the most difficult person to forgive is ourselves,” was one of the many thoughts that were shared and reflected upon during this year’s Lenten Discernment Weekend, March 16-18 at Drexel Square Formation House in Chicago.
Sr. Donna Liette, C.PP.S., Br. Juan Acuña, C.PP.S., and Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S., shared and led our discussions throughout the day Saturday focused upon The Mercy of God, Forgiving Others, and Forgiving Ourselves. Through the sharing of stories, videos, and discussion, we engaged our inquires in Precious Blood Spirituality and community life. Each inquirer was invited to reflect upon his own person life and understanding of forgiveness and mercy.
On retreat with us were inquirers: Travis Burns from Chickasaw, OH; Michael Orengo and Matt Carner from Dayton, OH; and Elliot Rich and Tony Sorgi from Chicago, IL. We were joined by members, Fr. Steve Dos Santos, Fr. Lac Pham, and candidate, Matt Perez. We ended our wonderful weekend with Mass at St. Ambrose and brunch at Mellow Yellow.
May we continue to pray for vocations to religious life as well as the next steps for these men as these discern God’s calling in each of their lives.
By Timothy Armbruster, C.PP.S.
The “Daring Disciples” of St. Francis Xavier Parish in St. Joseph did indeed Deliver! On March 12-15, students in grades 1-8 participate in this year’s Lenten Retreat led by Fr. Timothy Armbruster.
Our retreat theme captured both the school theme of “Daring Disciples Deliver” as well as the parish theme of “Welcome, thru the Waters of Baptism.” With the help of four saints, St. John the Baptist, St. Mother Teresa, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. Teresa of Little Flower, we captured the story of faith and how we live it beginning with the welcoming water of baptism. We shared the stories of each of the saints and how those saints connect with us today and we ended our week with an All School Mass on Thursday.
Each year, a different symbol is chosen to capture the week’s retreat. This year a giant raindrop tree was chosen. Each student was given a raindrop on which to write an act of kindness he or she could do. The raindrop was attached to the larger drops and now the raindrop tree stands in Gaspar Hall for all to witness what the school and School of Religion have promised to do for the remaining time of Lent.
—pictured above is Fr. Timothy Armbruster along with Robin Shalz who assisted with the week.