by Lucia Ferrara, Hospitality Coordinator
Greetings All! Fall is in the air! We celebrated the Fall Equinox on September 22nd with an evening of prayer, reflection, and a meditative labyrinth walk led by Fr. Garry Richmeier, C.P.P.S. followed by soup and salad.  It was a wonderful time for entering the autumn stillness with reflection and fellowship.  The month of September has been busy with programs and events.  Circle of Understanding was held at the beginning of the month.  The circle gives us an opportunity to share each other’s stories without any judgment.  Everyone is invited to the Circle on the first Thursdays of the month.  The Center also recently hosted an Awareness evening that touched on the struggle of Bipolar Disorder.  Donovan Gardner was our speaker for the evening and he shared his lifelong experience with mental illness. We also viewed the documentary All These Flowers about 6 peoples diagnosed with the disease and how their lives are challenged by Bipolar Disorder.  It was an evening that brought the message of struggle, despair, identity, and recovery to surface.
Fr. Garry Richmeier, C.P.P.S.  is the facilitator for Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, a program which began this month, as well.  Participants are led on a journey of self-discovery through spiritual transformation with faith-sharing, prayer and short readings.  This program is hosted on the second Thursday of the month through January except for December.  Avila University First Year Retreat was held here; their mission was to bring their young students together for a weekend of faith sharing and fellowship.  They returned to school ready to focus on their Campus Ministry once again!
We hosted our second set of Precious Blood Volunteers during their orientation week in September.  They are an incredible group of people who are eager to begin their journey as Precious Blood Volunteers here in Kansas City and Chicago.  They will be carrying out the spirituality that St. Gaspar teaches us.  The Precious Blood Spiritualty Committee held their conference here for a weekend.  Their meetings were long but were nourished not only by the Holy Spirit but the food that was prepared here.
Four families from Family Promise of the Northland stayed at Precious Blood Center for a week while trying to regain their independence and strengthening their lives for the better.  Homeless families face a lot of turmoil in our world today, but with the help of the Church of the Annunciation in Kearney and the Precious Blood Center, these families were provided hospitality, healthy meals, friendly support and safe, homelike accommodations.
Missouri Alternatives to Death Penalty committee held their yearly planning meeting here at the Center this past weekend. These advocates are some of the most dedicated people I have seen working on this issue for the state of Missouri. Woman’s Cursillo movement held its second three-day weekend here at the Center this year.  It is a weekend encounter filled living and sharing of oneself, Christ, and others joyfully.
I have an update on the Stukenborg Mission House Renovation Project.  The architects and engineers have been busy working through the concept design phase and in to design development.  We have received a design in which we are very excited about as it speaks strongly to transformation, as well as providing the areas of support required of the gathering spaces.  Currently we are expecting the contractor to submit a revised cost estimate this week and hope to move forward from there with construction documents and city approval.  The completion schedule will be dependent on this approval process.
Our incorporated members who live at the Center, Frs. Mike Goode, Ron Will, and Tim Coday, will relocate to Schaefer Mission House (far north building) the first week in October, at which time this building will become for private uses only.  We will continue to offer gatherings in Stukenborg Mission House as much as possible.  Guests will then be accommodated in the Main Building first floor and in Altmann Guest House, throughout the constructions process.  If you have questions or would like more information, please call Elizabeth Heule.