A Little History
In August 1815, St. Gaspar del Bufalo founded the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in order to help renew the Chruch in central Italy. Napoleon had recently been defeated, after having occupied Italy for a number of years. During that time, the Church was oppressed. Many of the clergy were imprisoned or sent into exile. St. Gaspar was among them. Many people had been discouraged by the experience. So, St. Gaspar gathered several other priests to renew the Church through the preaching of parish missions.
In March 1822, a young woman heard him preach such a mission. St. Maria de Mattias would later gather several other women together to educate and share their faith with others. They were especially interested in reaching out to women and children, who often were uneducated. As she taught them about their salvation in Christ, she was often accused of "preaching" - a practice unheard of by women of the time. Thus was born the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
In December 1832, Maria Anna Brunner accompanied her son on a lengthy pilgrimage to Rome. During that time, she, too, was inspired by the preaching of St. Gaspar, whom she heard several times. She joined the Archconfraternity of the Precious Blood, a group of people - men and women, lay and clerical - who shared a devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Not long after that, she invited several other women to join her in prayer and a life of devotion to the Precious Blood. While there are no records of her preaching, her personal devotion was contagious and other women came to share it with her, thus establishing the Sisters of the Precious Blood.
Inviting others to share her devotion and way of life, Theresa Weber founded the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in Steinerberg, Switzerland in 1845. Coming to the United States in 1870, the community dedicated its energies to the education of the young throughout the mid-West. Sharing part of its history with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, the community today shares a common spirituality and concern for sharing God's abundant love and mercy with other Precious Blood communities.
St. Gaspar del Bufalo had joined the Archconfraternity of the Precious Blood several years before founding the community. Maria Anna Brunner did the same. St. Maria de Mattias may have been a member, too. Today, three of the four Precious Blood communities have associate members who share in their spirituality and mission. They include the Union of the Blood of Christ - which developed from the Archconfraternity. Companions share in the mission, life and spirituality of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. ASC Associates collaborate with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for spiritual support and empower one another to spreach God's love and justice. Partners in Mission commit themselves to shared faith and service as associates of with the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood.
The Precious Blood Family Today
Today, members and associates of these four congregations collaborate on a number of specific projects. Their leaders form the Precious Blood Leadship Conference. Their formation and vocation directors are part of the Precious Blood Vocation/Formation Conference. Their candidates gather annually to share their common experience as men and women with a common vocation and spirituality. The leadership of the associates of these congregations have formed the National Precious Blood Associates Conference. These various conferences sponsor occasional workshops, retreats and congresses in order to broaden their understanding of what it means to be men and women dedicated to the blood of Christ today.
A workshop for preachers was held September 30-October 4, 1998 at Precious Blood Spiritual Center in Columbia, PA. Twelve members and associates participated in a workshop entitled, "The Mobile Mission Team Pilot Experience." While there was interest in possibly forming joint preaching teams, no one was available to coordinate or direct such a program at that time.
As part of its strategic planning process, the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood sponsored a seminar on new ministries for the province in January 2001. Two specific proposals came out of that gathering. One of them, entitled "A New Approach to the Renewal Ministry," focused on developing a collaborative approach to preaching parish missions.
In September 2002, the leadership of the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood appointed Fr. Dennis Chriszt to full time retreat and renewal ministry with the understanding that he would seek to form a collaborative approach to preaching parish missions with members and associates of the various communities that are part of the Precious Blood Leadership Conference. During that first year, in additional to actually preaching a number of missions and retreats, Fr. Dennis also gathered together preachers from the various Precious Blood communities in the US to form a core team for future development of this collaborative ministry.
The core team met several times over the next few years, designed several parish missions, conducted those missions and revised and added resources to those missions based on their experiences. The next article gives you more information about each mission.
Your Parish Mission
We are delighted to have the opportunity to share our spirituality with the members of your parish. We - like St. Gaspar, St. Maria, Maria Anna and Theresa - believe that the spirituality of the Precious Blood is a gift for the whole Church. We know and rejoice, as St. Paul did, that we "who were once far off have become near by the blood of Christ(Ephesians 2:13)" and that "God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)." We believe that we are being sent by God to share the good news of our salvation in and through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.
We offer three different missions:
Proclaiming Abundant Love
This mission celebrates God’s abundant love for all God’s people.
1. We are people of the covenant—chosen and blessed by God—renewed in the waters of baptism.
2. We are people of the cross—who know both its pain and its glory—and venerate it as the sign of our salvation.
3. We are people reconciled by the blood of Christ—forgiven by a God whose mercy is always stronger than our sins—celebrating God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of penance.
4. We are people of the cup—drinking of the cup of salvation and becoming vessels of that salvation to the world—giving thanks in the eucharist.
This mission focuses on God’s reconciling power at work in the world.
1. We celebrate God’s mercy at work in our own lives and are anointed by God’s grace.
2. We recognize God’s presence within one another and wash each other’s feet.
3. We celebrate that we are reconciled with God and confess both our faith in God’s mercy as well as our sins.
4. We are sent to be ambassadors of reconciliation—nourished by the body and blood of Christ.
This mission focuses on the Eucharist. Each celebration focuses on one part of the Mass and seeks to help people deepen their faith and become a community that practices "full, conscious and active participation" in the liturgy.
1. We Gather as One—The Introductory Rites
2. We Gather to Share the Word—The Liturgy of the Word
3. We Gather to Share Bread and Wine—The Liturgy of the Eucharist
4. We Gather to be Sent into the World—The Concluding Rites.
Continuing to proclaim abundant love, celebrate unbounded mercy or gathering at the table by sharing our blessings with the poor
Precious Blood Parish Missions is partnering with Unbound in its ministry of bringing people together across the miles to share their faith and concern for one another. Both Unbound and members of several of the Precious Blood communities in the US serve the needs of the poor at two missions in Guatemala and one in Peru. Working together, they help to promote the dignity of the people at the parishes of Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) in LaLabor and San Miguel (St. Michael) in Tucurú, Guatemala and at Nuestra Señora de la Luz (Our Lady of the Light) in Lima, Perú.
Unbound is a sponsorship organization of lay Catholics who help to establish relationships of care between people in the US and twenty-six poor countries around the world. By prayer, letter writing, and donating $36 a month, one poor child or aging person and someone in the US come to know one another and share their lives and concern with one another.
Children and elders in serveral missions served by members of Precious Blood communities in Guatemala, Peru and Tanzania benefit directly from the work of Unbound. Some of our preachers are sponsors, too. They know the blessings that come to both those who are sponsored and those who sponsor.
During the mission, participants are invited to consider proclaiming abundant love by establishing such a relationship. This is only an invitation, and only one of many ways people might proclaim God’s and their own abundant love for someone else in need.
| Gaspar del Bufalo | Maria de Mattias | Maria Anna Brunner | Theresa Weber |
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