C.PP.S. Bicentennial, Anniversary are Celebrated at Shrine

“We rejoice in the Lord and thank the Lord,” said Bishop Daniel Thomas, as he began his homily during a Mass of celebration at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine on September 8.

The Mass, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mother, marked the 165th anniversary of the shrine and the bicentennial of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, who are in ministry there.

Friends, neighbors, and members of the Precious Blood family filled the shrine’s outdoor Pieta Chapel for the celebration.

“We delight and rejoice that Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner saw this place, a wooded area, and saw in his mind’s eye the possibility of a shrine dedicated to Mary,” Bishop Thomas said. “And from that inspiration came this place. For 165 years, pilgrims have found in this place, a place to honor Mary, a place to bring their sorrow, difficulties and needs; a place to honor Jesus, her son.

“And you’d better believe that this bishop rejoices to have this shrine in his diocese. What a gift it is to have such a shrine where people can rejuvenate their spirit in the nature and beauty that they see around them, and unite themselves with our mother.”

The bishop also offered thanks for the Missionaries’ years of service in the diocese. “We delight that over 200 years ago, St. Gaspar del Bufalo founded this Congregation, and through the grace of God, they made their way to Ohio. They continue to serve our needs in our parishes and at this shrine, with the special charism of drawing people’s attention to the precious, saving Blood of Jesus.”

It was a beautiful day for the celebration, as people of all ages went from the liturgy to the shrine’s cafeteria for a box lunch. Many enjoyed their lunch outside on the shrine’s grounds, where picnic tables awaited, including the entire student body of St. Joseph School in nearby Monroeville, Ohio, which joined the Missionaries for their celebration.

At the end of the liturgy, Fr. Scott Kramer, C.PP.S., the rector of the shrine, invited the school children present to be first in the lunch line, “because you kids want to get back to school, right?”

And he invited all to share in the celebratory spirit of the day. “Anniversaries are for looking back, but we always look forward,” he said. “God has good things in store for us, and that’s what we celebrate today.

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