Missionaries Celebrate Bicentennial

Giving glory to God, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in the Cincinnati Province marked the bicentennial of the Congregation’s founding with an event for all at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio.

A standing-room-only crowd listened to a presentation on the C.PP.S. missionary spirit early in the afternoon of August 15, the actual bicentennial of the Congregation. Over 1,750 people joined the Missionaries in celebrating a Mass on St. Charles’ spacious front lawn. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati presided, and Fr. Bill Nordenbrock, C.PP.S., moderator general, gave the homily.

After the joyful Mass, the focus moved to the large picnic tent set up to the southeast of St. Charles’ main building. There, barbecued chicken prepared by the Schnipke family and their friends was served to 1,500 guests.

It was a grand and glorious celebration, a way to rejoice with and give thanks for the support the Missionaries have received over the years from the people of God, said Fr. Larry Hemmelgarn, C.PP.S., provincial director.

“From the beginning, we wanted an event where we could thank the people of God for their support and share the celebration with them,” Fr. Hemmelgarn said. “They’ve been with us every step of the way. They are the focus of our ministry, they are Church. So we knew that on our bicentennial we wanted to open St. Charles, our home, to everyone in thanksgiving.”

At the Mass, 65 priests and three bishops concelebrated with the archbishop, including Bishop Joseph Binzer, auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati; Bishop Frederick Campbell, bishop of Columbus, Ohio; and Bishop William Higi, bishop emeritus of Lafayette in Indiana.

C.PP.S. brothers also took part in the liturgy. Brs. Jerome Schulte, C.PP.S., and Charles McCafferty, C.PP.S., carried Precious Blood banners in the procession. Br. Joseph Fisher, C.PP.S., was a lector. Companion Margaret Saliga of Whiting, Ind., was also a lector A combined choir from several parishes led the Congregation in music from the Mass of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, composed by Fr. Ralph Verdi, C.PP.S.

In his homily, Fr. Nordenbrock spoke of God’s faithfulness not just for the 200-year life of the Congregation, but for all time.

“Over and over again, we see people who are unfaithful to their covenant with God. We see God’s steadfast faithfulness set against a backdrop of human frailty.

“How does God respond? Our God, who is a God of love, says we need a new covenant. He says, ‘I will bind you to me; I will pledge my love to you with an unbreakable bond.’ He offers us a covenant that is sealed not with blood that is sprinkled on us, but Blood that we drink, that becomes a part of us; Blood that touches our hearts so that our hearts can be transformed. That’s the covenant. The Blood of Christ that forever calls us into communion as the body of Christ. That’s the everlasting covenant. That’s the Good News.”

In his closing remarks, Archbishop Schnurr thanked the Missionaries for their ministry in the archdiocese of Cincinnati, where they have served since 1844.

“Thank you for your wonderful service given to this archdiocese and other dioceses in the United States,” he said. “We could not provide ministry to our people to the extent that we do without the assistance of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.”

The Missionaries’ contributions to the lives of God’s people was also recognized by the Ohio Senate, House of Representatives, and Mercer County (Ohio) Commissioners, all of whom passed resolutions or proclamations in honor of the C.PP.S. bicentennial. Those proclamations will be on display at St. Charles Center.

Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., headed the committee that organized the event. He was aided by Angela Hamberg of New Bremen, event planner; Companions Jean Borgert, Mark and Jean Giesige, and Dave and Jane McNeal; and Amy Day, St. Charles facility director.

“So many people helped with this day, including the Schnipkes’ cooking crew, the musicians and liturgical ministers, and over 70 volunteers. We also owe our thanks to the St. Charles staff and residents, who survived the bicentennial celebration. It was clear it was a labor of love,” Fr. Hemmelgarn said. “We hope that this is a celebration we’ll all remember and that it sets the tone for our next 200 years.”

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