Discernment Week is Mission Week
The Missionaries invited men who are discerning with their Community to live and pray with them for a week, while also ministering at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation on Chicago’s south side.
Last summer we were inspired to create a new kind of discernment opportunity, something both longer and deeper than a weekend. We came up with the idea of a week spent in both mission and discernment with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
So on July 23-27, 2017, the Vocations Office of the Cincinnati and Kansas City Provinces invited men who are discerning with us to live and pray together at our Formation House in Chicago while also ministering at our Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. We were hoping that the week would provide discerners with some challenging fodder for their reflection and ongoing discernment.
The goal of the week was to have the discerners engage in ministry alongside the priests, brother and sisters who minister at PBMR. The participants were exposed to realities of life in inner city Chicago. The violence and poverty of the neighborhood were on clear display as they toured the neighborhood, and it was witnessed to in the stories they heard in circle. So too was the love and the hope which the center provides. Over the course of the week they participated in the various programs the Precious Blood Center has to offer. They worked in the community garden, helped out in the carpentry shop, and designed a Peace Pole that will be erected somewhere in the neighborhood.
While we knew that two C.PP.S. (Dayton) sisters worked at PBMR, an unplanned element of the week was the opportunity to experience enhanced Precious Blood hospitality and community life. One night, we hosted the sisters and a volunteer from Poland at our house for dinner, and later in the week, the sisters returned the favor. Both nights turned into wonderful evenings of laughter and storytelling as we gathered around the dinner table.
Those who minister every day at the PBMR will tell you that nothing ever goes as planned, but the week provided the discerners an excellent experience of community life and ministry on the margins. Both of the participants found the week challenging and continue to discern with the Cincinnati Province.
Please keep them and all discerners in your prayers.