Sharing the Real Presence
This newsletter features a reflection from our new missionary support coordinator about his retreat he made with us which we are open to others joining us for similar retreats. We also have a letter from one one of our missionaries on being crucified with Christ. We Invite you to get involved in some of our upcoming events and those who you can keep in prayer. Please continue keeping us and those we are ministering to in your prayers. We hope these newsletters can encourage you and our readers to grow in faith and in zeal for the work of the salvation of souls that is so needed in our church.
In this newsletter
Five Miles From Home
Crucified With Christ
Five Miles from Home by Zachary Hanson
The Visitation House, run by the Missionaries of the Real Presence at St. Catherine’s Parish on the North Side of Milwaukee, is located roughly five miles from my home. The Missionaries are my friends. I have been a Missionary Associate for years and have volunteered with them on many occasions in their service to Milwaukee’s under-served North side population. However, it wasn’t until I showed up unannounced for a three-day retreat that I truly came to understand the depths of service and tranquility that the Visitation House, and the St. Catherine’s Community has to offer.
It was a cold day. Winter. Not particularly bright. And I was hopping out of my Uber with a suitcase in one hand and a samurai sword over my back. I imagined myself a traveling warrior. A warrior monk on my way, traversing across the world in search of opportunity for the service of Christ and for others. How, I wondered to myself, would the Missionaries of the Real Presence handle this unexpected pilgrim landing upon their doorstep?
It was no great affair. There was no guffaws from the crowd or harrumphs from the
Missionaries as I begged a thousand pardons and announced my intention to stay for the next few days. Nobody was shocked and nothing was out of order. Rather, it was all joy and glad tidings, hugs and handshakes of welcome as I entered the Visitation House for a thee-day retreat that would eventually change my life.
I was immediately shown to my little room, a perfectly penitent cell with a bed, a dresser, a desk, and nothing more. There was a Crucifix on the wall, a washcloth for my necessities, and a pencil and paper for my prayers, if need be. I was home, for the moment, and I was not the least bit disappointing by my humble accommodations; rather, I was fully impressed by the austerities of my lodgings and the warmth of these hospitable missionaries. It was near lunch time, and so I quickly got my key, dropped off my things, and hustled alongside the rest of the community over to the Sanctuary for Daytime Prayer.
The Sanctuary of St. Catherine’s Parish is ancient and majestic. A rose window of incomparable glory shines brightly above the Tabernacle. Rays of light of every color pour forth into the darkened corners of that old Parish. Stained glass Icons of great Saints line the upper walls. And here, in the sacred solitude, come the Missionaries of the Real Presence, in great reverence, along with the Visitation House Community. And along with myself in toe. Struck with awe upon entering this holy place, I joined in the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Six days a week, after Daytime Prayer, the Missionaries host a lunch for the surrounding
community. It is really a glorious affair. Volunteers are marching this way and that as the community piles in with greetings and laughter. Everybody is friends here. The food, always something hearty and tasty, is being put out on the serving table along with drinks and fixings and all around it is the atmosphere of a feast. It is a recollected feast, for in no time flat the entire hall has become quiet as we are treated to a reflection from the Saint’s or the Bible or some other great reading. Then we pray, all together like a family, before making our plates and sitting down to share our love and cheer with one another.
Moving right along our day we are cleaning up and tidying the lunchroom. Dishes are done and tables are wiped. All very methodical service. After lunch, most days, the Real Presence Missionaries will take to the streets, evangelizing and praying for everyone they meet. They bring the real presence of Christ to the people that need Him the most. And all along the way there are many happy handshakes. Names are taken and prayers are presented before God on that very spot. It is truly a remarkable work to witness and to share in. How seldom are we taking to the streets these days. But I should like to see it even more.
Now, it was after this work of prayer and preaching that the Missionaries were off along their adventures and I was left to my own devices amidst the sprawling four-story Visitation House. The silence was enveloping. I knew the world outside was turning around me, but in here I was completely at rest in the presence of our Lord and our Lady. It was in this quiet time of reflection, day by day, that I was able to truly absorb what was happening in my spiritual life. Here I am, only five miles from home, and it is like being in a completely different world. Here is this great work to be done, and it is not so far off. The work of missions is right here in my city. And I too am invited to partake. What a delightful
reality to ponder.
We are all called to the missions in one form or another. No matter our Vocation or our station in life, we too can be like those great Saints of old. We too can be a part of something fresh and filled with the fire of Christ’s Sacred Heart. Something for the poor. Something for the widow and orphan. Had I forgotten? No. But I was reminded again by my time with the Missionaries of the Real Presence. When I was cold. When I was confused. When I was uncomfortable. When I was awe-struck. When I was alone and when I was surrounded by my friends. I just thought about it all. I contemplated my time
there at night in the silence. It wasn’t the most inspiring time of my life. It wasn’t the most tenderly loved I have ever been.
It wasn’t my most selfless hour or my greatest effort. It wasn’t anything so special like that. It was all very regular. But it was something new for me. Something I had never done before. It was a retreat. An escape from my own life. For only a few short days. But that was enough. I get it now. I understand. We do not have to be rich to go on retreat. We only need the Missionaries of the Real Presence.
Thanks guys! Thank you for your open door. Thank you for everything you do.
Crucified With Christ by Griffin Rain
Trying to conform my life to Christ as a missionary for almost two years now can be difficult. I know that someone who wants to follow Christ will be invited to suffer for souls as Christ suffered. When we are faced with suffering, we can accept it and offer it to Christ or reject it and turn to sin and lukewarmness. I have given up my life for Christ, but I often still hold on to my life and am often not willing to go through the suffering as Christ would. Recently it hit me of Christ's tremendous love for us that even when we turn away from him, he always invites us back and suffers for us. We too must be imitators of Christ in this way.
I have been ministering to people for much time and seeing such positive spiritual growth, they are coming closer to Christ and his church and then they turn away and give in to the world. These past weeks it seems one after another. It feels crushing. I have poured my life out and given everything to Christ and these people and they still turn away and go back to their old ways. So is true with Christ as he gave everything, died on the cross and his apostles went back to what they did before their calling. "Am I doing this for nothing" many may ask? I know that what has happened the past two years and hopefully for the rest of my life is not for nothing. I believe that this suffering for souls has deepened my relationship with Christ through his passion and death and helped me to see as he sees. “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” Galatians 2:19-20
The seventy[-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Praise of the Father. Luke 10:17-20
I will admit that I am at times very much like the apostles who were rebuked here by Christ and that I would rejoice in the works and the great number of people who were coming closer to accept Christ. This is great when it does happen, but I instead need to rejoice that I am with the lord and that my name is written in heaven. I forget at times that it is not my work and will sin which is the very thing that would prevent me from heaven. I must always remember that it is his work that he is allowing me to participate in. How joyful is it to do his work, but never forget it is His work and what his real plan is, that we be with him in heaven! When we remember this, then will we truly be able to rejoice in our sufferings as St. Paul says. We know that the cross gives way to the resurrection.
Come and See Discernment Weekend - We are hosting a come and see discernment weekend this Friday March 17th through Sunday March 19th. This will be open to men and will be a great opportunity to pray, work and experience the life of the Missionaries of the Real Presence. Please email email@example.com to register or if you have questions. If you would like to come, but can't make this weekend, email us when you can come and we can organize an individual come and see.
Holy Thursday Biking Pilgrimage - We will be having our annual Holy Thursday Biking Pilgrimage on Thursday April, 6th. Please keep an eye out for the details on our website or social media! We are also in need of bicycles for the neighbors to ride and if you have any sitting around collecting dust, please consider donating them for this event.
Good Friday Way of the Cross - Every Friday we do our public Way of the Cross through the neighborhood. This year we plan to go all out for Good Friday! Join us for a procession with the cross as we invite our neighbors to know the love of God that Jesus would die for all of our sins. Please keep an eye out for the details on our website or social media!
Sunday Mass Pilgrimage - Every Sunday we are now having a Sunday Mass Pilgrimage. We will be traveling to different Catholic Churches in the Milwaukee area for a later Sunday Mass so that more of our neighbors can attend Sunday Mass and see the beauty of the Catholic Church. We meet at 11 am at the Visitation House and drive to an 11:30am or 12:00pm Mass every Sunday. So far we have attended the Basilica of St Josaphat, Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians (Holy Hill), Old St Mary's and St Hyacinth.
Missionary Associates - Join us this Thursday March 16th for this months meeting of the Missionary Associates. This is for people who volunteer with the missionaries or are interested in volunteering/supporting our work. We hope that this continues building up the community around the missionaries, get to know others and energize more people to start working for the salvation of souls here in Milwaukee. This occurs on the 3rd Thursday of every month.
The schedule for the event is as follows:
Evening Prayer 5:30pm - 5:45 pm
Short talk by one of the missionaries 5:50 pm - 6:10 pm
Dinner and socializing 6:15 pm onward
Feast Day Celebrations - Every feast day or solemnity that falls on a Monday through Saturday, we will have games set up in the Visitation House community room. We start with breakfast at 9:30 am and games to follow. Upcoming feast days may be found here
We would encourage our readers to pray for those who we have been working with in our outreach ministry. There is much fruit happening with the missionaries and we need your prayers!
Please keep those who have expressed interest in learning more about Catholicism in prayer
Tracey, Robert, Lucious, Ellie, Cortes, Lawrence, Antoine, Deshawn, Cornell, Edward, Michael, Timayah, Myricle, Stephanie, Christine, Tina, John, Queda, Sarah, Jonnie, Jordan, Tony, Ashley, Juan, Jahi, Sherice, Mario, Timisha, Charlos, Johnny, Jerry , Jordan, Lance, Matthew, David, Jerry, Valerie, Nicholas, Elijah, Kelly, Charlos, Erica, Amanda, Gail, Annie, Monique, Christopher, Eve, Christopher, Page, Kevin, Roshawnda, Clenzo, Keter, Howard, Marquez, Cathy, Janett, Debarla, Anthony, Sebastian, Colleen
Please keep those who have started individual catechism classes and are preparing to become Catholic in prayer
Lance, Brintee, Tremon, Shaela, Michael, Darien, David, IC, Curtis, Antoine, Micah
Please keep those who have stopped classes or we have lost contact with in prayer.
Candy, Jamie, Taylor, Ohmad
Please keep those who are fallen away Catholics that we have met and those who have expressed desire to come back to confession and church in prayer
Shantae, Storm, Treesha, Max, Wilson, Blessing, Terrie, Johanne, Ken, O, Jack, Deja, Dolly, Alicia, Jennie, Ed, Bob, Ken, Tom, Jenny, Jack, Anthony, Deja, Catherine, Mary, Jodee, Jerry, Diana, Georgia, Thorne, Mike, Johanne, Lisa, Joyce, Dawn, Wayne, Tracy, Fae, Lettie, Terri, Joe, Thorne, Jennie, Ed, Arturo, John, John, Teresa
Please keep those who have recently returned to the Catholic Church and the Sacraments
Paul, Natalie, Tom, Terri
Those who are in special need of prayer
Candy, Jonnie, Jamie, Jake, Bud, Deshawn, Anthony
Please pray for any men who are discerning becoming a missionary
Click Here to pray for those who we met in our first year while at St Rose of Lima Parish
About the Missionaries of the Real Presence
The Missionaries of the Real Presence are a group of lay men who live in common at the Visitation House next to St. Catherine Catholic Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as they discern a charism for a new religious community to be contemplative missionaries renewing parish life in poor urban areas. We are dedicated to prayer through daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours in the church open to the public, Evangelization to the neighborhoods surrounding our parish and running a hospitality center next to our parish.
Support the Mission, Join the Mission
If you appreciate the work we are doing, consider supporting our mission financially Here.
Volunteer with us with our street ministry and with the Visitation House Here
If reading about some of our stories inspires you, come and see what life as a missionary is like and visit us for a day or longer for prayer and ministry as you discern Here.
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