Repent and believe in the Gospel
Sharing the Real Presence
This newsletter features two stories from the missionaries from our encounters in our ministry as we prepare for Lent, some 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
Becoming Simon of Cyrene
Mercy and Justice
Becoming Simon of Cyrene by Robert Pauly
As Christ carried the Cross to Calvary, they [the soldiers] pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. (Mark 15:21)
A few weeks ago, Griffin and I began taking a course at Sacred Heart Seminary for human and spiritual formation. We asked the parishioners of St. Catherine’s Parish for help because we run a lunch program, which is available Monday through Saturday would not be available twice a week. After making the announcement a few days before the class began, several parishioners answered the call to help continue serving lunch when we would not be available after praying the Psalms at noon. The Cross we bore required others to serve the meal and make sure everything got cleaned and locked up afterwards and they have helped Jesus to carry the cross.
In contrast, I knew Griffin had to complete paperwork for taxes as well as many other administrative tasks which must be mailed before January 31. I reluctantly carried the Cross in the Kitchen so that Griffin could finish the forms, and get them mailed and stayed up later than usual to complete these important tasks. I became more humble by cooking the meals for several weeks and learning how much paperwork non-profit organizations have to do for tax purposes. We are thankful that others like Zachary have stepped up to help with more of the administrative things in the future. He too is Simon helping Jesus to carry the cross.
An important evangelization tool for the Missionaries is praying the Way of the Cross every Friday at 3:00pm. We drag a wooden cross and wear a real crown of thorns on our head in all weather conditions even the extreme cold after significant snowstorms. This shows people how much God and Jesus loves each person unconditionally. Many people don't see how giving these crosses of pain, sorrow to Jesus helps us become Simon in each other's lives. St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote the following about the Fifth Station, Simon Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross:
I will not refuse the Cross as Simon did: I accept it and embrace it. I accept in particular the death that is destined for me with all the pains that may accompany it. I unite it to Your death and I offer it to you.
What must we do to become more Christ-like for our neighbors and friends? Jesus needs us to be real to ourselves, especially by acknowledging old wounds that we built barriers to protect our innermost selves from other people including God unintentionally. The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to be humble and sincerely sorry for building those barriers, which eventually collapse according to God’s time, not our own. How can we help Jesus to carry his cross this upcoming lent?
Mercy and Justice by Griffin Rain
Our ministry is very much a ministry of bringing together the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Mercy is something that I will often talk about with the neighbors we work with because all of us need to seek out God's mercy as we are guilty of sinning against him.
This week was a change where it was necessary to discuss justice. Every sin that we commit has a consequence attached to it, death. We know that God is all just as well as all merciful. Just in that he will actually judge us according to what we do, but merciful in that he will give us the penalty to the lowest extent that it is still just.
Recently one of the men who we have been working with for over 8 months who has been on parole and was called in by his parole officer to investigate if he had violated his parole. He came to me for counsel and was very conflicted. He thought that it was a very real chance that he could be sent back to jail for the remaining three years on his sentence.
I laid out his options for him as he presented them but took them to their ends. Option 1 was to turn himself back in and possibly face the remaining three years of his sentence and if sent back he can use that time to be away from many of his temptations in the world and try to grow in the virtues and closer to Christ or possibly still be free. Option 2 was to cut his bracelet and run which would result in him not being able to find a job and either be homeless again or live a life of crime to survive and may get caught and spend even more years in jail. Clearly option 1 even though it seems almost certain of being locked up is the best option that he eventually did choose that.
It is just for us to accept the penalties for our actions and in fact it actually opens the door to mercy. If he had run away his punishment would be far greater and even a merciful judge would still have to give him many years in jail.
Similarly when we turn ourselves in to God in the confessional and ask for forgiveness from God, we allow him to be merciful and when we run away from him in our mortal sins, we will have to pay for our offenses ourselves meaning that if we died in mortal sin would would be sent to hell as that is what justice demand. If we are living in mortal sin, let us run to the confessional and turn ourselves in to receive God's mercy and be back in his love. After turning himself in, our neighbor did not have to go back to jail and was set free. So too is God's offer to us to be set free from our sins when we go to confession.
Come and See Discernment Weekend - We are hosting a come and see discernment weekend 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.
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, Old St Mary's and St Hyacinth.
Missionary Associates - Join us this Thursday February 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
Cornell, Edward, Michael, Timayah, Myricle, Stephanie, Christine, Tina, John, Queda, Sarah, Jonnie, Jordan, Tony, Ashley, Juan, Jahi, Sherice, Mario, Timisha, Charlos, Candy, 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, Lance, Sebastian, Colleen
Please keep those who have started individual catechism classes and are preparing to become Catholic in prayer
Brintee, Tremon, Shaela, Matthew, Candy, Darien, Ohmad, David, IC, Jamie, Curtis, Antoine, Taylor, Micah
Please keep those Catholics who have started Confirmation Preparation
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
Natalie, Tom, Terri
Those who are in special need of prayer
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. 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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