Friday, August 14th, 2015
St. Charles to host bicentennial celebration
By William Kincaid
Retired priests at the St. Charles Center in Carthagena on Thursday afternoon wa. . .
CARTHAGENA -On Aug. 15, 1815, in Giano, Italy, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, once exiled and imprisoned for four years after refusing to pledge his allegiance to Napoleon, founded the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood with the approval of Pope Pius VII.
Hundreds of people are expected to descend upon the St. Charles Center on Saturday to celebrate the bicentennial of St. Gaspar's ministry, now known as the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will preside over a 4:30 p.m. outdoor Mass. Bishops and other church dignitaries are expected to attend a commemoration, which starts at 1 p.m.
The missionary order, a worldwide Roman Catholic congregation of priests, brothers and lay associates "who believe that the Precious Blood of Jesus offers healing and redemption for all," now serves in 21 countries, according to Jean Giesige, Missionaries of the Precious Blood director of communications. Today, it consists of seven provinces, including two in the U.S. - Cincinnati, which serves states east of the Mississippi, and Kansas City.
Most units across the globe also will celebrate on Saturday, Giesige said. The Cincinnati Province will hold its celebration at its motherhouse, St. Charles Center in Carthagena, which Giesige said is central to the ministry's life. Established in 1861, the facility has been a seminary, educational institute and retirement home for Roman Catholic priests and brothers. It has been remodeled into a retirement community for religious and lay people.
"It's our biggest mission house. It has the most room. It has a big chapel there," she told the newspaper.
Saturday's event is the culmination of the province's three-year celebration of the order's 200th anniversary, Giesige said. Organizers have prepared for at least 1,000 people. The number was inspired by St. Gaspar, who said, "I wish that I could have 1,000 tongues, to endear every heart to the Precious Blood of Jesus," according to Giesige.
"So we latched onto that as a theme, hoping for 1,000 (people)," she said.
The event is free and open to the public but free tickets for a celebratory meal were claimed almost immediately, Giesige said.
"We were so gratified and touched by how fast those tickets went," she said.
The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. in the St. Charles auditorium with a presentation about the society's missions and ministries and to "celebrate the missionary spirit that the C.PP.S. hopes to encourage in its parishes and ministry sites." The Rev. Barry Fischer will deliver a keynote address. Prior to the outdoor Mass, prelude music will begin at 4 p.m by area choirs. At 4:30 p.m., Schnurr will preside over the Vigil Mass, and the Rev. Bill Nordenbrock, also a C.P.P.S moderator general, will provide the homily.
Giesige said seating will be able to accommodate 1,500 people.
People should access the St. Charles Center at its main entrance on U.S. 127, she added.
For more information about the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood or the bicentennial jubilee, visit cpps-preciousblood.org