About Missionaries of the Real Presence
Who are the missionaries?
The Missionaries of the Real Presence is a group of lay volunteers who seek to serve at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Milwaukee by building up the prayer life of the church. This goal is to be accomplished by praying the Liturgy of the Hours in common in the church each day, organizing daily Adoration, assisting in liturgical ministries at Mass and engaging in evangelization efforts.
We are missionaries to those in the neighborhoods surrounding the parish and we spend much of our time walking the streets meeting our neighbors, acknowledging the Christ already present in them and inviting them into the prayer life of the Church. We refer to the parish sacramental programs those we meet and express their desire to come into full communion with the Catholic Church and join the parish.
Poverty and the Spiritual Life of the People
In the two zip codes that the parishes we serve in Milwaukee, 57% of people are below the poverty line and many struggle with addictions, broken families, lack of opportunities and hunger. There are many wonderful organizations both supported by churches and government that seek to alleviate their physical suffering. We offer them opportunities for prayer, the sacraments of the Church, and through them the experience of God’s healing grace to support their spiritual lives. The Church has always taught a love for the poor, but not just the materially poor, but also the spiritually poor (CCC 2444).
Churches Open on Limited Basis
Very few churches and houses of worship in our area are open during the week. People long for a church that encourages a daily prayer life with open doors so they can meet God present sacramentally. In his Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis urges us to open up the church doors and make known that the door is always open to come so when they are ready to come home like the prodigal son, they will be welcomed back. Having an open door allows us to love our neighbor instead of a fear of neighbor that has taken root in many urban areas resulting in churches closing their doors. There are far less people going to church now than in the past, but our neighborhoods have not gotten much smaller, just less of the people around are church going people. God wants all people to be in communion with Him and that means staying close to His Church.
Loss of Faith, Hope and Charity
In their struggles, people may lose faith that God has a plan for them, and this often assist in the lack of hope in the future. In this grinding down of faith and hope, many grow bitter losing their sense of charity for God and neighbor.
Our mission is to help create stable communities built around Catholic parishes in the inner city, as we reach out to all in need of the light of Christ. We want to bring the good news of God’s love and plan of salvation to all people, that God wants us in communion with Him, and that we are welcome in His church. We hope to make God's mercy known through our humble interactions so that people in a world where perfection is often expected, but never possible, know that God will be merciful to us if we ask for His grace in our struggles and shortcomings. Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13). If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. (1 Jn 1:8-9)
Our Plan of Action
To Open Parishes for Prayer
There are many people looking for God and once they decide to look for him in the church, all too often the doors are locked. We never want people who are searching for God to be turned away from the church. We know how important prayer is in the Christian life. As missionaries, we do all our prayers in common in the church so that the parish is open, and anyone may join. During the week we have Mass, pray The Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We encourage others to pray with us and sign up to be adoration guardians so one day we can have perpetual adoration and have the church open 24 hours a day 7 days a week in the center city. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones (Ephesians 6:18).
To Show Mercy
As Christians, we are called to show mercy to one another so that through our actions one can come to know God's love and mercy. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). Mercy includes both the spiritual works of mercy and the corporal works of mercy. We try to help others see the fullness of mercy by always keeping in mind the spiritual needs of a person when we are doing corporal works of mercy. We need food, but we also need to be fed with the word of God. We need to drink water, but also to drink from the fountain of eternal life. We need clothing, but also need to be clothed in God's love. If we strive to be merciful as God is merciful, people we minister to will truly feel loved and welcomed to the church.
To Listen and Invite
We all have something special about ourselves that we would love to share with the world. We also have struggles that we want to be helped with. After listening to our neighbors’ stories, we invite them into the church to share both their gifts and their struggles with self, with others and with God. The Church offers us a way to know the truth, but very few times we get to be invited by someone who strives to listen like Christ would.
The Missionaries of the Real Presence establishes its home base at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Becoming a Missionary
People may know God is calling them to serve the church, but not sure of how. Our community offers a unique experience where prayer is at the center of our day and from there, we go out strengthened by Christ to bring others into that same life of grace offered to us.
The missionaries residing at the St. Rose Parish Center as well as other young adult men and women missionaries who do not reside at the parish center are volunteers.
The in-residence missionaries of the real presence are a group of lay men who live in community at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In-residence missionaries are committed to a life centered in prayer and service to the parish as they discern their vocational call.
The in-residence missionaries engage in evangelization, liturgical ministries, organize devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, Attend Daily Mass.
They strive to live a life of virtue, obedience and discipline. They live a celibate and chaste life while seeking to gain a practical understanding of this way of life and its value for the Church and the world.
They are witnesses to the benefits of a simple lifestyle, expressing in concrete ways their concern and support for the poor, for our community and for the world.
They help with the upkeeping of the parish areas they occupy and use.