About Missionaries of the Real Presence
The Missionaries of the Real Presence is an apostolate of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Milwaukee. We are a group of lay men living in common and discerning our vocations as we build up the prayer life of the church and evangelize the neighborhood. This goal is to be accomplished by praying the Liturgy of the Hours in common in the church each day at the appointed times, organizing 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, not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty. (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 open to come so when they are ready to come home, they will be welcomed back. There are far less people going to church now than in the past, but our neighborhoods have not gotten smaller. 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 causes a 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 seek 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. “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. We attend daily Mass, pray weekly devotions for the passion of Christ and for Our Lady, pray The Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. “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 COMMUNITY OF MISSIONARIES
The Missionaries of the Real Presence are a parish apostolate based at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Missionaries Way of Life
The day-to-day life of the missionary is structured like that of religious life. Our missionaries are discerning a call within the church as religious, or priests and their prayer and work intends to assist with this discernment. We put prayer first as we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, attend daily Mass, spend time in silent prayer and adoration, and so building the entire day around prayer. From our prayer springs the call to love our neighbor in our work. In the time in between our prayer times, we do our work which is primarily mission work to the neighborhoods surrounding the parish and assisting in parish ministries.
“Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls.” St. Rose of Lima
We are missionaries that seek to build up the prayer life of the local church and then go out to invite others to experience prayer and worship in the Catholic faith. Our neighborhood outreach is targeted to all of those who reside and work in the St. Rose of Lima parish boundary. We try to be Christ’s hands and feet to our neighbors who are searching desperately for God but looking in the wrong places. “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.” - St. Teresa of Avila
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 are expected to follow the general schedule and engage in evangelization, in liturgical ministries, in organizing devotions and in the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours.
● They are to be devoted to living a life of virtue, obedience and discipline. They need to be celibate and chaste while seeking to gain a practical understanding of this way of life and its value for the Church and the world.
● They should be committed to a simple lifestyle, expressing in concrete ways their concern and support for the poor, for our community and for the world.
● They will live in community with one another and help with the upkeep of the parish community they participate in.
Candidates for missionaries in-residency must be at least 18 years of age. They must demonstrate maturity, faith and a serious desire to discover God’s vocational calling in their lives.
In-Residence Missionary Admission Process
The candidates to become missionaries in-residence must apply through an admission process. The admission process includes mandatory archdiocesan safe environment training, criminal background check, and interview with the admission board. Individuals applying should have current health insurance coverage. Other admissions criteria can be obtained by contacting the missionaries’ general coordinator at the parish.
Nonresident Missionary Volunteer Opportunities
Parishioners and people in general can join us in service, mission and prayer. Mission trips do not have to be to faraway lands; we bring a sense of mission to daily life by spiritually accompanying the dwellers and those who work and visit the Central City of Milwaukee.
Support for the Mission
The Missionaries of the Real Presence ministry can be supported by joining our community as a missionary, by volunteering with us on a regular basis, participating on a mission trip or supporting us financially.
Financial resources will be used to purchase evangelization printed materials, to cover mission trips expenses, the continuing formation and education of missionaries and small stipends for living expenses such as car maintenance, insurance, medicines, phones, etc.
Financial support is received as a Missionaries of the Real Presence designated donation to Saint Rose of Lima Parish only.
St Rose of Lima
St. Rose was the first canonized saint of the Western Hemisphere and a frail young woman of staggering asceticism and profound mystical gifts. The future patron of Latin America was the daughter of a Spanish conquistador named Gaspar de Flores and his wife Maria de Oliva. She was baptized Isabel, but called Rose. ("She looks like a rose," exclaimed the Indian servant of the Flores family when she first beheld the beautiful child.) The mother was pleased by this compliment, and thereafter ignored the baptismal name.
Rose found her own beauty perilous. Intensively spiritual in bent, she even tried to scar her features when people praised her good looks. To please her mother, she wore a wreath of roses, but beneath it she placed something like a crown of thorns. Her penances should always remind us that in our necessary efforts to follow God's will, we must not allow our own wills to become stumbling blocks.
St. Catherine of Siena, it seems, became the model whom Rosa de Flores selected. When those around her ridiculed this ambition, she stood her ground. It was her desire to enter a religious order. Her parents forbade it, however, and she accepted their veto. But to counter their nagging insistence that she marry, she took a private vow of chastity. Then, when she was twenty, she enrolled in the Dominican Third Order. Thereafter she wore a habit of a Dominican tertiary. Unable to become a nun, she finally discovered an equivalent on her own property: a little hut at the end of the garden where she could live and work and pray much like a hermitess.
In her prayer life, Rose suffered far more from interior pains than from the scorn of her associates. For fifteen years she endured agonizing spiritual desolation. But she was also rewarded by visions of her guardian angel, of St. Catherine, and of the Blessed Virgin. Her greatest consolation was to hear from the lips of Christ himself, "Rose of my heart, be my spouse."
The penitent of Lima was not so involved in prayer, however, as to neglect others. When her parents came upon hard times, she labored day and night to support them, raising beautiful flowers for sale, and doing fine needlework on order. She also set up a little infirmary in one room in which she took care of impoverished children and ailing seniors. This marked the beginning of social service in her native city.
Despite the criticism that many had visited on Rose, she won a great crowd of admirers among the local citizenries. When she died on August 16, 1617 -- a date that she had exactly foretold --the throngs who came to her wake were so great that the funeral had to be postponed several days.
Beatified in 1668, in 1671 she was canonized as "St. Rose of St. Mary," and proclaimed patron, not only of Peru, but of all America, the West Indies, and the Philippine Islands.
St Philip Neri
Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy: the whole post-Renaissance malaise.
At an early age, Philip abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence, and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.
As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially, they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and served poor people in Rome.
At the urging of his confessor, Philip was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor himself, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions, and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.
Some of Philip’s followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers and composed music for the services. The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns!
Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.
After spending a day hearing confessions and receiving visitors, Philip Neri suffered a hemorrhage and died on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1595.