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Give Them Something to Eat Yourselves

(Jesus) replied "Give them something to eat yourselves." - Mark 6:37 At the opening Mass for Marian Days in Carthage, Missouri on Thursday, August 4, 2016, Bishop Carl A Kemme of the Wichita, Kansas diocese, preached on the Gospel of Mark recounting the first miracle of loaves. This Gospel states that Jesus had his disciples feed the hungry crowd that was estimated to number "five thousand men" who had come to the hillside to hear him preach. The people at this Mass were some of the Vietnamese emigre community in the United States - men, women and children - and they numbered around 80,000. One of the greatest things about America is its diversity. People come from all over the world and put down roots in this nation, even while they bring a little bit of their homeland to contribute to the commonwealth of ideas. For thirty-nine years, Vietnamese Catholics have celebrated Marian Days in Carthage, Missouri. It is a pilgrimage of Vietnamese Catholics and their descendants done in honor of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, as well as in memory of their homeland across the Pacific. It is hosted by the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of Mary Co-Redemptrix, who came to the U.S. as some of the many "boat people" after the fall of Saigon in 1975. With the help of Cardinal Bernard Law, then Bishop of the Springfield Diocese, they purchased a Seminary in Carthage for $1 from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Fathers. They now number over 250 in the U.S. with about 100 Fathers and Seminarians living in Carthage. These pilgrims last week had arrived from Virginia and California; from Montana and Florida, and places between, and for three days would pray at Mass and Reconciliation stations; celebrate, attend faith teaching sessions, and visit Vocation Booths set up on the campus; share food, music and stories, and reunite with friends of earlier Marian Days. As Bishop Kemme looked out over the crowd in the open area facing the main altar, he saw what Jesus saw that day on the hillside: folks hungry for the word of God, for healing and hope. And just as Jesus had pity on them and preached God's love and mercy to them, so did the Bishops and religious ministering this week-end in Carthage, Missouri. Sr. June Fitzgerald from the Dominican Sisters of Peace Vocation Team, Candidate Phuong Vu, Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen, and Sr. Terry Wasinger were kept busy with people visiting our Vocation booth to learn more about Dominican Sisters of Peace, to write prayer requests in a notebook that will be shared with our retired Sisters, and to receive prayer cards and other items identifying our congregation and how to get in touch for more information. It was at the Marian Days pilgrimage some years before that both Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen and Sr. Mary Vuong first learned about Dominican Sisters. Jesus told his disciples to give the large crowd something to eat, even though they had only five loaves and three fish. Jesus blessed what they had, and it was more than enough. I felt like the disciples of Jesus: I had so little to give to these wonderful people. Yet, with the blessing of Jesus, maybe it would be enough. Sometimes do you feel that Jesus is telling you to "give them something to eat?" Would you like to learn to trust that it is possible to answer that request? Why not give from your abundance and share your gifts with others by responding to God’s call to become a sister. Why not contact one of our vocation ministers today to begin a conversation. Click here for photos from our Marian Day experience.

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