By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
MUSCATINE — For three nights at Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish voices of the faithful rose to the domed ceiling, filling the sanctuary with the sounds of prayer and worship. The congregation hoped to grow closer to Christ and experience the power of his healing love.
Father Greg Bramlage of the Missionaries of the New Evangelization led the Sept. 12-14 mission planned by Ss. Mary & Mathias pastor Father Troy Richmond as a way to show parishioners the power of spiritual and physical healing. Fr. Richmond met Fr. Bramlage at a conference at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois about five years ago and thought the missionary would be the perfect person to conduct a mission for the Year of Mercy.
Each night began with praying the rosary as a group, followed by eucharistic adoration and worship music to help the group focus on God and to forget the day’s worries. Fr. Bramlage and his worship music team offered spiritual guidance with presentations, prayer and song.
On the first night, Fr. Bramlage urged the faithful to forgive their enemies. “He invited us to ask Jesus to come into our hearts and show us everyone who had ever hurt us from the time we were in our mother’s womb to the present,” Fr. Richmond recalled.
Parishioner Ramona Lauterwasser was touched by the talk. “I got so much out of it — especially forgiving myself and others in my life.”
On the second night, the theme was “Receiving the Holy Spirit.” Fr. Bramlage shared his personal testimony of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a Franciscan University conference. He invited everyone to pray a prayer of surrender and come forward to be prayed over for the release of the Holy Spirit into their lives.
Fr. Richmond said, being able to pray over parishioners for the baptism of the Holy Spirit was like a dream come true. “I could not hold back tears as I saw how the Holy Spirit was being poured out in a powerful way.”
The third night focused on renouncing evil and occult influences. Fr. Bramlage concluded the evening by leading the congregation in prayers for physical healing and, in particular, for healing of the eyes, vision impairment and blindness.
The church at Ss. Mary & Mathias was full all three nights, and Fr. Richmond was encouraged by what the congregation seemed to experience as a result of the mission. “I am very excited to see what the Lord has in store for our parish as the graces we received during the mission begin to bear fruit!”