If we are to serve, if we are to care, if we are to minister, we have to get right inside. And so let us pray: Spirit, touch me. Touch me with your grace. Touch me with your wisdom. Touch me with your love so that I can help somebody, so that I can serve somebody, so that I can bless somebody. Be the bridge over troubled waters so that I can be the balm in Gilead, be the hands of Jesus stretched out to heal. (from Sr. Thea Bowman, on "Healing Ministry" at St. Stephen's Catholic Church, Minneapolis, MN, 1989. Listed in Thea Bowman: In My Own Words by Maurice J. Nutt, C.Ss.R., Liguori Press, 2009)
Singing: "Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me."
MINKISI (pronounced men-KEY-see) is a ministry that believes that in the Spirit of the Living God, we are all called to be healing instruments of God. Minkisi is a Swahili word for "healing objects". The Minkisi ministry cultivates and attends to the inner spiritual life that is followed through in an individual's relationships, actions, and religion. Group members see themselves as spiritual friends, who develop (or have developed) a daily prayer discipline in their lives that includes quiet prayer. Similar to what is sought in the Prayer Attributed to St. Francis, the group prays, "Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love..." Most Minkisi group members are involved in works of charity and other ministries, and they appreciate the on-going faith development aspect of the small group.
The Minkisi contemplative group is open to adults who are parishioners, neighbors, friends or co-workers. This interracial group meets monthly and invites visitors on usually the first Mondays of the month, 7:15-9:00 p.m., for prayer and reflection sessions in the Parish Discussion Room of the Parish Office. Different from a bible study group and more like a lectio divina group, these individuals use the Bible and meditation as a springboard to learn how God is speaking in their daily lives. African American spirituality is also highlighted in the Minkisi group sessions, as well as in the Sunday morning coffee dialogues and the annual November retreat days.
One of Minkisi's call and response prayers begins:
"Lord, send the gift of your Spirit to fill this place and myself and the world.
Touch me with truth that burns like fire, that moves me like the wind;
and set me free Lord.
Free to try new ways of living;
Free to forgive myself and others..."
Minkisi Ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 2700 S. 19th Street, Arlington, VA 22204. Members: Cecilia Braveboy [Facilitator, 703-979-5389, firstname.lastname@example.org], Rhoena Cooper, Barbara Harris, Ida Hernandez, Celestine Person-Green, Gail Meighan, Veronica Ong, Bob Rohde, and Jackie Smith. Spiritual Director: Rev. Freddy Washington, C.S.Sp.
- "Lord, Make Us Channels of Your Peace," by Cecilia Braveboy, Minkisi ministry coordinator, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Arlington, VA. All photos by Phyllis L. Johnson. This article was originally published in the January/February 2016 newsletter of the National Black Catholic Congress.
- Annual Mini-Retreat: "Blessed are the Merciful, for They Shall Receive Mercy" (Matthew 5:7), a retreat day will be held on Saturday, November 5, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Arlington, Virginia. Evangelist, author and educator Therese Wilson Favors will again be our retreat director. In preparing for the day of reflection, Therese recalled what Pope Francis said about mercy:
With our eyes fixed on Jesus and his merciful gaze, we experience the love of the Most Holy Trinity...His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships he forms with the people who approach him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable. The signs he works, especially in favor of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion. (Pope Francis, April 11, 2015)
For the November 5th retreat, please arrive at 9:00 a.m. in the church to receive the retreat packet and worship guide. Opening Mass will be 9:15 a.m., followed by the retreat sessions (including lunch) in the Founders Room-Ministry Center. See the flyer for more information. Pre-registration is required on or before November 1, 2016. Early registration recommended since there is limited seating this year in the Founders Room-Ministry Center.
- Praying for Vocations: Since November 2009, the Minkisi ministry has launched a seven year prayer time for vocations from the Black community. Prayer for vocations continues throughout the year in parish liturgies. See page from a parish bulletin and the diocesan Black Catholic Ministries program, "Watering the Garden" that was held November 19, 2015. Also see two priests newly ordained in the summer of 2016.
- African American Spirituality: The Minkisi interracial group meets monthly and focuses on contemplative prayer and the African heritage. Several members have attended retreat day learning experiences throughout the year. Details and additional photos...
- About Spiritual Director Fr. Freddy Washington: Spiritan Father Freddy has been Minkisi's spiritual director for over ten years. Read this article about him from a November 2015 parish bulletin.
- In Memoriam: In 2015 and 2016, two members from the Minkisi group went home in God's glory...one of the founding members Marguerite Thomas and the founding spiritual director, Fr. Al McKnight, C.S.Sp. They both were incredible social activists in the church and the community. In 2015, one of our well-loved pastors, Fr. Leonard Tuozzolo (2002-2009) also went to eternally rest in arms of Our Good and Gracious God. God be praised...and may His perpetual light continue to shine upon them!
- Coffee and Dialogues: Nourishing open hearts and spirits, Minkisi also provides prayer services and dialogue hours. Read the article in the Arlington Catholic Herald for the July 18th worship entitled, "Raising Prayers, Voices for Racial healing", July 27, 2016. Also, see the photos of the "Prayer for Peace, Reconciliation and Racial Healing", July 18, 2016, taken by Keren Charles. On September 9, 2016, for the National Day of Prayer in Our Communities, the "Second Prayer for Peace, Reconciliation and Racial Healing" was co-sponsored by parish ministries: Haiti Committee, Justice & Peace and Integrity in Creation, Mateo 25 Grupo de Oración, Minkisi ministry, and Ujamaa Committee. Most of these photos courtesy of Phyllis L. Johnson. Minkisi Ministry also had a leadership role in Stone Soup 2015 and the 2013 Prelude to the March on Washington.
- Food Collection: The Minkisi Ministry will continue to collect non-perishable food items for the parish food pantry. Non-perishable food or Giant or Safeway gift cards can be brought to the monthly meetings and/or to the weekend Masses at church. For more information, please contact coordinator, Cecilia Braveboy, email@example.com and 703-979-5389.
- Minkisi Retreat 2015: See photos of the Minkisi 2015 retreat, courtesy of Phyllis L. Johnson.