“And He said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send labourers into His harvest.”
-Gospel according to St. Luke 10:2
We are a group of men who have heard the Lord’s call for labourers in his harvest fields and have answered. We are a group of faithful men who follow the Rule of Saint Augustine; we live in common and pray the hours of the Divine Office together seven times a day.
We reside in the village of Concho, which can be found in Eastern Arizona. Some call Concho a “living Ghost Town”, because there are around thirty-eight people who live in the actual town. There are a few homes, a law office and a few tumbling down buildings, but the church of San Rafael is the life of Concho. We found their way to Concho entirely through the Lord’s guidance. At first they came for a three week retreat but, after much prayer and discernment, they felt the call of God to stay (if permitted by the local bishop) and begin to live fully the Canonical Life here in Eastern Arizona. The Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, the Most Reverend James Wall, has given permission for us to live and pray in Concho for the foreseeable future.
We live in the rectory next to the church and take care of both the grounds and the buildings in the church yard. But their primary ministry is praying the hours of the Divine Office and serving in various liturgical ways in the parish of San Rafael as well as in the neighboring parish of Saint John the Baptist. We also work in the area of education by teaching CCD for both parishes as well as offering parish missions, retreats, and giving talks and conferences on the Church’s Sacred Liturgy and the Blessed Sacrament As well as teaching at the local Catholic School in Show Low, AZ.
All of us were studying for the diocesan priesthood before entering religious life. After some formation in religious life, we discerned a call to found a new religious order while still pursuing their vocations to the priesthood. Along with the desire to both pray for and serve the Church as priests, we felt the call not only to live a life of poverty but also to serve the poor. Many times when one thinks of the poor, one thinks of those poor and homeless in the large cities of America living on the streets and begging for money on the street corner. Though this form of poverty is pervasive, it is also the kind that is most ministered to. Seldom is the poverty of the country and rural places recognized.
In the rural places of America, such as Concho, one will find physical and monetary poverty to be sure, but even more one will find a life of spiritual and relational poverty. Here there are some who have been forgotten or left behind by the majority of people because of the rural environment that surrounds them. We have felt a call to serve and live out the Canonical Life with these people and to give the spiritual fruits of their prayer and lives to those they come in contact with.
We invite any and all who would come to join us in our prayers in the parish church, to take up the Church's Breviary seven times a day or however often they can join us. The bells in the church steeple call the faithful to either pause and pray for a moment or to stop their work and come to the church to pray with us. Through this regiment of prayer, our lives are ordered to a relationship with the Trinity and with one another.
We hope to continue their studies for the priesthood in the near future and then be able to live out the Canonical Life with the blessing of the hierarchy as Canons Regular according to the rule of Saint Augustine. When this becomes a reality, the life of prayer will still be the our main ministry and calling. Through prayer and living in community together in one place, we are able to seek to fulfill the universal call to holiness that Holy Mother Church desires for all Her children.
We sustain themselves through their work of handy crafts and (mainly) through the faithful financial support of benefactors. We sell items at various fairs and bazaars around the area of Eastern Arizona to raise money for their daily needs. The greater amount of funds that they need in order to sustain their work of prayer and ministry, however, comes from the Christian Faithful supporting them through donations and monthly giving. Our confraternity, The League of the Blessed Sacrament, is a registered 501c3 religious non-profit. Your donations and support are put to work through the living out of the Gospel and by supporting our life of prayer and ministry and is fully tax deductible.
Who we are:
We are are a group of Catholic laymen who desire to live in community under the rule of Saint Augustine. Our ultimate aim is to be priests of the Church and to become Canons Regular after the example of Saint Augustine.
What we do:
We live in common and chant the Divine Office in community seven times a day. The Divine Office, commonly referred to as the Liturgy of the Hours, is the ancient prayer of the Church centered around the Psalms. We pray seven times a day just as the Psalmist declared: “Seven times a day I praise Thee because of the Thy righteous judgements” (Ps 119:164). From this contemplative life flows our ministry to the Church through parish work; we serve for liturgies, teach CCD, work with RCIA, lead parish missions, and give presentations on the Church’s liturgical life and the Blessed Sacrament. Our desire is “to renew all things in Christ.” Because this is so important to us and to the life of the Church, we have taken these words as our motto. To live out this desire to renew all things in Christ, we have in the past undertaken various ministries including: teaching at Catholic schools, liturgical training, homeless ministry, parish missions, teaching catechism, hospital chaplaincy, hospice ministry, college ministry, ministry to battered women, Confirmation retreats, and others.
The League of the Blessed Sacrament:
We also direct The League of the Blessed Sacrament and support local League groups in parishes and seminaries. We have a public hour of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Monday through Friday at four in the afternoon at the church of San Rafael. This daily holy hour is made possible by us with the permission of the local pastor and is held to foster greater devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to inspire deeper belief in the true presence of Christ on the altar.
Where we serve:
By the good pleasure of the Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico, serve in the parishes of San Rafael and Saint John the Baptist in Eastern Arizona. We live in the Parish House next to the church of San Rafael and it is in the parish church that they pray their hours in common daily. All the hours and other liturgical functions that the we perform are open to the faithful to attend and participate in. Some of us also teach at St. Anthony Catholic School in Show Low, AZ and work at St. Ritas Catholic Church in Show Low AZ as the Youth Minister and Organist.
6:30am - Matins and Lauds (Office of Readings and Morning Prayer)
8:00am - Mass
8:45am - Breakfast
9:15am - Work/Study
10:00am - Terce (Midmorning Prayer) and spiritual reading/reflection
10:30am - Work/Study
Noon - Sext (Midday Prayer)
12:15pm - Lunch
1:00pm - Work/Study
3:00pm - None (Mid Afternoon Prayer)
3:15pm - Free Time
4:00pm - Holy Hour/Seraphic Rosary
5:00pm - Vespers (Evening Prayer)
6:00pm - Dinner
7:00pm - Community Time
9:00pm - Compline (Night Prayer) followed by Grand Silence until Matins