The Beginnings of the “Mustard Seed Community”
In August 1982, members of the Service Team of the Diocese of Covington’s Catholic Charismatic Prayer Groups and other committed members of these prayer groups* met at St. Walburg Convent in Villa Hills to discern the Lord’s will and vision for the prayer groups. The meeting was led by (now Deacon) Tom Nolan, and employed the services of Dr. John Gutting, a professional discerner and Director of the Office for Parish Organization Development, an office in the Department of Pastoral Services, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
This meeting was convened because the Service Team felt a strong call by the Holy Spirit for the prayer groups to be more supportive of each other; retreats, a day of recollection, and a series of prominent speakers failed in this objective. Leading up to this day, many people received Scripture passages about building a house for the Lord (ie. Haggai, Ch 2), and the Holy Spirit’s presence was very evident throughout the meeting. After a day of prayer, reflection, and discernment under the leadership of Dr. Gutting, it was decided to hold a monthly prayer meeting with all the prayer groups every First Friday in the basement hall of Mother of God Church in Covington, with Mass every fourth month. The parish prayer groups were requested to cancel their prayer meetings during the week of this First Friday area-wide prayer group meeting.
In a November 1982 meeting of the Service Team, the format for the monthly prayer meeting was decided upon and the name “Mustard Seed Community” (MSC) was selected. (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-34; Luke 13:18-19) “Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies”, it cannot produce fruit. As the MSC, we are called as a body to surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit to be used as He sees fit, and thus bear fruit in His kingdom. “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.” We pray for mountain-moving faith!
Temporary ministries were formed, including a leadership ministry. On December 3, 1982, we held the first of our newly formed monthly prayer meetings; Fr. Bob Rosing gave the first teaching and Larry and Linda Verst gave their witness. The power of the Holy Spirit was most evident; we were on our way! On February 6, 1983, an evening of discernment was held to form 14 permanent ministries for the MSC.
Many exciting events occurred that first year: our first healing Mass celebrated by Fr. Ken Sommer, a Charismatic retreat led by Fr. Ken Sommer, a healing service at Mother of God Church led by Fr. Ed McDonough (the power of the Holy Spirit was seen as Fr. walked down the aisle sprinkling Holy Water and whole rows of people rested in the Spirit, lives were changed, and miracles were evident), our first involvement in Fr. Al Lauer’s Bible Teachers Training Seminar where many in the MSC experienced the joy in learning to teach Scripture, several very well attended Life in the Spirit Seminars (83 newly baptized in the Spirit in April 1983!), our first community picnic in June at St. Barbara’s Church, a witness by Leo Parras in October…an exciting year indeed!
The year 1984 was just as productive with a repeat of most of the previous year’s events, in addition to our first Growth Series and our first Pentecost Novena, an evangelism rally, a Sabbath meal and instruction in how to worship the Lord in dance as taught by a Messianic Jewish couple to kick off Lent.
Following a series of meetings between our Bishop Hughes and members of the leadership team, and with the concurrence of the priests’ senate, we began our Sunday Liturgy at Thomas More College Chapel in July 1985. Bishop Hughes was always supportive of the MSC, inviting us to participate in many Diocese functions.
In March 1988, the entire MSC was invited to a meeting at Thomas More College to discern a vision for the MSC. Out of the meeting, a mission statement and a structure for the MSC was developed.
In 1989, it was discerned that the Lord was calling us to St. Anthony Church, and combined with the wishes of some in the MSC to be connected to a parish, the decision was made to move the Sunday Liturgy to St. Anthony Church where we were welcomed by pastor, Fr. Fleming. However due to the late hour of the Mass, attendance dwindled, and in January 1991 we moved our weekly Sunday Liturgy to St. Anne Church at the invitation of Fr. Steinhauser to celebrate 9 a.m. liturgy.
Many other wonderful and exciting events occurred during those first ten years in our history: spaghetti dinners, square dances, MSC sponsored trips to Charismatic Conferences at Notre Dame in Indiana and Steubenville, Ohio, the 25th anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal in Pittsburgh (where we heard powerful prophecies of a new springtime for God’s people), and Ecumenical Charismatic Conferences in New Orleans and Indianapolis. We have seen the Lord work in wondrous ways, in tremendous spiritual, emotional, and physical healings.
We are called to live, not in the past, but as St. Paul says, to press on to what lies ahead. New members are to be added to the leadership of the MSC, new vitality to be enjoyed, new ideas to be tried, and new graces to be experienced.
We are Catholic, Charismatic, Spirit-filled Christians. Above all else, we in the MSC are God’s people. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, mightily blessed by His Holy Spirit, fulfilling the prophecy of a new springtime of grace for God’s people.
Written in 1992 by the early leadership.
* The Service Team consisted of Bob Cook, Sr. Judy Nagey, Bill Fricke, Dick Budke, and Joe & Laverne Bessler. Those present at the August 1982 meeting also included Carol Hodge, Harry & Tess Humpert, Tom & Jeanne Nolan, Bette Riedmatter, Deb Scheper, and Ginnie Scheper.