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Presentation Ministries Newsletter

Vol. 9, Issue 1, Spring 2006

A Newsletter of Encouragement!
"Encourage one another daily as long as it is called today..." — Heb 3:13

George Schmidl, head director for Presentation Ministries, prays over attendees at the annual Bible Institute.

Presenting the 20th Annual Bible Institute
Church Militant, Church Suffering, Church Triumphant!
A Tribute to Bernie Erwin
A Tribute to Helen Roth
A Salute To Shirlee Witsken
Presentation Ministries Continues to Seek Prophecy
Recent Prophecies for PM
Media Ministries News
Learn About a Remarkable Apostolate By PM's El Paso, TX Members!
St. Peter Claver and Pregnancy Center Form Father Al's Legacy to Inner City Life

Presenting the 20th Annual Bible Institute

Come, now. 'Fess up. How many times have you seen advertisement for Presentation Ministries' Annual Bible Institute pass before your eyes and thought, "Hey, that's just what I need." or "I'd like to know more about that!" —and then proceed to "shelve it"?

The youth play, Job is back again this year! Pictured here are performers from a previous youth play at the Bible Institute.
Don't let any more precious opportunities slip by. Make time for one or two seminars or perhaps an evening session this year. The Bible Institute team purposefully constructs this nine-day event to fit every imaginable schedule. You can come as little as one day, or one evening, or try a two or three day seminar. Any and all of these segments will refresh and enlighten your soul.

On Catholic radio, your attention may have been caught by a fervent and enthusiastic man who proclaims himself the Latin lover of Our Lord and Our Lady." That same lively speaker, Jesse Romero, will be featured on our first weekend, July 21 & 22. Come hear what a three time World Police Olympics boxing champion, a former U.S.A. middleweight kick boxing champion, and a 17-year-veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department can instruct us about grasping more fully our Catholic mission.

This year, for the first time, we are blessed with a presentation on the Maronite Rite. Fr. Anthony Salim will offer a one-day program on Wednesday which will detail the history, liturgy, spirituality, and richness of the Maronite Rite whose roots go back to the Church in Antioch. Don't miss the Divine Liturgy that he will offer in the Maronite Rite that same day. The St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church choir will be on hand to lead us in worship and enhance the liturgy.

Many more programs will be offered: Bible Timeline, Apologetics, Building Small Christian Communities, Discovering the Spiritual Gifts, Prophecy & Discernment, Life in the Spirit Seminar, and the Doctors of the Church.

For for information and registration visit the Bible Institute webpage.


Church Militant, Church Suffering, Church Triumphant!

by Marianne Lander

A prophecy was given to Presentation Ministries during the Year of the Eucharist encouraging all to take advantage of the privilege and graces of gaining plenary indulgences for oneself and for those in purgatory. The prophecy continued: "The Church Militant on earth has a powerful opportunity to help the Church Suffering in purgatory. In turn, these holy souls will be released from their suffering and join the Church Triumphant in heaven. There they will have an even more powerful effect in bringing about the victory for the civilization of love and life over the culture of death."

Through the years since its foundation, several members of Presentation Ministries have passed on to eternity, hopefully into the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. Remember to call on their helpful intercession for our ministries and home-based Christian communities — especially when you are discouraged or feel like giving up!

Continue to run the race (1 Tm 4:7) and cross the finish line as did these three PM members who recently died. (See related articles in this issue.)


A Tribute to Bernie Erwin

by Fay Brinck

Bernie Erwin "always brought a happy presence when he entered the room."
In October of this past year, one of our "behind the scenes" helpers completed his journey on this earth. Big, lovable, tease, Bernie Erwin, left us.

Bernie's introduction to Presentation Ministries (PM) occurred at the 1993 Bible Institute when he accompanied his wife, Judy, to the opening Mass. At first glance he wasn't sure what she had gotten him into. He heard the charismatic prayer and questioned if this was really "Catholic." When Carl Handermann asked him to help pass the collection basket, Bernie responded, "Oh yeah, this is Catholic all right." From then on the Lord used Bernie's talents in a very special way.

In record time he joined New Creations Home Based Christian Community where he always brought a happy presence when he entered the room. He had the ability to make people laugh and feel good. Afterwards, he volunteered for various committees within PM. He exhibited a definite talent for drawing in other workers for whatever project he tackled.

Soon he personally met Father Al Lauer, who was carrying out his archdiocesan assignment of national evangelization before becoming pastor of Old St. Mary's Church (in Cincinnati). Father's ministry carried him to parishes and groups all over the country and Canada. More and more, Father needed someone to handle the details of his travel arrangements. Bernie's gift for dealing with people and handling complicated details made him a perfect fit for the job. However, when he discovered Father traveled with no money, no credit cards, and only a small suitcase and Presentation Ministries publications, he became alarmed. After Father was stranded in California for several hours once, unable to make a call, Bernie persuaded him to accept a prepaid phone card. As many of us know, Father relied totally on God for his provisions. Accepting a prepaid phone card was quite a concession for him. This witness of Father Al depending entirely on God for his concrete needs was a strong influence on Bernie's life. It later taught him how to deal with his own illness.

When Bernie retired from work, other PM committees and even ministries outside of PM began asking for his help and he responded to many. To name a few:

  • He coordinated publicity for the Bible Institute to all parishes in Cincinnati and Hamilton.
  • He headed up the St. Nicholas Program at Old St. Mary's with his wife, Judy, and friends.
  • He assisted Dean Weber in updating and recording Father Al's teachings for radio, and also helped with taping at the Bible Institute.
  • He handled all the transportation arrangements for out-of-town participants of the Bible Institute.
  • Last year he coordinated the monthly mailings of "My People" Newspaper.

On a parish level, he and his wife Judy were extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to the home bound at St. Antoninus. He served as a small group co-leader with Carl Handermann for three "Life-in-the-Spirit seminars in his parish. He was a big help in many ways without drawing special attention to himself or expecting it.

Besides his wife, Judy, he leaves three children and five grandchildren and many friends who continue to miss his keen sense of humor and his smiling, jovial, warm, caring presence. May the angels and martyrs be smiling on him now.


A Tribute to Helen Roth

by Diana Celia

Helen Roth, faithfully lived out her vocations in life.
"Dear Helen: I love you very much. Say "Hi" to Jesus for me. I can't give you a big hug so I will give Louise a big hug. Love, Lydia" (Lydia Hicks, age 4).

Helen Roth went home to Jesus on January 20, 2006. She will be sorely missed by all of us in the Jesus of Mercy Home Based Christian Community (HBCC) in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. The children of our community were especially dear to Helen and she loved each of them as though her own grandchildren. They all loved her back. Four-year-old, Isaac Henry, asked Helen's daughter, Louise, why Helen had to die. After she explained that Jesus wanted her mother to be home with Him, Isaac assured Louise that he would be writing to Jesus to tell him to take good care of Helen. Anna Marie Henry dried a rose from one of Helen's funeral bouquets to make a keepsake to sit on her dresser next to one she made in memory of her own grandmother. Several of the children made a visit to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy around Helen's bedside two days before she died. The children were precious to her and she to them.

Helen lived out the various vocations of her life totally devoted to our Lord. She was widowed early in her marriage when Louise was just six years old. Helen and Louise were constant companions, and their mutual love and concern for each other was inspiring. They became members of Presentation Ministries early in its history after meeting Fr. Al at a retreat he gave for their prayer group. Helen remained a faithful co-worker for PM the rest of her life. She distributed thousands of One Bread One Body booklets at hospitals and nursing homes over the years. She helped at the Discipleship Center, weeding the flower gardens, sewing curtains and cleaning on workfest days. She faithfully attended each year's Bible Institute and also completed the 40 day Discipleship Program, at which time Fr. Al placed a blessed wooden cross around her neck. She wore it constantly thereafter. She and Louise joined Jesus of Mercy Community at its beginning, sharing the joy with the families as each new family member arrived, at each new sacrament received, attending each meeting and function, generously distributing their gifts and prayers.

Dennis Hicks, co-leader of Jesus of Mercy, recalls a time early in the life of the community when God used Helen to spur him on in his spiritual life. He was sitting with her at a healing service at the Bible Institute, when Helen looked at him and said, "You should go up and be prayed over." When he didn't immediately respond, Dennis was surprised to hear this usually gentle little woman say in a convicting manner, "What — are you afraid?" Well, that got him out of his seat! When he got up to the prayer team, he experienced for the first time being "slain in the Spirit!"

Helen's life was truly miraculous. At the age of 18 she suffered from incurable internal bleeding. On Good Friday the doctors finally told her there was nothing more they could do, not expecting her to live beyond the next few hours. Helen's aunt, though, felt inspired to take her to "pray the steps" (a Good Friday tradition in Cincinnati where the faithful pray as they ascend the dozens of steps leading up to Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams). Having no strength to climb, Helen "prayed the steps" sitting down, laboriously pulling herself up step by step. By the time she reached the cross at the top of the steps, Helen was completely healed. She was able to walk down the steps, her strength totally restored. She went on to live another 71 years!

I have always felt the love our community members have for one another, but during the last few days of Helen's life, that love moved to a new level, manifesting itself in action. The hospital discharged Helen to Louise's care at home, sending along a feeding tube and oxygen. The situation required a myriad of nursing needs. Stepping up to fulfill these needs, the women of Jesus of Mercy HBCC, Mary Ann Metzner, Jeanne Hicks and Cathy Henry, spent their days at Helen's bedside assisting Louise in the care of her mother and praying with her. Meanwhile, their families were taking up the slack at home. Eldest daughters rose to the occasion of cooking family meals (with a few phone calls to moms)! This dedicated love had a profound effect on visitors to the Roth's home, and especially on Helen's sister, Mary Angela. She remarked on several occasions how wonderful these ladies were, so deeply impressed was she by their generous sacrifice of time. They willingly did all that was needed! She had never experienced anything like it. (You will know them by their love for one another!!) However, each of these women found ministering to Helen not so much a sacrifice but rather a privilege. As Jeanne Hicks told me "It was like taking care of Jesus." On her deathbed, God was still using Helen to enhance the spiritual lives of those around her!

I was privileged to be there when Helen died peacefully in Louise's arms. When Louise gently lowered her mother back down on her pillow, she pointed to her mother's right hand — Helen died clasping the wooden cross she had received from Fr. Al. I am blessed to have witnessed the love between this mother and daughter and I am at once proud, and humbled, to be a member of Jesus of Mercy Community. Rest in Peace, Helen. We love you.


A Salute To Shirlee Witsken

by LaVerne Stecher

Shirlee—her smile and her hugs will long be remembered.
There was always a smile on her face and a hug and kiss from Shirlee. She loved everyone and seemed to know everyone—or a relative or friend of a person if she didn't know the person herself. Her smile, her hugs and chatter will long be remembered.

After an off-on struggle with cancer, Shirlee was doubly blessed to die on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec 8, 2006, and be buried on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec 12th.

As a faithful co-worker of Presentation Ministries, and one of the volunteers, she shared information about it to anyone and everyone who would listen. One Bread, One Body was her favorite meditation book and she always had current copies on hand to distribute. Shirlee regularly picked up a bag of books for distribution. Even in her final weeks, when she could no longer drive, all visitors to her home or hospital room were requested to bring her a supply. They were then handed to doctors, hospital staff, patients and visitors. And when confined to her home, any visitor who did not have a copy, was given one— including the hospice and other health care persons who came to her.

We were not surprised, therefore, at the visitation before her funeral Mass, to find a beautiful, smiling Shirlee with a copy of One Bread, One Body placed in her hands. And nearby stood a basket filled with plenty of books for the taking by anyone who came to celebrate her departure from this earth on her journey to heaven. Somehow, I can picture Shirlee handing a copy of One Bread, One Body to St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven.

If you knew Fr. Al Lauer, can't you picture him, surrounded by the members of Presentation Ministries who joined him in heaven. I can envision Father giving out ministry assignments to each one of them. And I pray that Shirlee may be assigned to intercede for me and her sister members in the Servant Home Based Christian Community. What a blessing that would be!


Presentation Ministries Continues to Seek Prophecy

Presentation Ministries encourages all members both co-workers and home-based Christian community (HBCC) members to seek prophecy related to PM. At a recent leaders' meeting, Janet Willig, of the Word Gifts Ministry recounted a good example of how this can be done. New Creations HBCC sets aside 15 minutes during the prayer and praise portion of their meeting and prays specifically for prophecy for PM. If the prophecy is in the form of a scripture, one person makes note of it, photo copies the page of the Bible on which it appears, and highlights the appropriate scripture. Then they send it to us. An alternate way would be to write the prophecy out longhand, or type it or email it. This takes a little time, but it is vital considering PM was founded on prophecy and needs to remain on the right track. All submissions are discerned by those in the Word Gifts Ministry group. E-mail prophecy to and it will be forwarded to Janet.


Recent Prophecies for PM

Prophecy for October, 2005 Communities Mass
"Be not vexed over evildoers, nor jealous of those who do wrong; for like grass they quickly wither, and like green herbs they wilt. Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and He will grant you your heart's requests. Commit to the Lord your way; trust in Him and He will act. He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication." —Psalm 37:1-6

Prophecy for December, 2005 Communities Mass
(Submitted by Terri Bates)
"Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. The man without love has known nothing of God, for God is love. God's love was revealed in our midst in this way: He sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us and has sent his Son as an offering for our sins. Beloved, if God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another God dwells in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us." —1 John 4:7-12

Prophecy for the January, 2006 Communities Mass
"Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds." —Jeremiah 17:5-10

Prophecy shared at Annual Home Based Communities Retreat, October 8, 2005
"Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes? But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the Lord, and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak, and take courage, all you people of the land says the Lord, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, and my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!

For thus says the Lord of hosts; one moment yet, a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations will come in. And I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. Mine is the silver and mine the gold says the Lord of hosts. Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give you peace, says the Lord of hosts. —Haggai 2: 3-9

Prophecy for the February, 2006 Communities Mass
"Let us, then, go beyond the initial teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, not laying the foundation all over again...And, God permitting, we shall advance...Our desire is that each of you show the same zeal 'til the end...Do not grow lazy, but imitate those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises." —Hebrews 6:1, 3, 11, 12


Media Ministries News

"Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." —Mark 16:15



Dear Sirs:

Thank you for your radio program. I hear it on Sacred Heart Radio. The signal reaches over here very well unless there is an electrical storm. I am a charismatic Catholic who has converted from Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy. My reason for coming to the Catholic Church was the realization that it is only around the Chair of Peter all Christians have been "one" as Our Lord prayed for in St. John 17.
Yours, in Christ,

Radio witness from a prisoner:

Glancing through this month's issue of One Bread, One body, I noticed the schedule for the "Daily Bread" radio program. I borrowed a radio and tuned right in! I think it's great also.

Radio witness from an operator of a Catholic radio station:

Just wanted to thank you all for your ministry. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to air Fr. Lauer's programs.
Blessings to all.



By Sue Weber

I read One Bread, One body daily but this friend, Stephanie, who is searching for God is struggling. I want to help her any way I can; so I am asking you to send her a video. I think Father Lauer would be wonderful for her, as he was and is for me, and I think she needs insight into the Bible when she reads.

I just want to help her all I can. Thank you so much!



"Indeed, God's word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart." —Hebrews 4:12

One of the outreach ministries of Presentation Ministries is the Bible Telephone Line. This was an outgrowth of Fr. Al Lauer's vision for people to know the scriptures and attend Mass as often as possible being nourished by the Word and the Eucharist.

It provides a daily opportunity to hear a three to five minute teaching on the Mass readings and leave prayer requests, enabling each caller to further grow in the grace and life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we rejoice in the springtime, consider how the Bible telephone line ministry can aid you in your springtime of faith. Call the line in one of the cities listed below.

Atlanta, GA (770) 521-8570
Cincinnati, OH (859) 291-7000
Cleveland, OH (440) 572-4366
Columbus, OH (614) 470-0020
Dayton, OH (937) 640-2740
Indianapolis, IN (317) 767-5413
Long Island, NY (631) 574-2413

See the Bible Telephone Line webpage for more information. There you can also listen to a sample message.

If a line is not currently located in your city, hear the Lord's call for you to start one. For further information contact Nancyanne Sinclair @ 440-526-8235.



By Sue Weber

An inspiring message from a One Bread, One Body reader who made a wise decision for Lent.

"I had been wanting so much to learn more about the Bible during Lent, so when I read about your 40 Bible study (New Testament) tapes, I thought that that would be the perfect thing for me to do during the 40 days of Lent. Thank You!



Listen to Fr. Lauer's Daily Bread radio program via the PM website. This 14-minute program (which airs every Mon.-Fri.) is now available in MP3 format making it easier to listen on your computer or MP3 player whenever you like. A podcast of the program is also available. Since this change, the number of listeners via our website has tripled. Praise Jesus!

Our website Prayer Room continues to grow and be a powerful ministry. To date we have received over 2,000 prayer requests and many inspiring witnesses as to how Jesus is answering these prayers. Thanks be to God! Please send us your prayer requests and be sure to pray for other's requests too.


Learn About a Remarkable Apostolate By PM's El Paso, TX Members!

by Damian Valles, and Marianne Lander

Several brothers and sisters of PM's small Christian communities in El Paso, Texas teamed up to present a power-packed Evangelization Retreat for their parish of St Thomas Aquinas. Damian Valles, of Earthen Vessels Small Christian Community, agreed to MC this Spirit-filled event, with Ray Gomez as his assistant. Eighty participants registered for the weekend of Feb 10-12, many of whom were the parents and sponsors of First Communion or Confirmation students. The date of the Evangelization Retreat was purposefully planned to occur while the students were attending their own retreat in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Admittedly, some came under compulsion and dreading the loss of their precious weekend. But at the conclusion of the retreat what a transformation took place! Amid many smiles, new friends, and their souls uplifted, they discovered another horizon and a chance to place their families' spiritual formation on a solid Catholic path.

At 7PM Friday night, retreatants arrived at the church hall, registered, and found their places amid the sounds of a choir singing praises to the Lord. After an opening prayer the registrants were well grounded in the plan for the whole three days. They were to expect fifteen different talks arranged in three blocks. Most of the fifteen speakers took twenty minutes apiece and the topics were interrelated: "Renewal of Baptism," "Renewal of Confirmation," and "Eucharist & Community." The team presented a timetable so everyone could anticipate the flow of the weekend. Baby-sitting—a wonderful feature—was offered to make this event accessible to parents with young children.

To introduce a particular theme and to brighten and loosen everyone up, each talk commenced with a song. A personal witness often underscored the teaching. After completing two talks, small group discussion followed with a facilitator and pre-planned questions. The team facilitators excelled in their job because many of the participants found that the discussion time got "shorter and shorter" as the weekend progressed. Actually, the allotment of time was the same throughout, they simply warmed up to the retreat and to each other as they went along.

Members of Earthen Vessels Small Christian Community collaborate with other El Paso, Texas communities in a spirit-filled parish retreat.
Besides teachings, the retreat included a ceremony to renew their baptismal promises, a session before the Blessed Sacrament, a special Prayer of Forgiveness, and a laying on of hands to pray individually over people for the release of the Holy Spirit's gifts in their lives. An opportunity was set aside for participants to witness to the great things God did for them right there that very weekend. The retreat proceeded through Sunday morning, closing with 12:30 Mass.

Three times a year members from the small communities in the parish host this retreat. They have much to do to prepare. Someone is designated as MC and acquires an assistant who will undertake the MC role at the next retreat. The team choir rehearses twice weekly for four weeks to prepare their songs. There is a team in charge of the Blessed Sacrament room, assigning adoration hours throughout the retreat. The registration team welcomes everyone and assists with names tags, organizing small groups and providing facilitators. Fifteen volunteers work on their talks and witnesses in advance.

A most important factor — the next step — is disclosed toward the end of the retreat. All are invited to come and discover more about belonging to a small Christian community. The twelve-session program developed by Fr. Al Lauer on forming small Christian communities is immediately scheduled.

This apostolate of the small Christian communities in El Paso is deeply impressive. We salute your devoted endeavors! There is much we can all learn from your labor of love for the kingdom of God.

Besides Earthen Vessels, the other small Christian communities in El Paso are: Faithful Family, Jesus, Son of the Mystical Rose, Mary, Mother of Forgiveness, The Lord's Vineyard, Crusade For the Holy Spirit, and Shepherd's Flock.


St. Peter Claver and Pregnancy Center Form Father Al's Legacy to Inner City Life

by Vivian Jansen

Father Al Lauer, founder of Presentation Ministries also founded two important ministries which continue his vision for renewed family life in the inner city.
Father Al Lauer lived a call of prophetic poverty in imitation of Jesus, Who "emptied Himself" for us. Like Christ, Father chose to be in solidarity with those who suffer, in order to better know, love and serve them. He believed God was calling him to live in the inner city in Cincinnati many years before he accepted the assignment to Old St. Mary's Church. In prayer he discerned some new ways to reach out to the people in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. As pastor at Old St. Mary's Church he founded two new ministries to serve families and support mothers.

St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys K-8 is the only all boys elementary Latin school in Cincinnati. Its primary goal is to make a strong Christ centered and academically challenging curriculum available to inner city boys. Fr. Al envisioned this school to be a place of hope for these young men.

Today the Old St. Mary's Pregnancy Center is the busiest center of its kind in Cincinnati. It helps save mothers and their babies, and supplies them not only with formula and diapers but also with God's Word and hope.

These two major centers are the first steps in fulfilling Father Al's vision to renew family life in the inner city. He hoped to save the lives of many women and their babies; and to raise up strong young men who would respect and protect women, children and family life in the future. Hopefully some of the future graduates from St. Peter Claver Latin School will be courageous doctors, lawyers, professional leaders, husbands and fathers who will restore family life.


The cost of this publication is a donation. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit what amount He would have you contribute.

Copyright © 2016 Presentation Ministries
3230 McHenry Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45211
Phone: (513) 662-5378

Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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