An unexpected blessing for Stations of the Cross


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

CLINTON — Jean Bormann prayed to be more intentional during Lent this year and God responded in a way she did not anticipate. She committed to attending Stations of the Cross each Friday even­ing during Lent at Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Church, in the same city where she works.

Jean is director of development and communications for L’Arche Clinton, a community that provides homes for people with and without intellectual disabilities who live and work together as peers. L’Arche creates inclusive communities of faith and friendship and strives to transform society through relationships that cross social borders.

When L’Arche Clinton core members Brenda Connell, Mark Trenkamp and Dan Jensen heard about Jean’s plan to attend Stations of the Cross, they asked if they could go with her. “So I just started taking all three of them,” Jean said. The core members anticipated each week’s service, which required Jean to be intentional about attending to avoid disappointing them.


“They couldn’t wait to go,” Jean said. Mark typed a message to Jean on his communication device that read, “5 o’clock Friday — you pick up.” Yes, she assured him. “He was giving me my marching orders!”

Deacon Jeff Schuetzle, who has served both Prince of Peace Parish and the L’Arche Clinton community for many years, also coordinates Stations of the Cross services at the parish. On April 1, with no group assigned, Deacon Jeff was looking for two candle bearers to join him as the cross bearer to walk the stations. He asked Mark and Dan, who accepted with enthusiasm. “My heart was leaping for joy. I was so glad they wanted to be part of the stations,” Deacon Jeff said.

Mark and Dan followed Deacon Jeff around the 14 stations spread throughout the spacious church, taking his cues on when to stop at each station and move on to the next. “In a small way, the whole L’Arche community was being represented by these two gentlemen and Brenda and Jean in the pew. My heart was full,” Deacon Jeff said.

“It was wonderful!” said Father Ken Kuntz, the parish’s pastor, who led that week’s Stations of the Cross. He appreciated Mark and Dan’s participation as candle bearers. “They wore albs and took their duties very seriously. Deacon Jeff was very helpful in making sure everything went well. We love having the community with us at our 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays.”

Jean and Deacon Jeff especially appreciated Father Ken’s presence because he is retiring this summer. Brenda, Mark and Dan posed for photos with him after the service.

“It was important that we went to Stations of the Cross,” Jean said. This was the first time for members of the L’Arche community to attend stations since before the pandemic, which began more than two years ago. “The prayers are so meaningful and the L’Arche core members’ participation made them so happy.” Brenda agreed with Jean. “I like the church, the singing and prayers,” she said. She felt good watching Mark and Dan serving as candle bearers.

Jean did not anticipate the companions who would join her Lenten journey this year, companions who enhanced her ability to be intentional on her walk in faith.

L’Arche Clinton prays with Ukraine community

Around 15 L’Arche Clinton community members participated in a virtual prayer for peace with the L’Arche community in Ukraine on April 6.

Jean Bormann, director of development and communications for L’Arche, which provides homes for people with and without intellectual disabilities who live and work together as peers, participated in a Zoom prayer service about a week earlier.

Someone from the Ukraine community noticed her presence and invited the L’Arche Clinton community to sing at the prayer service on April 6, Jean said. The group sang “Beautiful,” a short song about Jesus. “Jesus is beautiful and Jesus makes beautiful things in my life. Carefully touching me, causing me to see that Jesus makes beautiful things in my life….”

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