DAYTON – Sisters of the Precious Blood on June 5 hosted a liturgy and farewell dinner for Father Bill O’Donnell former pastor at Precious Blood Parish in Trotwood and a close friend of the Sisters. He was recently appointed pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Chicago.
Father O’Donnell was a familiar figure at Salem Heights celebrating Mass in the Salem Heights Chapel, visiting with Sisters and eating meals in the Salem Heights dining room.
“The Sisters are very caring. They are very supportive,” he said. “That’s really a wonderful, wonderful gift that we share. That has been a spiritually and emotional enriching thing for me, and I think for many of them, too.
When Father Bill O’Donnell became pastor of Precious Blood Parish 12 years ago he identified main constituencies in the parish and naturally looked across the street to Salem Heights. In the Sisters of the Precious Blood he saw a key asset. He also understood the value of collaboration and that entities can’t accomplish things on their own.
“That’s what established the relationship with the Sisters about inviting them into the parish and them inviting the people of the parish in,” he said. “It’s been an absolute blessing for everybody involved.”
Partnerships between Precious Blood Parish, the Sisters and other church organizations have helped revitalize the Trotwood and the area around northwest Dayton. When Precious Blood Parish built a new church about 12 years ago for example, it was built on Salem Avenue so people would see it.
“It’s very clear that our neighborhood is deteriorating and has many challenges to face as it moves forward,” Father O’Donnell said. “I’ve always been proud of the fact that the Sisters and Precious Blood and other religious groups in this area have been the ones to invest in this area. Businesses haven’t invested, they’ve left. The religious communities have stepped up to the plate, put money in their buildings and made a commitment that they’re staying.”
As Father O’Donnell leaves Dayton, he’s pleased with the impact the partnerships have made in the community.
“We are truly a Christian presence that makes a difference out here on the north side of Dayton,” he said. “The Sisters come from a history of being rooted and active in ministry. I think the parish and other ways in which we’ve come together have given the Sisters lots of ways in which they can be contributing to the community and the faith out here.”