By Karen Mahoney
Special to your Catholic Herald
Angel of God, My Guardian Dear To whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side To light and guard and rule and guide. Amen.
Catholic tradition states that guardian angels are appointed to children at their birth, given to them by God and ordained to be their guardian to protect them each day of their lives.
While he doesn’t fit the ethereal description of a fair haired, blue-eyed, winged, heavenly messenger, Bruce Bultman is a guardian angel just the same. As secretary/treasurer of the Milwaukee chapter of Catholic Family Life Insurance (CFLI), he has prayed for hundreds of babies as part of the Guardian Angel Prayer Network.
“I have done this for the past 10 years and really enjoy it,” he said, explaining. “I think of it as kind of a magnet concept in that there are pluses and minuses. Sometimes people need prayers and draw on that power and they are receiving that energy. The prayers are energizing and they come back and energize us. We can’t see the magnetism in thin air, but it’s there – you can feel it.”
Each quarter, chapter members receive a list of new babies enrolled in the Guardian Angel Program and pledge to pray for the children’s welfare for the first five years of life.
The family receives a certificate commemorating the child’s baptism and the members of the prayer network receive a guardian angel pin as a symbol of their spiritual guidance.
With Catholic Family’s dedication to the unborn and young life, praying for children is another way to strengthen the faith, said Bultman.
“We always pray the Guardian Angel prayer and the Hail Mary for the babies when we have our meetings,” he said. “It is a good first start for these kids and a blessing for us to pray for them.”
While he has never met any of the babies for whom he prays, Bultman knows that they have made a difference. Volunteering as a guardian angel is one of many ways he gives back to his community as a member of CFLI.
In addition to the Guardian Angel Program, CFLI offers members-only benefits such as scholarships, a prescription discount plan, first Communion benefits, society outings and travel opportunities and the summer camp and retreat programs.
According to Joe Gadbois, vice president for fraternal services and marketing, the annual camp is celebrating its 40th year this July.
“Annually, 300 or so members travel to Columbus, Wis.,” he said. “We have talent shows, outdoor Mass, horseshoes, ice cream floats, children’s games, a costume parade and so much more that we might seem a throwback to earlier times. But we are now having the children of the original campers now coming with their children. It’s great to see generations passing on the Catholic Family legacy.”
Continuing their mission to reach out to other Catholics, each chapter decides where they want to send their donations and volunteer their time. The chapter members are the soul of the organization. With support from the society and local advisors, volunteer chapter officers help members carry out social, civic, charitable and religious activities throughout the year.
Membership in CFLI supports volunteer efforts in the various chapters to better their communities and assist local parishes and schools.
For years, the Milwaukee chapter has donated to Wisconsin Right to Life and other pro-life organizations. It also supports children with cleft lips and palate through Smile Train, the international charity providing free surgery to children around the world.
Additionally, Bultman and other members help the poor in the city with needed funds, and their ministry of presence.
“Our Milwaukee chapter has volunteered with the St. Vincent de Paul meal program on 10th and Madison for the past 25 years,” he said. “We recently linked up with St. Matthew Parish in Oak Creek to provide more manpower to help the organization. The people are so grateful for anything we can do to help.”