By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
As you know, our Constitutions and Statutes encourage us: The vitality with which the Congregation pursues its apostolic mission depends on the number and quality of the candidates who seek admission to the Redemptorist community.
For that reason, all the confreres, out of love and appreciation for their own vocation, should zealously engage in the apostolate of fostering vocations to the Congregation.” (#79)
In fact each community has been and continues to accomplish this goal. I would like to share with you just some of the many and varied ways that we are fostering vocations to the Congregation across the country.
It is very evident that Grande Prairie Redemptorist Community members have had in the back of their minds some young people who would make good candidates for religious life in our Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. They recently created a list of these people to whom they will make an invitation in the coming months. Here the community is seen gathered near a display board that they have put up in the narthex of St. Joseph Parish. Fr. Ed Eherer hand cut a 3-D invitation which reads, “Is God Calling You?” I would be willing to bet that Fr. Ed would create another one, if you wanted one for a display in your community. He also has some great ideas about what works well for such a display board and I bet he would be willing to share those ideas with you. If you cannot find a display board such as this one, then please contact myself or Ruth McDonnell at the vocations office (416-789-3217) and we will help you find a good quality display board.
The Edmonton community discussed their diminished ability to be visibly present in active ministry, in the Edmonton area. They however noted that at young adult gatherings, confessors are needed for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They will contact the head of the Youth Evangelization office whom they know through our previous ministry at St. Alphonsus parish. The director of Youth Evangelization is very interested in their help at large gatherings of youth in the Edmonton Archdiocese. Also the Edmonton community decided to keep a visible Redemptorist presence through the media of print advertising. They are presently designing an ad to be placed in the Western Catholic Reporter and the Prairie Messenger. They had many stories to tell of vocation promotion of various kinds over many years. They acknowledged that many resources, much time, and some very talented people have worked on this ministry. At the same time they acknowledged the “conundrum” that only a few people have been attracted to our way of life in recent years. However, they also expressed a desire to continue devoting time, energy, and resources toward this ministry.
Here we see the St. John’s community gathered with our Partners in Mission. Can you guess who is celebrating their 50th birthday? The Partners in Mission group decided to put the promotion of vocations to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on their agenda for each meeting through this next winter and spring. This would help them to finish formulating and then put into action some of the ideas that surfaced at the meeting in October. The Partners in Mission group in Grande Prairie met in October as well. They noticed that they have good friends in Grande Prairie with children in high school and first years of college. At their next meeting they committed themselves to drawing up a list of which parents to contact between now and June 2013. They would also discuss how these parents and their children should be approached to promote God’s call to a life in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
The community of Redemptorists in St. John’s invited me to a deanery meeting. At that meeting I presented the proposal for a group of Redemptorist priests and brothers to come to the St. John’s area for a weekend of vocation promotion in various parishes. We received a warm response to the idea that the time is ripe to work together in a deanery toward some vocation event.
If you are interested in bringing this topic to your deanery please feel free to call the confreres in St. John’s who would be glad to share their experience of how this is being promoted in their area. Please feel free to contact me if you would like me to help at a meeting of your local deanery.
I would like to thank one and all for the very warm Gospel friendship that I have experienced at all the communities in which I have been recently working. I look forward to my next stops in other communities. I am encouraged that despite the “conundrums” we face, “out of love and appreciation for our own vocation, we zealously engage in the apostolate of fostering vocations to the Congregation.”
We used this prayer throughout our meeting at Glenview in October. Please consider joining in prayer with us. Please use this prayer during your community or common prayer.
we thank you for the blessings
you have given us in Christ our Redeemer.
Let your Spirit overshadow your people,
making your gentle invitation heard in many hearts.
Lord of the harvest,
bless the Redemptorist family
so that those in greatest need
will experience the good news of redemption.
May your love grow among us
and spread throughout all your creation,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.