By Fr David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
As you know the 9th of November marked the end of the year for the promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation. We were fortunate to have Fr. Michael Brehl with us in Toronto to mark this event.
He met with a few men who are enquiring about the Redemptorists and a few of the novices. Fr. Brehl spoke about the inspiration he draws from St. Alphonsus and about some of his experiences with Redemptorist communities
around the world. These men then joined the parishioners of St. Patrick’s parish and many Redemptorists to celebrate the noon Mass. At this Mass
all the professed Redemptorists renewed their vows. Afterward, the Redemptorist community of St. Patrick hosted a luncheon. What a celebration!
Thank-you to all confreres across Canada for your great participation in the promotion of our Redemptorist way of life. As you have seen in previous issues of Community Connections, all our communities have been very active in this regard. I was also encouraged at a meeting in October of all confreres who are co-ordinating our vocation ministry across North America. Hosted by our confreres at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, we had a chance to share fruitful practices in our ministry. We also shared issues that Fr. Jack Kingsbury will raise at the next Conference Assembly. Mr. Tien Do and his wife joined us from Ottawa. They spoke to us about how to encourage children who grow up in today’s culture to grow in their faith and to consider serving the Church in consecrated life.
Also in October there were many activities to promote the Redemptorist way of life. The Redeemer House and St. Patrick communities hosted a “Come and Pray” evening attended by six men and the Catholic Students Association held a national conference at St. Joseph College, University of Alberta.
In the picture at the right, you see from left to right two seminarians – one is from St. Joseph parish in Grande Prairie, a Jesuit, Dominican, Basilian and a real live Redemptorist priest! They were able to set up displays and mix with students to promote Consecrated Life and Priesthood to the students and chaplains attending the conference. There are 2 more pictures on the next page taken at this conference as well.
In Saskatoon another Discernment Weekend was held at Discernment House. As you know the Redemptorists, along with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary help to advertise and facilitate a retreat weekend to teach discernment skills. The next retreat will be held on the 23rd of January 2015.
As we close out The Year for Promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation, we have now begun a year for the promotion of Consecrated Life. I am not sure how to put into words the gratefulness and amazement that I feel. Every community across the country is spontaneously and energetically carrying out ways to continue promoting the Redemptorist way of Consecrated Life. I offer just a few examples and will have more to follow in our next edition.
At the left is a picture of a meeting with chaplains, students, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, and a Sister of the Presentation of Mary.
The Redemptorists will join in a supper on February 8th hosted at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon. This event will feature a supper where students will be able to sit down at table with religious and personally get to know about Consecrated Life and the people who live it out.
The Grande Prairie community invited me to come and promote Redemptorist Consecrated Life, within the context of a week-long promotion of vocations at the schools and in the parish. This will all culminate in a Come and Pray supper at the rectory on the 9th of February.
The St. John’s community, especially with the help of a parishioner who donated the cost of printing and with the writing skills of Anne Walsh and Margie Janson, have published a thousand copies of a booklet which answers the question “Who are the Redemptorists?”. If you would like to receive a digital copy of this booklet then please send a note to me or to Kathy McMerty at the Provincial Offices. The community of St. John’s are also putting up a large display about the Redemptorists for the Year of Consecrated Life.
The St. Patrick community have already had a display out in the foyer of the church for the month of November which highlighted the Redemptorist vocation along with many materials that they ordered from :
They put out a small box in which people could leave a name and email address if they wanted more info. This idea generated seven contacts of people who have received information about the Redemptorist and Redemptoristine Congregations. Way to go!!!! I am so excited by all the ideas popping up in our communities and again say a heartfelt thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!
Another example of young people’s desire for spiritual direction occurred in Fredericton, New Brunswick near the end of November. The chaplain of St. Thomas University hosted a supper where we spoke about discerning the will of God. I used examples from my own life and spoke of what is attractive about life in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. We ended the evening with a devotion based on the prayers from St. Alphonsus. What a gift for all! The chaplain warned me that students were in the middle of final papers and preparations for final exams so there might only be a handful of people there. However, the reputation of the Redemptorists preceded me and 11 participants showed up! One man wrote up an article about the event, which will appear in the next edition of the New Freeman (the Saint John diocese newspaper.)