By Fr. David Louch, C.Ss.R.
[This is a report on the first meeting of the newly constituted Redemptorist Spirituality Commission of the North American Conference. I originally wrote it as my weekly letter for the OLPH Parish bulletin in Vancouver. I have modified and expanded it for the more specifically Redemptorist readers of Community Connections.]
On Sunday afternoon, February 3 I headed to the Vancouver airport for a 3-leg overnight journey to Daytona Beach, FL. Fr Rick Boever of the Denver Province met me there at 11:00 AM on Monday and drove me the last 25 miles to St Alphonsus Villa in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
St Alphonsus Villa is a retirement centre for Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province and the Richmond Vice-Province; next door is the Vice-Provincial Residence. Between the two places there were enough rooms to accommodate the eight members of the North American Redemptorist Spirituality Commission. The Commission had languished for the last three years, due largely to the illness and death of Fr Ray Corriveau who had been its driving force for about a dozen years.
Now the Spirituality Commission was being revived. It had been reconstituted with three previous members and five new ones (including me), and we were gathering for our first 2-day meeting. (We will probably meet once a year and stay in touch by e-mail as we carry out our tasks between the annual meetings.) The members of the North American Redemptorist Spirituality Commission are Fr Rick Boever (Denver), Fr Tom Burke (Richmond), Fr Francis Dientran (Extra Patriam) [did not attend], Bro Dan Korn (Denver), Fr David Louch (Edmonton-Toronto), Fr John Murray (Baltimore), Fr Jean Claude Nadeau (Ste Anne de Beaupré) and Fr John Sianchuk (Yorkton). Fr Rick Boever was elected chair of the Commission. Fr Jack Kingsbury, Co-ordinator of the North American Redemptorist Conference, also joined us for this meeting.
After reviewing the previous work and accomplishments, as well as unfinished business, of the Spirituality Commission we agreed on projects that we would work on over the next two or three years. These projects include:
Organize a Redemptorist retreat to be offered in various places in 2015 in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the Perpetual Help icon being entrusted to the Redemptorists (1866). Bro Dan Korn will facilitate this retreat on The Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help: Mirror of Redemptive Love. The retreat will be offered in 6 or 7 locations including Queen of Apostles in Mississauga from Oct 19-23, 2015.
Finalize the publication of a book being prepared by Fr Bob Fenili on the life and spirituality of Blessed Gennaro Sarnelli.
Prepare for our CSsR communities a booklet of reflections and prayer services focusing on the Redemptorist Saints and Blesseds of special interest in North America. This would be the fourth booklet in the Charism series and would include St John Neumann, Bl Francis X Seelos, Bl Vasyl Velychkowsky, Ven Alfred Pampalon as well as Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Publish a coffee table book about shrines and devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help around the world.
Prepare a revised and updated Manuale CSsR for use by Redemptorist communities and individual confreres. This might include an English translation of the Divine Office for special Redemptorist feasts, community prayers for various times of the day, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, material on OLPH for prayer and preaching….
This was a really good meeting of a committee that I think will get things done! Besides that, it was good to get away from gray and overcast Vancouver to enjoy three days of sunshine and warm weather (high 70s to low 80s). I returned refreshed and renewed to get ready for Lent.