By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Pope Paul VI instituted this day while the Second Vatican Council was in session. Pope John Paul II extended this invitation to us for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in 1993, “I turn to you who are already consecrated to the Lord and, in a special way, to you priests: you have already heard the call of the Good Shepherd; lend your own voice to him who today still calls many to follow him. Speak to your young people, letting them hear about the beauty of following the Lord,”
While meeting with communities before and after Christmas, it is evident that we are answering John Paul II’s invitation. I appreciate all the efforts made by us to announce and promote the call of God to follow Jesus Christ the Redeemer through life in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
For example, the Perpetual Help community in Toronto met in December to discuss this issue. Their discussion at one point centered around a very good question, how do we be present to, or become known to young adults and to new immigrants in our area? The community noticed, however, that there were not many occasions in their ministry to meet young adults in a setting where one can easily and authentically make invitations to religious life. The community recognized its strength, that especially this year they had a great ability to provide hospitality. They also have people very experienced at presenting Redemptorist spirituality to enquirers. They made a plan to put these strengths at the service of Fr. Joe Ruta and Fr. Santo Arrigo who often meet young adults and who might be able to refer some young people for “Come and See” type evenings at Perpetual Help Residence.
Fr. Red O’Reilly, is often away from Perpetual Help community. He does have the opportunity to do some promotion of the Redemptorist lifestyle to the general public. He noted that his music is often a way that he already familiarizes people with the Redemptorist name. He also will include in his future preaching a more explicit mention of the priesthood and religious life as very fulfilling vocations.
Following this lead of Fr. Red, Lent is often a time when others might take on a retreat evening or a parish mission in addition to other responsibilities we have. Please be aware that we have CD’s of music by Fr. O’Reilly, at Provincial Offices which you could make available for purchase during Lent. I am also sure that if you needed a few funny stories or jokes about priesthood or religious life, that Fr. Red would gladly give you some great ones to use when preaching on the subject during Lent.
From the 28th of December to the 1st of January, the Catholic Christian Outreach held a national conference in Saskatoon. Fr. Ciro Perez helped me to represent the Redemptorists and talk to young adults about our life and ministry.
Along with Fr. Ken, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Sisters Lucie and Evelyn, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, the Redemptorists are supporting and facilitating the teaching of prayer skills for discernment on the 8th of March and on the 26th of April in Saskatoon. Along with the Benedictines, Missionary Sisters of Mary and other religious communities, the Redemptorists are also facilitating a discernment retreat in Winnipeg on the 1st of March.
If you know of any people interested in learning about discernment prayer please refer them to:
phone: 416-789-3217; or
email: Vocations ; or
Upcoming Retreat Website Info: Plug In To Christ – Vocation Retreats : or
Join our group on Facebook: Plug in to Christ!
As we work to make this gentle invitation heard in many hearts, let us pray that God’s Spirit would open hearts to respond generously to this invitation.