By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
As you may know, in 1993 our General Government published some guidelines for each Province to follow. These guidelines concerned vocation recruitment and student formation. In the chapter called “First Contact and Vocational Accompaniment” they wrote to us:
74. GENERAL OBJECTIVE: This is the time of first contact with the Redemptorist Apostolic Life. Its end is to announce and to promote the call of God, …… to follow Jesus Christ the Redeemer by preaching the word of God to the poor.
75. SPECIAL NOTES:
It is very evident that we take these suggestions from the General Government to heart. 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 Vancouver community is mandated by their diocese to host a 40 Hours Devotion to pray for vocations. From the 21st to the 23rd of January 2013 they will be hosting their next devotion. They plan to insert more Redemptorist promotion and prayers into these devotions.
The confreres in Vancouver also plan to preach at Sunday Masses about God’s call to life in our Congregation, on “Good Shepherd Sunday”. As you know, the 21st of April 2013 is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In the school during the week of World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Redemptorists along with teachers of grades 5 and 6 classes will make presentations in these classes, about how God calls people to religious life and the priesthood.
There are no names that come to mind at the present moment. Therefore, at a future community meeting, the confreres will make up a list of people they know it would be appropriate to ask whether the person is interested in joining our Redemptorist community. At future meetings they will also talk about how to bring the notion of God’s call to religious life, into the catechism classes of grade 7 students who are preparing for confirmation.
In Saskatoon, the members of the community were able to describe different ways in which they do parish ministry in a way that is “vocation friendly”. In addition, they maintain a vocation display on the bulletin board of St. Mary’s church, and put a weekly message into the parish bulletin about vocations. One member of the community attends a regular meeting of a vocation committee that is made up of representatives from around the diocese.
The Saskatoon community tries to keep up an active presence within youth and young adult ministry. They have taken on two chaplaincies at local Catholic high schools; and one member is soon giving a talk to young adults at a Theology on Tap gathering; and one or another of the confreres often shows up at youth group gatherings.
While I was in Saskatoon, they introduced me to the high schools and some of the staff. In the future we hope to meet with staff at the high school to encourage activities that announce and promote God’s call to religious life. At a future community meeting they will also plan out a weekend for the parish at which they will promote God’s call to religious life and priesthood.
There is a conference in Saskatoon from the 28th of December through the 1st of January. This conference is attended primarily by Catholic university and college students from across the country. One confrere and I will represent the Redemptorist community at this conference.
At the time of our meeting in Saskatoon, Fr. Kaz was unable to attend, but he assured us of his presence in prayer and in the Spirit. We trust in the Lord’s promise that “love is stronger than death”. We trust that our efforts “to promote the call of God to follow Jesus Christ the Redeemer by preaching the word of God to the poor,” will continue to be blessed by Fr. Kaz, and indeed by all who have gone before us in our Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.