By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
A special “shout out” to all the Redemptorists and Partners in Mission who have been getting the word out about the Redemptorists. You have seen many pictures of activities in 2014 where people have heard about our Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Interestingly, I travelled to Ottawa during the first week of December. There, I had four interviews with people who were interested in more information about religious life and especially about the Redemptorists. It is wonderful that people are hearing about the Redemptorists even in places where we have no foundations.
Another amazing blessing to our efforts. I represented our community at the 2014 Rise Up conference in Calgary. For many years we have helped to sponsor this gathering of university and college students (this year over 600 students attended) that is hosted by the Catholic Christian Outreach. For the first time they invited sponsoring religious communities to join with diocesan clergy for a men’s vocation session! Seventy men accepted the invitation to attend this session! They were able to meet personally with religious priests and brothers along with diocesan priests and deacons. We had the opportunity to show our video testimonials from young Redemptorists, sign up men for future retreats in Western Canada, and meet one man who is interested in discerning with the Redemptorists.
Another unexpected blessing that occurred in Ottawa…..my hosts in Ottawa are very good friends with Pierre Bach, a Redemptorist in Ste. Anne de Beaupré Province. They invited me to concelebrate a special Mass at the Vietnamese parish at which Bishop Christian Riesbeck CC presided. You will notice how they helped the children and youth feel special by inviting them to dress up in special colours, sit in the front rows, serve as acolytes and cross bearer, read some of the readings, and join in the music ministry. It was a marvelous celebration! And of course I have an invitation to come back and talk to their youth about the Consecrated Life of the Redemptorists. I was doubly astounded when the bishop mentioned that I am a vocation director and invited young people to speak with me about religious life and to speak with him about serving as a priest in the diocese.
One of the features of a Vocation Supper in Saskatoon in February will be a draw for prizes. In the first picture below, Fr. Santo Arrigo is drawing for prizes at a recent Theology on Tap that was organized through St. Patrick’s Parish young adult ministry. This event involves young adults who do much of the work of organizing and also offers prizes for participants. Held in January we reflected on vocational discernment and were able to hand out information about the Redemptorists. Hopefully these are some useful ideas for your own activities in the future.
As you may know, the 2nd of February is the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. Therefore, February offers us an especially opportune time to promote the Redemptorists. For example, the Grande Prairie community has invited Archbishop Gerry Pettipas to be present and tell his vocation story at a Vocation Supper for Men on the 9th of February. On Sunday, the 8th of February, the Novitiate community will be serving the Mass at St. Patrick Church. The St. Patrick parish staff will preach on the theme of vocations and make a special invitation to a Come and See retreat to be held later in the month. Also on February 8th, the Saskatoon community will participate in a vocation supper being held at St. Thomas More College. Students from the college are invited to celebrate Mass and share a supper afterward. Religious from various communities will be attending so that students can meet personally with religious from the various communities in the Saskatoon area. Wow! This is the time to be creative and keep inviting people to come and join our Congregation!