The Year for Consecrated Life - St John’s, New Jersey and Toronto

posted on 03/06/15 10:52 am by Kathy McMerty  

By Fr David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

“Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star,
Guide of the wanderer here below,
Thrown on life’s surge, we claim thy care,
Save us from peril and from woe.”

Years ago, these words were sung by many a Catholic fishing family as their men headed out on the boats from small coves all over Newfoundland. In May, much was happening in vocation ministry along the Atlantic coast.

Here we see a Vocation Discernment Workshop in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I spoke about the Redemptorist missionary vocation. I also taught a prayer by St. Alphonsus for Communion with God’s Will. The participants learned through Anne Walsh, a Christian Brother, a Companion of the Cross priest, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of the Presentation, Sisters of the Queenship of Mary and others; about the single life, consecrated virginity, the brotherhood, sisterhood, priesthood, marriage and other vocations. What a great experience of many people working together in vocation ministry!

Thanks to our confreres, Frs. Tony, Leo, and Roy! They mounted a wall sized depiction of the story of our Congregation in St. Teresa’s church. Along with other religious communities in Newfoundland, they also produced posters which promote Consecrated Life with catchy sayings such as…“Leaning on the Rock” and “Finding your Hearts Content,” all illustrated with beautiful scenes from Newfoundland. They displayed these posters in the church as well as on a vocation display board.

On the 13th and 14th of May, for the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Mr. Jim Fleming (left) was ordained to the diaconate, and Deacon Nelson Boren (right) was ordained to the priesthood. Along with the Knights of Columbus, we invited some men to a supper at St. Teresa’s rectory and then to attend the ordination of Mr Jim Fleming. Fr. Ray Earle (middle) now serves the people of Portugal Cove and Bell Island. He sends his greetings to all.

The sea also called out to Redemptorist students, formators, and co-ordinators of vocation ministry. From the 17th to 23rd of May, we met at San Alfonso Retreat House in New Jersey. Fr. Brendan Kelly C.Ss.R., taught us about the value of our four vows to our own personal and communal lives as well as to the people whom we serve. We prayed; played croquet at night by the light of cell phones; ate fresh stingray caught in the ocean in front of the retreat house; walked along the beach; shared stories of support and faith; and much more. It was a great time of renewal for all!

Graham Hill renewed his temporary vows at our closing Mass; and is now preparing for final vows and ordination to the diaconate which are to take place in the fall.

Great things were also happening at our community on the shores of the “sea” called Lake Ontario. In St Patrick church, during Sunday liturgies and at Wednesday Masses, the homilists preached about the vocation of Consecrated Life. Invitations were made to young men to come and join us for a Come and See Day on the 31st of May.
Thanks to the hard work of Fr. Shijo (left), Fr. Francis (middle), Fr. Joseph (right) and Fr. Santo (omnipresent), a few men joined us for a celebration at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish. Thanks to Fr. Peter Chin and parishioners, we celebrated a wonderful bilingual Mass in Cantonese and English, presided over by Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R.. We then processed through the streets of Toronto. Bishop John then shared with our group about his ministry with the Byzantine Slovakian people. To close the day we then joined in a great banquet of food and fun.

And what a banquet to end it all! Mr Paul Yeung and his wife Bonnie and all the singers from Fountain of Love and Life led us in song. Fountain of Love and Life run a religious articles store which serves the Catholic community in the Toronto area. They also produce televised religious programming for Catholic Chinese people.

For a short video of the procession, please click this link

I am grateful for Mary’s Perpetual Help in our vocation ministry. May this prayer from the hymn, bless all who are enquiring into, and those who are already members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer …

“Mother of Christ, Star of the sea. Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.”

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