Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
Thank-you to all the Redemptorists at St. Patrick monastery in Toronto, who hosted a Come and Pray weekend at the end of February. Fr. Joseph Horo, shared a slide presentation on the history of religious life and some information about the charism of the Redemptorists with those who attended. He also helped to lead other reflections
including a Holy Hour on Saturday evening. Thank-you to Amado Almonte who appears standing at the back table in a white hood! He provided meals all weekend for a larger than normal crew. Wow, delicious as usual!! Thank-you to all our staff who do such a terrific job at St. Patrick monastery. It really was a team effort from Giulia, Daisy, and Vlasta and the others, to accommodate a full monastery for the whole weekend! Wow!
And that high energy carried right on out to the Redemptorist community on the west coast. Fr. Rich Luberti arranged for me to meet a Vancouver gathering of Youth for Christ. We spent a part of Saturday giving praise and worship to God, praying through some Lenten themes based on meditations by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and once again hearing the invitation to consider becoming a Redemptorist or Redemptoristine.
For two days previous to this, Fr. Bill Comerford and I visited all the grade 10 and 11 religion classes at Vancouver College. As you may know, this is a boys only school, founded by the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers and the lay teachers were very hospitable in allowing us to talk about religious vows in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Fr. Bill and I told stories about our lives as Redemptorists. Of course we needed a break after a busy couple of days, and one day for lunch the following week, we headed for the hills — well mountains to be exact.
And speaking of great hospitality. Fr. Rob Allore, the Jesuit pastor of St. Mark’s parish, which serves the student community at the University of British Columbia, welcomed the Redemptorists with open arms. With Fr. Rich as liaison, I was welcomed to leave our display about the Redemptorists for four days in the chapel narthex. Fr. Rob tells me, he did have to answer a few questions about how “Redemptorist propaganda” was now appearing in the hallowed halls of a college and parish served by Jesuits?! In this picture, I am shown preaching at the Sunday Mass which is attended mostly by students. I did show Fr. Rob the hand-out that I left with all the students at Vancouver College, which featured descriptions and websites of the Redemptorists, Christian Brothers, and of course about the Jesuits as well.
Unfortunately for much of my stay in Vancouver, our regular cook was off work. Fr. Babu made time in his busy schedule to fill in as chief cook, dishwasher, and shopper for groceries, and still guide me through the routines of each liturgy so I could easily preach at all the weekend Masses. Fr. Brendan made sure I stopped to watch a little hockey in the midst of the work, delighted me with stories from his great life experiences, and assured me of his prayers for our work in vocation ministry. This is just one example of many, that I find in all our communities, about how we look after one another, pull together, and live and work in Gospel friendship
And speaking of “going the extra mile” for one another…in the middle of March, Graham Hill drove from Grande Prairie to Calgary! There, he represented the Redemptorists at a Discernment Retreat that was sponsored by a number of women’s and men’s religious orders. Among the other men’s orders represented were the Dominicans, Basilians, Franciscans, Salvatorians, Jesuits, The Seed, and Oblates. Graham gave a talk about the Redemptorist approach to discernment. This was set in the context of many common prayers and much personal prayer time along with a few other talks on discernment.
To end, I hope you will allow me a few liberties with the words of St. Paul from his Thanksgiving prayer in his Letter to the Philippians…“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in our vocation ministry and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.“