By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
Brother Paul Bernarcyzk CSC expressed his delight to me at being able to lead us in a reflection about the promotion of vocations to religious life. He was very grateful for the hospitality he experienced among us during our Chapter in April.
He introduced us to the “Mythbusters!” from the study of religious candidates in the United States who were in initial formation or in final vows between 1993 and 2008.
Myth #1: No one is entering religious life anymore.
Fact: More than 70 percent of all religious communities (both men’s and women’s)
report having new members in formation. Nearly 20 percent have five or more people in
some stage of formation. The 2009 NRVC/CARA Study on Recent Vocations sets a
new benchmark for the current century.
He discussed with us some so-called “best practices”. Here I simply quote two examples and I leave the others for future newsletters.
#1 “Many of the successful institutes are characterized by a “culture of vocations”
within the institute. In these institutes everyone – not just the vocation director – has a
sense of responsibility for vocation promotion and is involved in and supportive of
#2 Findings from the survey of religious institutes reveal that there is a positive
correlation between having a vocation director, especially one who is full-time, and
having candidates and new members in initial formation.”
Thank-you once again, to our Provincial Council who recently appointed “a new” full-time Co-ordinator of Vocation Ministry. Thank-you to all of you who in the past, and those during this current year, have taken up the challenge to become more personally responsible for vocation promotion. Hopefully these practices along with others to implement in the coming year will produce similar fruit for us as it has in the United States.
We have done all of this without being overtly aware of the desire of our General Government to issue a new invitation. As you read from the letter of Fr. Michael Brehl published on the 25th of April..
…“the whole Congregation will celebrate the ‘Year for the Promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation’
beginning on the Feast of St. Alphonsus, August 1, 2013 and continuing until the Foundation Day of the Congregation on
November 9, 2014.”
Fr. Brehl reminds us that what was discovered in the NRVC\CARA study about the importance of each confrere’s involvement, has already been announced in our Constitutions and Statutes…
*“It is the Spirit of Christ himself who raises up missionaries in the Church. But ordinarily he makes use of human contacts
and relationships to make Christ’s invitation known to his apostles” (Const. 80).
As we look ahead to this “Year of Promotion” Fr. Michael invites….
*“each Unit should explore concrete steps that it can implement to develop its vocation ministry. This involves the promotion
of our missionary vocation…”
Fr. Mark Miller through his Provincial Visitation is discussing this year of promotion with each community. Please remember that as you identify what concrete steps will work best in your region, I am readily available to plan these concrete actions with you; to place at your disposal the necessary resources to facilitate these steps; and to help in any way that I can to implement these concrete steps.
Along with Fr. Michael Brehl we pray and consider….
*May the Holy Spirit guide our efforts and our initiatives. We entrust this special year to the care of Mary, our Mother of
Perpetual Help. Her “yes” to God continues to resonate in the hearts of all Redemptorist missionaries. St. Alphonsus
recognized Mary as the missionary par excellence who accompanies us in all our ministry.
Interestingly, as I travel through each region, people with whom we work recognize in us Redemptorists, “closeness – willingness to be with…. – supportive ministry.”
For example, the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League in St. Teresa’s parish in Newfoundland told me of the great difference the presence of Redemptorists have made in their ability to sustain their local bingo. They deeply appreciate and sense they are working at fundraising for the good of the parish, side-by-side with the Redemptorists.
Speaking of fundraising……you’ve heard of the Loch Ness monster. Well there was a similar creature spotted in Mundy pond!!!! – just across the road from St. Teresa’s parish. The pastor of the parish challenged the people in the parish and in the area, to donate money and he would go in for a swim with the Mundy Pond Monster?! Brave soul that he is, he dared them – if they raised a certain large amount of money, he would then go for the swim in January! Well…..
He swears that the Monster was there?!
Well that’s about the biggest story I can think of telling for now. So, we will take a break for the summer, and begin publishing new adventures in promoting God’s call to life in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, in the fall!