By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
I am deeply grateful for all the activities that have already taken place and those that are coming in the months to follow. Below are some more stories about events that have already taken place.
I am grateful that high school religion teachers are making invitations for us to promote the Redemptorists in their classes.
Here is a video presentation about Redemptorists professing vows within our Congregation that was given to grade eleven and twelve religion classes in Saskatoon. Thanks to Fr. Steve Morrisey and Fr. Mark Blom, omi who were there at some of these classes. The video productions about the Redemptorist charism and how to become a Redemptorist have been seen by hundreds of high school students across the country, especially in Saskatoon, Grande Prairie, and St. John’s. We have invitations to return to these places this spring and to begin these presentations at a high school in Toronto. (These videos and discussion guides are ready for your use or the use of any teachers or youth ministers who are interested.)
I offer thanks, and encourage you to echo, a big word of thanks to our Associates and Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer. During this year I have been, and will continue to meet with all the groups of our Associates across the country. They are all considering ways to promote our Redemptorist Missionary Charism during this special year. For example, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Redemptorist Associates helped to spearhead this
initiative. They have published in the parish bulletin and sent out by email to all their friends and family this invitation to get to know the Redemporists through our videos that were recently produced (see excerpt of bulletin announcement at left). (All the materials are ready to go if you would like to copy this effort with your own parish contacts or Associate circles.)
People often ask me whether I enjoy all the travel to our various communities. I can honestly say it is a great delight for me to get around and meet the famous people therein—ahem—like Merlin the magician(?!)(pictured at right) who appeared in Grande Prairie for the Mardi Gras. :-)
Our community in Grande Prairie continues to be active in vocation ministry. During the first week of February, they supported a Vocation Week at the area schools. As usual, I was invited to make several presentations about Redemptorists to high school students. I was especially delighted, however, to visit four grade two classes at École St. Gérard, a French immersion school! My presentations were in English et en français! This was a wonderfully new experience for me—cute—very cute.
As you may know, young adult ministry at St. Joseph’s parish is burgeoning. There is a regular meeting of Theology on Tap AND a group of young adult Catholics who meet regularly as a Catholic Club on the campus of the Grande Prairie Regional College! Way to go guys! I was invited to lead a reflection called Discernment 101 during an evening of Theology on Tap which is held at a local restaurant called Mr. Mike’s.
Speaking of new life springing up. Please join me in celebrating the new life of vocation ministry that is happening not only in Grande Prairie but in two other places. Join with me in St. Paul’s invitation to the Phillipians (4.4) “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”
A few religious priests and sisters, along with the diocesan vocation director from the Edmonton Archdiocese, and a number of young people, pioneered an event called Spiritus (see picture of flyer in last month’s Community Connections). After some prayer and a spaghetti supper, I was invited to lead a reflection on the basic steps of discernment. This took place in February and by the middle of June, we will have also held two more evenings where we learn good discernment skills. These evenings are hosted by Fr. Glenn McDonald OSB and Ms. Brittney White who are the chaplains at St. Joseph’s College on the University of Alberta campus.
And in a similar manner, the first discernment supper was held at St. Michael’s University College in Toronto. Ms. Marilyn Elphick is well known to a number of Redemptorists and she greets you all. She, along with her chaplaincy team including a number of young adults, hosted a great event in February. They are planning a few more for the following fall and winter semesters. Thank you one and all for your prayers for our vocation ministry. I have been truly encouraged to be a part of the teams that launched these initiatives. There is much to rejoice about as this new life emerges from such awesome teamwork! Again I say rejoice!