By Fr David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
I borrow here from the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Phillipians…
“I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership (in promoting our mission of bringing the Good News of Redemption to the world). 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.”
We give thanks to the Redemptorist community in Saskatoon. On the 8th of February, Fr. Steve Morrisey (second from right in picture below) and Fr. Jon Hansen joined the diocese of Saskatoon, chaplains from St. Thomas More College, and various other religious communities to celebrate Consecrated Life through an evening Mass and a vocation supper. About 50 students from the University of Saskatchewan were able to meet personally with those dedicated to religious life.
During that same week, the Grande Prairie community hosted activities to promote the Redemptorist way of life. Graham Hill and I visited most of the high school religion classes where we spoke about our life as Redemptorists. I was also invited to speak with the youth group of the parish where I extended the invitation for the young people to consider a vocation as a Redemptorist or a Redemptoristine. Homilies at all the Sunday Masses encouraged people to consider becoming a religious sister, brother or priest. The Redemptorists also extended an invitation for men to come to a vocation supper at the rectory on Monday the 9th of February. Archbishop Gerry Pettipas and Graham Hill witnessed to their call into religious life and the priesthood. The picture at the right includes the Redemptorists and three of the five men who attended this vocation supper.
I was also invited to share with the Redemptorist Partners in Mission (picture at left) how we are promoting the Redemptorist charism in other communities across the country. We prayed together using some prayers by St. Alphonsus, to help inspire our living out of the Redemptorist charism.
The Redemptorists of the Welcome Home regularly host a Sunday Divine Liturgy, followed by snacks and time for a friendly visit with all who come from the surrounding neighbourhood. On the 15th of February, three men who are inquiring into the Redemptorists attended this ministry of the Redemptorists in Winnipeg. I was then able to meet with each of these men individually and encourage them to consider a vocation as a Redemptorist.
At right is a picture taken in the chapel with the present Welcome Home Community, (l to r) Fr. Mike Smolinsky, Olesia, Caleb (as you may know, Caleb is a grand nephew to Fr. Albert Sterzer), Roman and Fr. John Sianchuck.
And if you thought February was high energy…well that was just the beginning. On the first Saturday in March, Tony (bottom picture below), one of our novices, accompanied me to the Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto. At a gathering of 3,000 adults and nearly 1,000 teenagers and young adults – reportedly the largest regular gathering of Catholics in Canada – we spoke with many about the mission of the Redemptorists in our Church. We extended an invitation to come and join the Redemptorists and the Redemptoristines.