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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: July 2010
Thursday

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1)

On August 1, Redemptorists around the world celebrate the feast of our founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori — priest, confessor, bishop, and patron of arthritics. The oldest son of a prominent naval officer in Naples, Italy, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1732. 

Since he preached his first mission to the goat herders in the countryside around Naples, the missionary family he founded has spread throughout the world. St. Alphonsus died on this date in 1787 at the age of 91. He is the patron of moral theologians, as well as the patron of those suffering from arthritis, a condition that confined him to a wheelchair for much of his later years.

We hope you’ll join us in thanking God for the life of St. Alphonsus, and pray that more young men will join us in following him in the footsteps of Our Redeemer.

An Arthritic’s Prayer to St. Alphonsus

St. Alphonsus, you are the special patron of all who suffer from arthritis and the pains of many years. When our fingers twist with pain, keep us focused on the hands of Christ pierced with nails. When our knees throb with endless aches, allow us to see the knees of Jesus smashing to the street under the heavy cross. When our backs stiffen with soreness, let us remember the back of Christ thrown across the rough wood of the cross. When our hips, elbows, knuckles, and other joints hurt so much that tears well up in our eyes, help us to recall the tears, the sweat, and the blood that flowed from our crucified Jesus, who suffered so much more for each of us.

St. Alphonsus, you were afflicted with curvature of the spine and confined to a wheelchair in your final years. Teach us to unite all our pains with the sufferings of Jesus. By your intercession, may our pain be eased — but even more, may we be one with Jesus in his death and resurrection for the redemption of the world. Amen.

Prayer for Vocations 
to the Redemptorist Family

Provident God,
you spoke your dream of plentiful redemption
in Jesus Christ.
Your Spirit ignited the heart of St. Alphonsus,
inspiring him to found a family in the Church
dedicated to proclaiming the good news
of plentiful redemption to the most abandoned.
Raise up among us
strong women and men of faith,
afire with love for you
and zeal for the mission of proclaiming your word
among those who do not know you,
or who need to hear your word proclaimed anew.
Guide men to respond with generosity
as vowed Redemptorist priests and brothers,
and women and men to serve in joy and hope
as partners in the Redemptorist mission.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
your Word, who is our Life.
Amen.

Friday

Redemptorists in Paraguay have elected new leaders to oversee the vice province’s transition into a full-fledged independent province within the worldwide Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. The establishment of the Province of Paraguay will officially be celebrated next month.

Father Vicente Soria Fleitas, 39, has been chosen the first provincial of the new province. Father Osvaldo Duarte will serve as vice provincial.

Other members of the provincial council include Father Francisco Cano from the former Vice Province of Pilar, Father Ronaldo Ocampos from Bella Vista, and Father Alejo Insfran also from the Vice Province of Pilar.

Redemptorists from the Baltimore Province first founded missions in Paraguay more than 80 years ago. Vocations to the Redemptorists have since flourished in the country, and today most of the Redemptorists in the new province are native-born.

Please join us in praying for our confreres in Paraguay as they start this new chapter in Redemptorist history, and continue our misson to preach God’s love to the poor and most spiritually abandoned.

Monday

If you would like to send prayers or congratulations to our jubilarians, email us at jubilees@redemptorists.net.

The following is an excerpt from the homily delivered July 17 by Very Rev. Alfred Bradley, vice provincial, during the Mass for our jubliarians and James McCabe’s final profession:

We all need inspiration. Presidents and poets, priests and parishioners, football players and footstool supporters all need to be challenged to exceed our expectations. And if we are to exceed those expectations, we must be inspired. We all need to look to the courageous people who have gone before us, whose stories and vision can help to sustain us and each new generation.

Today we honor 27 men who celebrate 25 to 70 years of religious profession and 19 men who mark an anniversary of ordination between 25 and 60 years. No doubt, these men were inspired by the example and spirituality of St. Alphonsus to give their lives in service of the Gospel. No doubt, in their many years of service to God and the Church, they too have inspired many others to love Jesus Christ.

The confreres, whom we honor today, have served God and his people in places as big as Puerto Rico and as small as Port Ewen (NY). They have preached missions and pastored parishes in places like Paraguay and Poughkeepsie. They have celebrated the sacraments everywhere from Baltimore to Brazil, and cared for God’s people from Lima, Ohio, to Brooklyn, New York, and from Ellicott City, Maryland, to Jacksonville, Florida.

As young men, they left their homes in Philadelphia and Boston. They studied in the grape belt and were sent to preach the Gospel in the Bible belt. Like young Samuel, they understood that if God was calling them, they had to get up and move beyond what they knew (1 Samuel 3:1-10). And with Samuel-like eagerness, they responded.  Inspired by the stories and lives of the Redemptorist priests and brothers who went before them, they traveled by bus and train to distant places with funny names like Highlandtown and Odenton. They took ships and planes to serve as chaplains in foreign wars, and as missionaries on Caribbean islands and in South American countries.

With selfless dedication, these men desired to follow Jesus Christ more closely. In a variety of ministries and locations, they lived out the gift of their Redemptorist vocation. One could be cutting grass (at three in the morning) on a seminary property, while another was teaching English to a class of future Redemptorists. One of our priests might be breaking the bread of the Eucharist, while another confrere was making bread for the community meal. As Redemptorist priests and brothers, our jubilarians have lived in and ministered to large and small communities. Some have prepared meals while others prepared sermons, some built churches and schools, while others put out fires and the trash — all in service of the Gospel.

None of this would have been desirable, or even possible, without inspiration. Touched by the example of the Lord Himself, the men we honor today entrusted their futures to God. Learning new languages, adapting to new cultures, moving to new places all required what one spiritual author called a “holy carelessness.” Like the Andrews and Philips, Jameses and Johns that went before them, they understood that their religious profession was a call to die to self in order to be more available to God and His people. Their profession and ordination was meant to make them freely and unconditionally available to God. Their consecration was meant to inspire others, to remind all of us that we belong to a God who deeply loves us. …

We all need inspiration!

You will need it too, Jim, in the days ahead. As you profess your final vows today, you can look to the senior members of our community for the kind of inspiration that will help you exceed your expectations and sustain you through the joyful and difficult years that lie ahead.

With your profession of perpetual vows today, Jim, you acknowledge that your entire life and future are consecrated to God. Sometimes we religious need to be reminded, that our vocations are a gift from God; a gift freely given and completely unmerited. Our responsibility is to make ourselves wholeheartedly available to God, with as much generosity and love as we can give. In order to serve God and the Congregation to the best of our ability, we must not be minimalist, but we should try to exceed our expectations. That involves some dying to self in the process.

Remember, we all need inspiration.

Monday

Father Arthur Mahoney died July 17 at the St. John Neumann Residence at Stella Maris in Timonium, MD. He was 86.

Father Mahoney was born August 6, 1923, and professed vows as a Redemptorist on August 2, 1946. He was ordained to the priesthood June 17, 1951.

Viewing will be held July 20 from 5 p.m. to 6:45 at St. Mary’s Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, MD. A vigil service will follow at 7 p.m.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated July 21 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s, followed by burial and a reception with the family.

Please join us in praying for the repose of the soul of Father Mahoney, and for the comfort and peace of his family, fellow Redemptorists, and friends.

Saturday

Redemptorist Father Arthur Mahoney, a missionary, military chaplain, rector, and mission preacher, died Saturday, July 17, St. John Neumann Residence at Stella Maris in Timonium, MD. He was 86 years old and suffering the advance of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mass of Christian Burial was offered Wednesday, July 21, at St. Mary’s Church, Annapolis, where Father Mahoney had been serving since 2001. There is a Perpetual Adoration Chapel there in the crypt level of the church, where the priest would pray after his afternoon walk. Father John Harrison, homilist at the Funeral Mass, said: “The easy, comfortable way he spoke about Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament conveyed to me that he was no stranger to the Eucharistic Chapel, or to the Divine Guest who is constantly waiting for people to come to Him. There was a familiarity there when he spoke of his visits. I could tell that he was with a Friend.”

A Bostonian by birth, Father Mahoney was the son of Arthur and Josephine Murphy Mahoney. He was born Aug. 6, 1923, and grew up in St. Margaret Parish in Dorchester. He completed three years at Boston College High School before entering the Redemptorist juvenate, St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA.

He spent his novitiate year at Ilchester, MD, and made his first profession of vows in 1946. Going on to higher studies at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY, he made his final profession in 1949 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1951. One of his classmates, Father Lawrence Lover, recalled that his confrere “was a great singer, a tenor, and he sang with our choirs both at North East and at Esopus.” Father Mahoney’s first love, though, was for mission preaching, although it “took him a long time to get there,” Father Lover added.

Father Mahoney’s first three priestly assignments were to the U.S. Virgin Islands: at Holy Cross Church in Christiansted, St. Croix, in 1953; at Sts. Peter and Paul Church (now a cathedral) in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, in 1954; and back at Holy Cross in 1960. After 13 years in the tropics, Father Mahoney was assigned to St. Michael Church in Baltimore. He was there for only a year when an urgent call for Catholic chaplains to minister to the military troops in Viet Nam led to his volunteering for such service.

“He was a Yankee Doodle Dandy patriot,” said his confrere Father John Kelly. “He even had red, white and blue suspenders.” Father Kelly noted that Viet Nam veterans served as pall bearers at his friend’s funeral.

In 1968, Father Mahoney wrote from Viet Nam: “Presently I work in and out of the main base camp of the 4th Infantry Division. We are located 30 miles from the Cambodian border, just south of the town of Pleiku. A rather fair number of the Vietnamese in this area are Catholic, many fled from the north.” He mentioned that he was celebrating four Masses at the base each Sunday and that throughout the week he would celebrate Mass at various places, sometimes going by helicopter to forward fire bases. In the course of his service there, he was awarded two bronze medals, according to Father Kelly.

On Father Mahoney’s return from overseas, he was based at Fort Meade in Maryland and often visited Father Lover, who was rector at the nearby novitiate in Ilchester.

After completing his military service, Father Mahoney was assigned, pro tem, to St. Alphonsus Church in New York City in 1971 and then to San Alfonso Retreat House in West End, NJ, the following year. He went to Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Baltimore, serving as rector from 1972 to 1978, when he became rector of St. Christopher Church on Kent Island, MD. In 1984 he was appointed rector of St. Gerard Church in Lima, OH.

Father Harrison first met Father Mahoney at St. Christopher Church, when he would come up from Brazil to visit his parents on Kent Island. “In 1981, when my dad suffered a heart attack at the County Court House in Centreville, Father Mahoney was summoned by parishioners who worked at the Court House,” Father Harrison recalled. “Yes, he remembered the day, he confided to me some 25 years later. He said he was speeding from St. Christopher’s to Centreville, about a 30-minute drive. He told me that he was pulled over for speeding by a State Trooper. As soon as the Trooper saw who it was, and what his mission was, he told him to go on. He arrived in time to give my dad the Anointing of the Sick. Dad did not survive the heart attack. So, I am eternally grateful to Father Mahoney for being there for my dad that day in 1981.”

After Father Mahoney’s three-year term in Lima, which included not only a large parish and school, but ministry at a State Penitentiary, the priest began his traveling missionary days. Father Lover recalled that even as far back as North East, his classmate took courses to train his singing voice for preaching and became an active member of the public speaking group. Finally, in 1987, he was appointed to serve with the Missionary Band, that group of Redemptorists who travel no matter what the weather and live out of their suitcases for the purpose of preaching at far-flung parishes to regenerate and renew the faith of the people. Often with Father Kelly, often with Father John Devin, Father Mahoney would preach from Maine to Florida.

During those years he was stationed briefly at St. Wenceslaus Church in Baltimore and then at St. Philomena Church in Pittsburgh. He was assigned to St. Clement Mission House in Ephrata, PA, in 1993 and to St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis in 2001.

Father James Quinn, then pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church in Baltimore, reported to then Father Provincial Joseph Kerins about a mission preached by Fathers Mahoney, Kelly and James Breen:

“We feel that the Mission did a great deal of good and that it is the type of Mission that is badly needed in our modern world and Church. Many of our people went out of their way to thank us for having the Mission and tell us how much they derived from it.

“These three men are real priests and no pastor need hesitate to invite them to conduct a Parish Mission. They are really dedicated and it was a privilege to have them in our parish. God willing, we will have them again.”

Looking back over the range of ministries Father Mahoney had exercised — as a missionary in the Virgin Islands, as a military chaplain, as a pastor and rector of Redemptorist communities, and as a mission preacher — Father Lover said. “He did well in them all…. He was enthusiastic about everything he did. He preached enthusiastically, he played sports enthusiastically. He put his whole heart into everything he did.”

Father Mahoney, whose mother died when he was very young, is survived by his younger half-sister, Mrs. Mary Egan of Sherborn, MA.

 

Rev. Arthur Mahoney, C.Ss.R.

  • Born: August 6, 1923
  • Professed: August 2, 1946
  • Ordained: June 17, 1951
  • Died: July 17, 2010

 

Services

Viewing
July 20
5 to 6:45 p.m.
Vigil service at 7 p.m.
St. Mary’s Church
109 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, MD

Funeral
July 21
11 a.m.
St. Mary’s Church

Burial
Redemptorist cemetery at St. Mary’s