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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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Yearly Archives: 2011
Wednesday
 
 

Behold the unimaginable depths of God’s love for us! The encounter between the Angel Gabriel and the humble handmaid of the Lord provides us with an insight into God’s tenderness toward us. Not only does He desire to share with us the choicest of gifts — His Only Son — but He wants our input and our cooperation!

 
This is rather remarkable. Imagine a responsible parent who, from the experience and knowledge accumulated over a lifetime, instructs his or her child about what’s best for that child. But despite all this parent’s wisdom, he or she earnestly seeks the child’s agreement with this decision, the child’s acceptance of it with their own being.
 
God is not a distant lover who imposes on us what He deems best. Instead He enters into our circumstances to discuss the details of our lives with us, and patiently waits for our assent to His providential designs.
 
Granted, this does not mean that it is “a walk in the park” to enter into dialogue with God. However, we can be comforted by the fact that the love and interest that God possesses for each one of us far surpasses all the expressions of love that we experience in a lifetime.
 
Furthermore, we have Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord, to accompany us and hold our hand as we set out on this journey of allowing God access into our lives. As a Redemptorist seminarian living at the renowned “Mission Church” in Boston, it is truly amazing to see the countless number of people who have awakened to the realization that God loves them profoundly. And they came to that knowledge all through the simple gaze of a young Jewish woman.
 
As this season of Advent draws to a close, may Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Our Mother of Perpetual Help, open your heart to the priceless gift that God desires to give you this Christmas. God bless you!
 
David Verghese, C.Ss.R., professed his first vows as a Redemptorist in August 2011. He is a fourth-year theology student at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. He is a member of the Redemptorist formation community in residence at Mission Church in Boston, MA.
 
 
Friday

Sorting donations at a foodbank.

 

The latest cell phone has some great applications, but do you really need it? The sandals that all your friends are wearing would look great on you, but your old sandals still have plenty of life in them. Do you buy new ones? These are just a couple of examples of something that is causing many people to reconsider their choices — do you need it or do you simply want it?

As usual, the best source of answering a question such as this is Jesus. In the gospels, he complimented an elderly woman who had dropped two coins into the Temple treasury, which was all the money she had to live on. We might say that her generosity was foolish. In giving all her money to the Jewish Temple, she would not be able to buy food for the day. Jesus saw her gift in a different light. He recognized her overwhelming trust that God would take care of her needs. If she had to go hungry for that day, then so be it.
 
Giving and buying are closely connected. The richest people on the earth are not those with the most money to buy things. The richest people are those who are content with what they have.
 
I happened to be working as a priest in Dominica when the island first connected to cable television. Before cable TV, friends would play dominos or talk by the roadside well into the night. TVs only had a few channels and they were, for the most part, not too interesting. Slowly, as more and more homes hooked up to cable, channels like MTV and the BET Network became popular. 
 
Instead of meeting in the evenings to talk over events of the day, people remained at home. They began soaking in images of people in other parts of the world who were driving fancy cars, living in huge houses, and wearing the latest designer clothes. It was difficult not to want what these other people had. But, the question remains, are all these new things needed or merely wanted?
 
There is no easy answer to this question. Wants and needs are sometimes so closely joined that it is hard to separate them. As Christmas rolls nearer on the calendar, reflecting upon our wants and needs could prove helpful. Possessions do not make a person happy. Living in step with God does. Most of what we see in stores or on TV has a price tag. Living in union with God is priceless.
 
(Originally published in the Catholic Chronicle of St. Lucia, December 2011)
 
 
Fr. Kevin MacDonald professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1987 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. He is a mission preacher stationed at St. Patrick’s Parish in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
 
 
 
 
 
Thursday

Today, the Church honors Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. We celebrate the great gift God gave to the Mother of God by saving her from all sin from the moment of her conception.

As Redemptorists, we celebrate in a special way today. When St. Alphonsus Liguori founded the Congregation in 1732, he placed his religious family under the patronage of Mary, the Immaculate Conception.

Click here to read a special feast day message from our Superior General.

Thursday

Catholic communities throughout the country and around the world will see a lot of late-night celebrations this weekend as they mark the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. And our Redemptorist communities are no different; celebrations are planned in several parishes from Baltimore to New York. Here’s a sampling of some of the calendars (check with individual parishes for further details):

And check redemptorists.net next week for photos from the weekend’s festivities!

BRONX, NY
Immaculate Conception
(718) 292-6970

December 11
6 p.m.       Procession followed by all-night vigil

December 12
5 a.m.       Singing of las mañanitas
6 a.m.       Mass
5 p.m.       Mass

PHILADELPHIA, PA
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 11(at the Cathedral)
6 p.m.      Procession, mañanitas & Mass

December 12 (at Visitation)
5 a.m.      Mañanitas
7 p.m.      Mass

St. Peter the Apostle Church

December 10
7 p.m.       Mass

BALTIMORE, MD
Sagrado Corazón de Jesús/Sacred Heart of Jesus

December 11
12:30 p.m.       Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien
7 p.m.              Vespers followed by all-night vigil

December 12
5 a.m.              Mañanitas
5:30 a.m.         Mass followed by light breakfast
6:30 p.m.         Procession followed by Mass at 7:30 p.m.

BROOKLYN, NY
Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

December 12
4:30 a.m.         Mañanitas
7 p.m.             Mass

ANNAPOLIS, MD
St. John Neumann Mission Church

December 11
7 p.m. to midnight        Vigil service
Midnight                       Mass

 

 

 

Wednesday

Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent

Today the Advent readings place special emphasis on the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming. It is "Gaudete Sunday" or "Rejoicing Sunday; the Church is rejoicing. The opening antiphon of today’s Mass encourages us to, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice."
 
Isaiah encourages us to be open to and aware that it is the Spirit of the Lord that is upon us. For he has anointed us from the beginning of our Christian journey to be witnesses, to be a presence and a voice to the poor, the marginalized, the hospitalized, to the prisoners and to the broken-hearted.
 
God is the joy of our souls and we are to rejoice with overflowing joy at the tremendous wonders and favors he has bestowed on us. The responsorial psalm invites us today to make our own the beautiful words of our heavenly Mother, Mary: “My soul rejoices in my God.”
 
The second reading from Thessalonians urges us not to be timid, but to be joyful with each other and the world, and to be of constant prayer. We’re called to allow the spirit of Jesus to help us be thankful in all circumstances, giving the spirit enough space to work within us. There is much comfort knowing that the one who has called us is faithful, and that he will accomplish his will in us, even in the middle of all the messes we experience in life.
 
The Gospel today calls us to wait in anticipation, to prepare the way and to be of joyful hope for the one who is coming. What are we hopeful for, really? It’s not always clear in our minds and hearts. However, if we are living for Christ and in Christ, the one we are waiting for will make himself known. As Alfred Delp, SJ, wrote, “Advent is the time for rousing. We are shaken to the very depths, so that we may wake up to the truth of ourselves.” Let us endeavor to live our lives in anticipation for “the coming our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
Thought for the week from Pope St. Leo the Great: “Many wealthy people are disposed to use their abundance not to swell their own pride but to perform works of benevolence. They consider their greatest gain what they spend to alleviate the distress of others. This virtue is open to all men, no matter what their class or condition, because all can be equal in their willingness to give, however unequal they be in earthly fortune.” 

Ashford St. Romain, C.Ss.R., professed his first vows as a Redemptorist in August 2011. He is a fourth-year philosophy student at St. John’s University in New York, NY, and is a member of the Redemptorist formation community at Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx, NY.