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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: October 2012
Tuesday

We’re grateful to report that there’s been no significant damage to our Redemptorist communities in New York or New Jersey. Our retreat house in Long Branch, NJ, has some cleaning up to do and some minor repairs to make.

Besides being without power, our communities in Bethpage NY and elsewhere in New Jersey made it through just fine. Our Provincial Residence and the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, NY, also fared well through Hurricane Sandy.

We continue to pray for everyone impacted by this historic storm, especially those who lost loved ones and homes. We ask for the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help for all those first responders, local governments, and communities who now begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.

 

 

Thursday

Our friends and benefactors who support our elderly and infirm Redemptorist Brothers and Priests are such a blessing to us, especially around the holidays. Your words of encouragement and your prayers are a reminder of our many gifts in this life.

One of those infirm Redemptorists, Brother Martin de Porres, has spent his life bringing laughter and a smile into the lives of those around him. His own smile lights up the room, despite his physical limitations.
 
We shared a little of Brother Martin’s story in a recent letter to our donors. Here’s a bit more of his story.
 
About Brother Martin
Brother Martin de Porres, 72, was born in Richmond, VA, and professed vows with the Redemptorists August 2, 1959. He made his final profession as a lay brother in 1963. He worked as a cook in several Redemptorist communities, including St. Alphonsus College in Suffield, CT, and the novitiate in Ilchester, MD. Other assignments included Redemptorist parishes in Buffalo and the Bronx, NY; Baltimore, MD; and several communities in Florida and Virginia.
 
Later in life, Brother Martin returned to school and earned a master’s degree in social work, a rarity for a lay brother. He also worked for several years in the early 1990s as campus minster at Morgan State College (now University) in Baltimore. In 2000, he was recognized with the Brother Joseph Davis Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Conference in Hampton, VA, the group’s highest honor.
 
 
Brother David Skarda, C.Ss.R.:
“We cooked together at St. Alphonsus Seminary in Suffield, CT, for about three years. Those were 12-hour days, so we didn’t do much else. But the carrying-on in that kitchen is legendary. Brother Martin and (the now deceased) Brother Liguori were quite the pair. Brother Liguori would help us clean and chop all the vegetables we’d need for the day.
 
“Brother Martin would have that radio turned up — one of his favorite songs was Ike and Tina’s “Rolling on the River” — and he’d have that song blaring and there he was dancing around behind that stove with a wire whisk in his hand. The kitchen at Suffield was the gathering place because of Martin. When they were on a break from class, the students would come down for a cup of coffee and talk to Martin.
 
“The meat salesman would make us his last appointment of the day. He’d come and sit in that kitchen for an hour with a cup of coffee and listen to all the carrying-on between Martin and Brother Liguori. And then he’d go home and tell his wife all about it! Everybody was that way with Martin.
 
“Even with all his physical problems, his personality has never changed. He’s always been fun to be with. We celebrated my 25th anniversary of profession by driving to Alaska — it took us two weeks to drive there from upstate New York. We spent three weeks there and then drove home.
 
“We’ve only had maybe one or two black brothers over our entire history as a province. Martin’s gone through a lot in life — entering a religious order as a black man was not an easy thing; being a brother was not an easy thing. But he’s just never let any of it get him down.”
 
 
 
Fr. Joseph Krastel, C.Ss.R.:
“Martin joined us at novitiate; the rest of us had graduated from (St. Mary’s High School Seminary) North East. But he really livened up the novitiate. He organized all sorts of skit nights and song-and-dance activities. The novitiate can be a grim year unless you have someone to make you laugh. And the 20-some of us had that in Martin. He could do all kinds of imitations of great Gospel preachers.
 
“He’s really a leader in our province in developing a ministry for the brothers, in advocating that the brothers could do more than just the cleaning, cooking and maintenance work.”

 

 

Friday

Elton Letang, C.Ss.R., 37, will be ordained a deacon on October 24 in Trinidad. Originally from the Caribbean nation of Dominica, Elton completed his theology studies last spring at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, and began his pastoral assignment this fall at St. Theresa’s in Barataria, Trinidad & Tobago. He professed his final vows with the Redemptorists in August.

 
One of 10 children, Elton was born in the Giraudel area of Dominica outside of the capital of Roseau. His home was a short walk from the Redemptorists’ Holy Redeemer Retreat House in Eggleston.
 
“I was born into a Redemptorist parish, so I have known them practically as long as I’ve known myself,” Elton said. His vocation grew as teachers, friends, and even the students he taught over the course of 12 years, encouraged him to consider the choice for the priesthood and religious life.
 
“My high school was run by the Christian Brothers, and I was invited to vocations weekend and attended a few. A major traffic accident I had in the summer 2002 was the turning point in my life. That, and a retreat for single young adult Catholics, helped me decide to “try out” the religious life,” Elton said.
 
He also credits the example of his pastor, the late Redemptorist Fr. Vanmoerkerke, who “was a person with a big and warm heart who went out of his way to help someone in need.”
 
“I think one of the things I like most about the Redemptorists is that there are a lot of different things one can do,” Elton said. “You’re not necessarily limited to a parish, but you could be a retreat director, a full-time missionary, a teacher, or being doing some sort of outreach or social justice ministry. Being a versatile and adventurous person, the Redemptorists were the perfect community for me.”
 
To those discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, Elton said, “Don’t let someone else make the decision for you! Let it be unique, truthful and pure. It might come at age 19 or 23 or 29 or even 52. But the key is that it must come from within, not from outside. It’s a great way of living and serving the people of God.”
 
Elton joins another Redemptorist from the Caribbean, Alistair Elias, who was ordained to the diaconate on October 6 in Boston. Both men anticipate ordination to the priesthood in 2013.

 

 

Thursday

Congratulations to Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., who today was named Archbishop of Indianapolis, IN.

A native of Detroit, and a member of the Redemptorists’ Denver Province, he succeeds Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, who retired in 2011 for health reasons. Since then, the Archdiocese has been cared for by Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne.

Archbishop-designate Tobin served for two terms as Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer from 1997-2009.

He was appointed secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in August 2010, and was ordained a bishop in Rome in October of that year. During his short tenure with the Vatican office, he oversaw the end of the Vatican’s visitation of U.S. women’s religious orders. He was also appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the apostolic visitors to the church in Ireland in the wake of the abuse crises.

Archbishop Tobin’s installation is slated for December 3, 2012.

The Redemptorists of the former St. Louis Province served in St. Joseph’s Parish in Lebanon, IN (in the Lafayette diocese) from 1927 to 1972. Currently there are no Redemptorist foundations nor Redemptorists serving full-time in the state, although Redemptorist mission teams still evangelize the area.

Please join us in praying for Archbishop Tobin as he assumes his new ministry. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

 

 

Tuesday

Happy Feast Day of St. Gerard Majella — Redemptorist Brother, patron of mothers, miracle-worker, and friend of the poor.

Enjoy this short video about his life and miracles. To read more about St. Gerard, click here. Prayer cards, medals and other devotional items featuring St. Gerard are also available through our online Gift Shop or by calling toll-free 1-877-876-7662.

St. Gerard, pray for us!

 

Video courtesy of RedemptoristsTV/Canada, 2009