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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: December 2012

Photo courtesy of Madrid Province.














Courtesy of Scala:

On Thursday, December 20, Pope Benedict XVI approved the promulgation of the Decree on the martyrdom of the Servants of God José Javier Gorosterratzu and five companions, all martyrs of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists). 

This decree has finally opened the way for the beatification that will be celebrated in Tarragona, Spain on October 27, 2013.

On the same day, the pope also approved the promulgation of the Decree on the life and virtues of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), whose cause is being shepherded to fruition by our devoted and hard-working Postulator General, Fr Antonio Marrazzo, C.Ss.R.

Our new blessed, all members of the community of St. Felipe in Cuenca, were martyred during the Spanish Civil War that was fought from July 1936 to April 1939.

The group is made up of five priests and one Brother:

Rev. José Javier Gorosterratzu Jaunarena (1877-1936)
Rev. Ciriaco Olarte y Pérez De Mendiguren (1893-1936)
Rev. Miguel Goñi Ariz (1902-1936)
Rev. Julián Pozo y Ruiz De Samaniego (1920-1936)
Rev. Pedro Romero Espejo (1871-1938)
Brother Víctor (Victoriano) Calvo Lozano (1896-1936)

Brief Biographical Profiles

Father José Javier Gorosterratzu Jaunarena, C.Ss.R., was born in Urroz (Navarra) August 7, 1877. At age 14, against the wishes of his father, he entered the Capuchin College at Lecároz. At age 16 he entered the Redemptorists, made his profession on September 8, 1896 and was ordained a priest on September 28, 1903. After a few years of teaching at El Espino (Burgos) and Astorga (León), he lived in the communities of Pamplona (Navarra), Madrid and Cuenca. He was a man of considerable culture as well as being a popular missionary, an expert confessor and a sought after spiritual director. He published two historical works and wrote a manual of philosophy. On August 10, 1936, he was arrested by the militia of the Popular Front, which took him to the cemetery of Cuenca and shot him during which he forgave his executioners.

Father Ciriaco Olarte Perez, C.Ss.R., was born in Gomecha (Álava) on February 8, 1893 into a very religious family. Encouraged from childhood towards a priestly vocation, he entered Redemptorist formation on September 21, 1904 at El Espino (Burgos) and professed his religious vows on September 8, 1911. After being ordained a priest on July 29, 1917, he went to Mexico as a missionary from 1920 to 1926. He returned to Spain and the growing anti-clerical spirit in the Mexico of that time. From 1926 to 1935, he exercised his apostolic ministry in Madrid, at the community of Perpetual Help. In May 1935 he settled in Cuenca. In the evening of July 31, 1936, he was arrested and taken to the place called "Las Angustias" where, severely wounded, was left to die after long hours of agony.

Father Miguel Goñi Ariz, C.Ss.R., was born in Imarcoain (Navarra) April 27, 1902. Manifesting the desire to become a priest even as a child, he would enter the Redemptorists on September 8, 1918 and professed his vows on August 26, 1920. Despite poor health and a shy nature, he was ordained a priest on September 27, 1925 and proved to be a strong and tireless preacher of popular missions. After serving in the communities of Nava del Rey (Valladolid), Granada, Santander and Vigo, he was transferred in 1932 to Cuenca, where he ministered especially in the Redemptorist Church of St. Phillip Neri. On August 31, 1936 he was arrested by the militia, shot and left to bleed to death. 

Father Julián Pozo y Ruiz De Samaniego, C.Ss.R., was born in Payueta (Álava) January 7, 1903. He entered the Redemptorist seminary of El Espino in 1913, where he was much appreciated for the seriousness of his spiritual journey. He professed vows in 1920 and was ordained a priest on September 27, 1925. Suffering from tuberculosis since 1921, he was able to accept the disease with resignation, devoting himself to prayer, hearing confessions and caring for the sick. Of a serene disposition, he was much sought after for his gifts as a confessor and spiritual director. In 1928 he was transferred to the apostolic community of Cuenca. He then moved to the seminary because of the outbreak of persecution. There, on August 9, 1936 he was arrested while praying the rosary, and was shot along the road that leads from Cuenca to Tragacete.

Father Pedro Romero Espejo, C.Ss.R., was born in Pancorbo (Burgos) April 28, 1871.He entered the Redemptorist school at El Espino and was eventually professed on September 24, 1889. He was ordained on February 29, 1896. He was an extremely shy person and not given to outgoing missionary activity. So he devoted his life to the ministry of reconciliation, and to a religious life of meditation, prayer and mortification, witnessing a great spirit of poverty to others. After being in the communities of Astorga (León) and Madrid, he was transferred Cuenca. With the outbreak of the civil war, he was forced to leave the community and to live, as was the case for the other colleagues, with a local family in their private home. To escape the attention of the persecutors and continue to engage in the apostolate, he chose to go begging in the streets of the city. Detained several times by the militia, ultimately, in May 1938 he was arrested and taken to prison, where, physically and spiritually ministered to by other priests being held prisoner, he died of dysentery on May 29.

Brother Víctor (Victoriano) Calvo Lozano, C.Ss.R., was born in Horche (Guadalajara) December 23, 1896. Distinctly inclined to the spiritual life, he wanted to become a priest. Unfortunately, the times, the reluctance of his family to allow him and financial constraints all mitigated against starting his studies. On March 31, 1919, in a letter he left with his family explaining his reasons, he left them to become a Redemptorist. On November 13, 1920 he made his religious profession, taking the name Victoriano. In 1921 he was assigned to the Redemptorist community in Cuenca, where he worked as a clerk and porter. Although he had not attended school, he had an innate sense of culture, excelling particularly in a deep knowledge of asceticism. His superiors permitted him to be a spiritual director for young women, for whom he wrote a series of retreats and other works. On August 10, he was arrested by the militia, taken to the cemetery of Cuenca, and brutally murdered.

For more information visit the website of the province of Madrid at:


 At the very heart of the spirituality of St. Alphonsus is love: God’s love for us and our love for God in response. St. Alphonsus was overwhelmed by God’s love for him and for all of us, and for Alphonsus, this was especially manifest in Jesus. Jesus is the unshakeable sign and proof that God loves us.

The spirituality of St. Alphonsus has traditionally been summarized in the four symbols of the crib, the cross, the altar, and Mary. This Advent season, we’ll take the time to reflect on the crib. Each week’s reflection will focus on a different theme related to the birth of Jesus — in time and in our hearts this Christmas.



By Elizabeth Góral-Makowski


And the Word Was Made Flesh

An infant cry breaks through the darkness of night
Reminds creation of its dependence on God
For breath, for life
And the Word was made flesh

Soft skin, cuddled close
Eyes open in wonder taking it in
  For better, for worse
And the Word was made flesh

Chubby hands reach out to grasp
Baby smiles coo God’s unconditional Love
   For us, for all
And the Word was made flesh

An anguished cry keens in the night
 A police siren whizzes by
  An angry shove – Eyes see blood
And the world crumples down

A suffering world not knowing what to grab
Not listening to its Creator’s heartbeat
  Drowning out Love with shouts and noise
And yet the Word continues on

A pained cry shatters the still night
Gentle hands lovingly connect      
   For this is holy, for this is us
And the Word is made flesh

(c) 2006 Elizabeth Góral-Makowski
Used with permission

Elizabeth Góral-Makowski is director of development for the Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement.





At the very heart of the spirituality of St. Alphonsus is love: God’s love for us and our love for God in response. St. Alphonsus was overwhelmed by God’s love for him and for all of us, and for Alphonsus, this was especially manifest in Jesus. Jesus is the unshakeable sign and proof that God loves us.

The spirituality of St. Alphonsus has traditionally been summarized in the four symbols of the crib, the cross, the altar, and Mary. This Advent season, we’ll take the time to reflect on the crib. Each week’s reflection will focus on a different theme related to the birth of Jesus — in time and in our hearts this Christmas.


By Jeff & Brenda Vredenburg

For the last two Sundays our song has been “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and this song will continue until we welcome Christmas Eve with “Adeste Fideles,” O Come, All Ye Faithful! These two hymns focusing on the peace, joy, and hope of the Incarnation are so very familiar and such an important part of our season and tradition. We hope we will be ready for Christmas — but ready or not — here it comes! Our thoughts today focus on the Incarnation, the “I” from the word, “crib.”

This Sunday, things are a little different. There is a different rose-colored Advent candle, altar cloths, and vestments; there are more joyous themes; and that wonder, excitement, and anticipation that Christmas is just around the corner is growing. In the most unusual conditions and circumstances, Mary and Joseph experienced great changes in their lives, too, as they prepared for the birth of the Messiah. Their opened minds, and hearts open to trust and love, filled them with God’s plan to bring to us the best news ever. We sing, “O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits.”

St. Alphonsus reminds us that in the Incarnation, “God gave himself to us, in order that we may give ourselves to him.” Where do we begin? This gift of Jesus brings brand new meaning to the words, “Christmas Blessings.” We pray for the graces we need to receive God’s gift and really treasure it. We are forever grateful for God’s gift and that thankfulness brings us a steady, deep-down sense of peace. We also pray for the graces to share our gifts — our time, talents, and treasures. As George Matthew Adams tells us: “A Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide-open heart, that thinks of others first.”

Every year, we think, hope, and pray that this will be the best Christmas ever. So maybe we should, and can all try to, focus more this year on that first Christmas in Bethlehem — on the Incarnation — and be truly grateful for our faith, our many gifts (both given and received), and for our families and friends.

We are also mindful of the present and look toward the future as a time of growth and change. Nourished by the past and its beautiful traditions, customs, and rituals, we embrace and welcome the challenges of our days as Mary and Joseph did in their lives so long ago.

St. Alphonsus advises us to “receive Jesus with love and affection, and we will have recourse to him in all our necessities.” These words are filled with hope and peace, and their wisdom is most reassuring. It was in the Incarnation, that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

“Rejoice! Rejoice!” and, “O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!”

Jeff & Brenda are longtime parishioners of the Redemptorists’ St. Clement’s Parish in Saratoga Springs, NY, and were recently named Redemptorist Oblates, the highest honor bestowed on a layperson by the worldwide Congregation.





When St. Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists 280 years ago, he placed the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer under the patronage of Mary, the Immaculate Conception. In 1854 when Pope Pius IX solemnly declared the doctrine of Mary’s sinlessness from the moment of her conception, St. John Neumann, himself a spiritual son of St. Alphonsus, was present for the occasion.

Today, we continue to ask Our Mother Mary, and all our Redemptorist Saints and Blesseds, to pray for us and our world.

Click below to listen to the Redemptorists sing "Salve Regina."

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun” (Rev 12:1). St. Bernard says, “O Lady, you have clothed the sun, the Eternal Word, with human flesh, but He has clothed you with His power and mercy…“Mary is so compassionate and kind that when sinners, no matter who they are, throw themselves on her charity, she does not investigate their merits, or consider whether they are worthy, but she hears and helps all.” …We may be afraid…to go directly to Almighty God, because after all it is His infinite Majesty we have offended. But we should never be afraid of going directly to Mary, because we will find nothing in her to terrify us. True, she is holy, immaculate, and the great Queen of the universe. But at the same time she is also flesh of our flesh, a child of Adam.
— Excerpted from St. Alphonsus’ "Glories of Mary"




Today we celebrate with Redemptorists throughout the U.S., and with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as they welcome their new bishop, Redemptorist Joseph W. Tobin.

Archbishop Tobin’s installation Mass will be livestreamed online through the Archdiocese of Indianapolis website, as well as televised on EWTN and on Boston’s CatholicTV.

The immediate past Superior General of the worldwide Redemptorist congregation, Archbishop Tobin most recently served as secretary of the Vatican’s office for religious. To read more about Archbishop Tobin, including some stories from his Redemptorist confreres, view the Criterion newspaper’s special edition online. Here are a few links to their coverage:

Our heartfelt prayers and best wishes go with Archbishop Tobin as he begins his new ministry! May St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. John Neumann, and Our Mother of Perpetual Help pray for us!