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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: March 2013
Sunday

Forty-one years ago my dear brother, Thomas, died while I was in Puerto Rico. It was a traumatic experience. I remember hearing the voice of the Lord saying to me: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die.” Then I heard clearly the question that Jesus asked Martha: “Do you believe this?”

In my grief I did believe, but the pain and loss were so great. I remember trying to be a strength and comfort to my mom, dad, and to my other brothers. I had no strength and comfort myself! I remember thinking that, as a priest, I would be constantly dealing with funerals and death, and that people would expect of me some words of comfort and strength, or at least my presence, at their time of loss.

I have done hundreds and hundreds of funerals since then. I have seen the pain of loss and grief of so many families. I have been present at many funerals that felt senseless — of people being killed, of young people leaving this world — where people are dealing with tremendous bewilderment and grief.

I would hope and pray at this Easter Season that each one of us could answer that question that I heard forty-one years ago, “Do you believe this?” I know back then I did say to the Lord: “Lord, I do believe but help me, comfort me, give me strength.” The Resurrection of Jesus is not just a historical fact. It is proclaiming that Jesus is Lord over sin, suffering, death, and Satan.

Lord, help me to believe this, that I may celebrate Easter as the greatest day of my faith and of my life. May I sing with the angels and saints: “Alleluia, the Lord is risen, Alleluia!” May we all rise one day to be with Him in His glory!

 

 

Hace cuarenta y un años sufrí la trauma de la muerte prematura de un queridísimo hermano y, como sacerdote, me veía obligado a ser la fortaleza y sostén de mi familia en aquel momento traumático. Escuché la voz del Señor que decía: “Yo soy la resurrección y la vida. Quien cree en mi no morirá…¿Tú crees esto?” Sí, creía pero la pena y el dolor fueron increíblemente fuertes. Tuve que servir de fuente de consuelo para mamá, papá y mis hermanos. Pero, ¿quién me consolaría a mí?

Durante estos cuarenta y pico de años sigo firme en mi fe en la Resurrección de Jesús, y tal fe sigue confortándome. Gracias a aquella fe yo me mantengo fuerte. Puedo decir ahora lo que dije en aquel entonces: “Sí, Señor, yo creo, pero ayúdame, confórtame, dame fortaleza al luchar con la pérdida de mi tan querido hermano, Tomás. Yo creo que tu Resurrección, Jesús, no sólo consiste en la creencia en un hecho histórico, sino es creencia en Ti como Señor de todo, más fuerte que el pecado, más fuerte que cualquier pena o sufrimiento, más fuerte aún que la muerte y que Satanás mismo. Señor, ayúdame creerlo siempre, y, sobre todo, ayúdame a celebrar el Domingo de la Resurrección este año como nunca antes, como el día más importante de mi vida y de mi fe. Que sepa cantar con los ángeles y los santos: “¡Aleluya, el Señor ha resucitado, Aleluya!” ¡Que todos podamos reunirnos un día con Él en la gloria!

Rev. Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, NY

 

 

 

Saturday

Dad always went to church with us every Sunday. After dinner one evening, my father summoned my brother and me to a private talk in the living room. I sensed punishment coming, and had my plea ready. Then came the surprising announcement: “Boys, I’ve decided to become a Catholic.”

His pilgrimage of faith led my father to the Easter Vigil. As an altar boy, I witnessed my dad and the other “elect” stand in the sanctuary as baptismal vows were proclaimed, water poured, holy oils oozed, wax dripped, and darkness was dispelled as the chorus heralded a glorious Alleluia time! Redemption for all!

“I’m proud of you, Dad,” I thought, as my eyes filled with what must have been an incense allergy, I’m sure. Oddly, this condition recurs every year. The baptism, procession with light, retelling of our Salvation History, reciting our common baptismal vows. And embracing each other as brothers and sisters in Holy Communion. This draws us into a sacred bond of love with Christ at the center. Every year we celebrate Christ’s resurrection — the single event that changed us and changed the world forever.
 

By living a redeemed life — a life of continual conversion — it is my greatest hope that my Heavenly Father will say to me one day, “I’m proud of you!”

 

La oscuridad, el fuego, el agua salpica y el óleo fluye en una acción ritual que es a la vez misteriosa y trascendental…sin embargo es acogedora. ¡En esta santa noche de la Vigilia Pascual, nosotros los cristianos entramos en la historia…la historia de nuestra salvación! Es la celebración más bella del año, cuando los “Elegidos” entran en plena comunión con nosotros…y desfilan alegremente por el pasillo central. Un fuego chispeante enciende una llama de fe en los corazones de aquellos a ser bautizados y en toda la asamblea. El cirio pascual, rodeado por un sinnúmero de titileos de luz, nos lleva a la proclamación de las sagradas escrituras – recordándonos que Cristo es la luz del mundo que disipa las sombras del pecado y de la muerte. Los Elegidos están sumergidos en la piscina de la gracia de Dios mientras el agua bendita cae sobre las cabezas de todos los creyentes al renovar las promesas bautismales. ¡Este es nuestro Desfile de la Pascua! Es grande, hermoso, solemne, importante. Cuando compartimos la Eucaristía, la misma vida de Dios nos consume mientras consumimos la sagrada hostia. No sólo recordamos y celebramos nuestra salvación, sino también se hace parte de nosotros. ¡Aleluya…aleluya! ¡Regocijémonos y alegrémonos!

Rev. Richard Bennett, C.Ss.R.
Bronx, NY

 

 

Friday

Some years ago there was a movie called “Shadowlands,” the story of the writer C.S. Lewis. Lewis, played by Anthony Hopkins, has trouble seeing suffering as part of the human condition. There is one scene especially that connects with this holy day, this Good Friday.
 

Lewis is confronted by his wife’s illness. She has accepted her imminent death, and wants to talk about it just when the two are sharing a beautiful afternoon together.

He does not want to ruin this privileged time with such a discussion, but she explains to him: “The pain now is connected with the happiness later; that’s the deal!”

I believe that many of us are at the side of Peter when he says to Jesus, “God forbid, Lord, that any such thing should happen to you.” To fit the Cross into our lives, we have to realize that it is “part of the deal.” To stand at the Cross this day with Christian believers all over the world, we have to see that the pain is “part of the deal.”

Rev. Raymond Collins, C.Ss.R.
Boston, MA

 

Hoy celebramos el Viernes Santo y recordamos la pasión y la muerte de Jesús. Claro, por un lado la vemos así…como su pasión. Luego de escuchar o leer el relato en el evangelio según San Juan no podemos visualizar a nadie más en ese papel como el hombre traicionado, negado, acusado falsamente, juzgado injustamente, torturado y condenado a una muerte vergonzosa. Sí, es la pasión de Jesús.

Sin embargo, una pregunta surge que es para cada uno de nosotros. Tiene que ver con esa postura final de fe de Jesús. Luego de haber sufrido tanto – golpes, rechazo, dolor, abandono hasta incluso muerte y una muerte de cruz – Jesús pudo seguir creyendo. Por poco, se le fue de la mano con su: “Dios mío, Dios mío, ¿por qué me has abandonado?” Al final pudo entregarse totalmente a ese mismo Dios: “En tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu.” No se murió maldiciendo su mala suerte, lamentando el aparente colapso de su proyecto, sino creyendo que más allá de ese supuesto momento final de una oscuridad completa había alguien más poderoso y amoroso que todo aquel.

Así, entonces, la pregunta. Cuando venga mi pasión, tu pasión, ¿podré seguir creyendo? No será igual a la pasión de Jesús. Tal vez con unos elementos parecidos. Sea que fuera, vendrá y será mi pasión, tu pasión. Será mi momento, tu momento para seguir creyendo y decir: “En tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu.”

Rev. Mark Wise, C.Ss.R.
Philadelphia, PA

 

 

 

Thursday

“Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” When we fail to remember fully our past, we fail to master it, learn from it, and make it our own. Rather than living the present, we relive the past. Have you ever known someone who seems to always feel victimized or is always fighting with people? Is that person you?
 

Holy Thursday is not about putting on our Apostle costumes and having our feet washed. A costume is only a temporary identity.

Holy Thursday is about being faithful to the Lord’s command to remember Him in word and action. To fully remember our Christianity means claiming as our personal history the singular, unrepeatable Christ-event — the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

This fully remembering takes time. As Jesus Himself said, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:17). Tonight we remember the past that we might live free and faithful.

 

“Aquellos que no recuerdan su pasado están condenados a repetirlo.” Cuando no recordamos plenamente nuestro pasado no somos capaces de dominarlo, aprender de él y hacerlo nuestro. El resultado es que en vez de vivir el presente nos quedamos estancados en el pasado. ¿Alguna vez ha conocido a alguien que parezca sentirse siempre víctima o estar siempre peleado con los demás? ¿Y qué de usted?

El Jueves Santo no es para vestirnos de disfraz de apóstol y dejar que nos laven los pies. Un disfraz es sólo una realidad externa.

El Jueves Santo es para asumir con firmeza y con la intención de fidelidad el mandato del Señor y luchar por ponerlo en práctica. Recordar nuestra identidad cristiana significa reclamar en nuestra vivencia personal lo que Cristo realizó una vez para siempre. ¡Esto lleva tiempo! Como Jesús mismo dijo: “Usted no sabe ahora lo que estoy haciendo, pero después lo entenderás” (Juan 13:17.) Esta noche recordamos el pasado para que podamos ser libres.

Rev. Francis Mulvaney, C.Ss.R.
Bronx, NY

 

 

Thursday

Happy Birthday, St. John Neumann! We’re happy to celebrate the birthday of our beloved confere by announcing the winners of the third annual St. John Neumann Essay Contest.

This year we asked Catholic school students in grades 6-12 to reflect on the topic, "What are some of the obstacles to pursuing a religious or priestly vocation that young men and women face today, and how can they be encouraged to answer God’s call?"
 
As a young man, St. John Neumann wanted to be a priest, but there were too many priests in his home country. But he did not let that stand in the way of his dream. He decided to become a missionary to America where the need for priests was great, and became the first Redemptorist to profess vows in the United States. He was a man committed to his faith and to his vocation!
 
Special thanks to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for their help in publicizing the contest and in encouraging participation across the country.
 
First-place winners in each category will be awarded a $300 scholarship, and two honorable mentions in each category will receive a $100 scholarship.
 
The winners in the Middle School Category are:
 
First Place
Matthew Steiert

(Visitation BVM, Norristown, PA)
 
Honorable Mention
Nathan Dell Isola
(Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Ephrata, PA)
Karleena Rybacki
(Assumption School, Atco, NJ)
 
The winners in the High School Category are:
 
First Place
Cassandra McHugh

(Pope John Paul II High School, Royersford, PA)
 
Honorable Mention
Shelby Martin

(St. Patrick Catholic High School, Biloxi, MS)
Sydney Sherman
(Archbishop Wood High School, Warminster, PA)