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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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Articles

Monthly Archives: September 2013
Monday

From the fall edition of Plentiful Redemption

Anthony Michalik, C.Ss.R.
Third year theology, Boston, MA

When I consider the many people who have been an inspiration to my vocation, I feel the need to thank God for all of them — for the great gift of their presence in my life. They were all inspirational in the many ordinary and quiet moments of their lives, without ever knowing it. But I would single out two people.

One was Redemptorist Brother Liguori Englert. When I first met Liguori, he was the cook (a wonderful cook!) for the Redemptorists at our rectory in my hometown of Ephrata, PA. I grew to love him, not only because of his dedication and desire to offer the very best of who he was, but because Liguori showed me that being a religious did not mean you would lose touch with your own humanness. He was a very real person and he loved to laugh. Really, Liguori had a wicked sense of humor! Above and beyond all, however, he loved God.

My other great inspiration was Bernardine Sister M. Melita who taught in our parish school. Once again I saw that rare combination of one who has both feet on the ground, yet one who “walks humbly with God.” Her gracious care of all those around her (especially her little first grade “angels”), her enthusiasm and love for life, her wonderful smile, and her lovely gentleness will always remain with me.

 

Jacky Merilan, C.Ss.R.
Second year theology, Boston, MA

The first is Redemptorist Brother Leonard Samuel (Brother Sam). Brother Sam was the vocation director when I began discerning my vocation to become a Redemptorist.  He was the first Redemptorist voice who guided me, and he did so with kindness and a genuine interest. Through the years he has taught me many lessons, especially the value of prayer and the importance of community. Most importantly he taught me the heart of the charism of our founder, St. Alphonsus — his love for the poor and abandoned.

Another influential person is the retired Archbishop of Trinidad, Edward Gilbert, who is also a Redemptorist. I met him before I entered, and he was very helpful. Even after beginning formation he continued to take time check up on me. His perseverance and dedication in his own life as a Redemptorist greatly encouraged me. His taking an interest in me has made me grateful and reminded me to always look out for others who are in need.

 

Ako Walker
Novice, Toronto, Canada

Five years ago, I knew nothing about the Redemptorists. In 2008, I met the then-newly ordained Redemptorist Father Peter Hill while he was serving his first assignment in Trinidad. We began a friendship. It was just two young men both trying to serve Jesus.

Father Peter was my example. We never talked shop, and I appreciated that. I was never forced nor lectured; there was no “do this, not that.” I learned by his way of life. Even after two Masses on Sunday and a third one pending, he never short-changed the people. He gave them his all and his best. Father Peter showed me that he was not afraid to learn, and when he did not know something he would find out. He nourished the people by his preaching and his drive to do new things in the parish. He was able to do so thanks to his contemplation of the Scriptures. It is through the Holy Spirit working and blessing Father Peter that I decided to join the Redemptorists.

 

Stephanie K. Tracy
Postulant, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Immaculata, PA
Former
Plentiful Redemption editor

The thought of a vocation has haunted me since I was very young. Every time the idea popped up, I found reason to ignore it. In my work for the Redemptorists, I had seen firsthand the beauty of community life and the powerful impact these priests and brothers had in people’s lives. I wanted something they had. That “something” was community, that impact, that life of service to others. I knew it was time to seriously consider a vocation. But it terrified me! The courage to face it came from a Redemptorist who asked me whether I’d ever considered a vocation. He named a few communities he thought might fit me. He wasn’t the first person to ask, but his question, and the ongoing inspiration of his fellow Redemptorists, gave me the push I needed. I will be forever grateful to the Redemptorists for their joyful witness, and for caring enough to ask the question.

 

Tuesday

From the fall edition of Plentiful Redemption

 

Editor’s Note: During this Year of Faith, we present a series of reflections from Redemptorists who began their religious and/or priestly lives in the years during or immediately after the Second Vatican Council.

By Rev. Thomas Deely, C.Ss.R.

I was ordained in June 1965. The Second Vatican Council, begun in 1962, closed as I was ordained.

One of the purposes of that Council was to “open the windows of the Catholic Church and allow the fresh air of renewal to enter into it.” A lot of fresh air did enter. We were no longer “locked into the seminary.” We could now get out and meet the people and be involved in apostolic work.

Before the Vatican Council there seemed to be a belief within the Church that if you locked up a seminarian, got him to pray and be silent, and not care much about what was happening in the world, that the supposed happy result would be a holy seminarian who would go out into the world full of prayer, the Word of God and holy devotions and who would win the world for Christ.

I never really believed that. Neither, I think, did those who called for the Council to bring the Church to a new and fresh encounter with the modern world. As the spirit of the Council gradually changed the attitudes and the rules of our seminary formation, we gradually began to see what youth like ourselves were doing in the world.

It was the Sixties! They were fighting for civil and human rights. They were protesting a most unwise war in Vietnam. They were struggling to undo poverty and injustice both in the U.S. and throughout the world.

I began to resent the isolation that my seminary formation had demanded of me. I knew it was not right. As a 24-year-old young man, I gave my first catechism lesson and felt so disconnected from those seventh-graders, so “out of it.” I cried, I wept for shame and in anger.

I was glad when I was finally a Redemptorist priest who could go out and preach the Gospel of Jesus to real people in the real world. The freedom was great. The new openness in our Church was wonderful.

What weren’t so great were the selfish and worldly values that assaulted our Church. The windows were open. The fresh air was coming in. But in also came the poisoned winds of doubt, of a desire for pleasure and comfort. In came the tempting message that the Cross, that suffering and sacrifice, were a waste of time. So out of those same windows, through which that fresh air had poured, jumped many who decided that following Christ as a religious, a priest, a missionary might not bring them all that they personally desired.

In the 48 years I’ve lived as a priest since the Council, I have now realized why our superiors were so worried about protecting us from the world. They were, in many ways, correct. Fidelity as a Redemptorist priest has not been any easier than it is for any good individual Catholic or married couple. Fidelity takes prayer, humility, and a generous acceptance of the Cross and of the crosses in our lives.

Let me end quoting a young Passionist nun who gave the best and shortest vocation talk I’ve ever heard. She said, “If I had it to do over again I’d still choose to be a nun!” The same goes for me as a Redemptorist priest.

Fr. Deely professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1960 and was ordained in 1965. He is currently ministering to migrant workers and immigrant families in and around Esopus, NY.

Monday

By Kerri Lenartowick

Vatican City, Sept. 8, 2013/09:55 a.m. (CNA/EWTN News)—Pope Francis spoke to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Sunday’s Angelus, encouraging them to follow Christ on the way of the Cross.

“Following Jesus does not mean participating in a triumphal procession!” he said on Sept. 8.

“It means sharing his merciful love, entering into his great work of mercy for each person and for all mankind. And this forgiveness passes through the Cross.”

The pope reflected on the Gospel, in which Jesus “insists on the conditions to be his disciple: to not place anything before love of him, to take up one’s own cross, and to follow him.”

Although there are many who want to follow Jesus, especially when there are miracles, “Jesus does not want to deceive anyone,” explained Pope Francis.

Jesus “knows well what awaits him in Jerusalem, what the way is that the Father asks him to walk,” the pope continued. “It is the way of the cross, of sacrifice of himself for the forgiveness of our sins.”

Yet “Jesus does not want to complete this work alone,” he added.

Christ “wants to include us also in the mission that the Father has given him.”

After the Resurrection, Jesus gives his mission to the disciples, who “renounce all the goods” of their lives because they have found in Christ “the greatest good, in which every other good receives its full value and significance.”

In “the logic of the Gospel, the logic of love and service” the Christian both “detaches himself from everything and recovers everything,” said Pope Francis. 

Like the disciples, Christians who give up family, relationships, work, and cultural and economic goods, all for the sake of Christ, rediscover them anew in Jesus.

The Angelus followed Saturday evening’s massive prayer vigil for peace throughout the world, especially in war-torn Syria and the Middle East.

An estimated 100,000 people prayed with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square and thousands of similar events took place around the world.

Pope Francis thanked those who had participated in the vigil. 

He emphasized the need to pray for the countries of Lebanon “that it may find its hoped-for stability” and Iraq “so that the sectarian violence may lead to reconciliation.”

The pope also asked for prayers for “the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians” and for Egypt, “so that all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, may commit themselves to build up together a society dedicated to the good of the whole population.”

He reiterated his strong opposition to war, noting that there is a much more profound personal war that each person must fight.

This war entails “a strong and courageous decision to renounce evil and its seductions and to choose the good, ready to pay the price” for such a choice.

Such sacrifice is a true “taking up of the Cross.”

“And what good is it to wage war, so much war, if you don’t have the capacity to wage this [more] profound war against evil?” the pope lamented.

“The search for peace is long and demands patience and perseverance!” he said. “Let us keep praying for this!”