Redemptorists logo
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon
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.
Redemptorists logo


Monthly Archives: December 2013

By Kerri Lenartowick

VATICAN CITY, December 29 (CNA)—In his Angelus address given on the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis prayed especially for the approaching Synod of Bishops, which will discuss pastoral challenges to the family.

“The next Synod of Bishops will address the theme of the family, and the preparatory phase has already begun some time ago. For this reason, today, the feast of the Holy Family, I wish to entrust this synodal work to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, praying for families around the world,” he said on December 29 in St. Peter’s Square.

Asking the crowds that packed St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding streets to join with him spiritually, Pope Francis prayed, “Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family and its beauty in God’s plan.”

The pope dedicated his Angelus message to considering Jesus’ own family as an example for families everywhere. “God wanted to be born in a human family; he wanted to have a mother and a father, like us,” he said.

“It’s an example that does much good for our families, helping them to become ever more a community of love and reconciliation, in which one experiences tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness.”

Even Jesus’ own family, however, was not without its difficulties.

Forced to flee to Egypt to escape being killed by Herod, “Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the dramatic condition of refugees, marked by fear, uncertainty, need.”

Unfortunately, Pope Francis continued, “in our day, millions of families can see themselves in this sad reality.” Refugees and immigrants do not always find “true welcome [or] respect.”

Yet “Jesus wanted to belong to a family that had experienced these difficulties” to show that no one “is excluded from the nearness of God’s love.”

“The flight into Egypt because of Herod’s threats shows us that God is also there—there where man is in danger, there where man suffers, there where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment; but he is also where man dreams, hoping to return to his homeland in freedom, designing and choosing a life of dignity for himself and his family.”

Even in families who do not face such dramatic circumstances, “exiled persons” can be found, noted the pontiff: “the elderly, for example, who sometimes are treated as a burdensome presence.”

“Many times I think that one sign to know how a family is doing is to see how the children and elderly are treated in it,” he said.

Pope Francis then repeated one of his oft-used instructions on family life. “Remember the three key phrases: excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry!” he exhorted the crowds, who cheered in response.

In a family that uses these words, “there is peace and joy,” he assured them.

The pontiff closed by greeting the many pilgrim groups who had traveled to Rome and wishing everyone a happy feast day.


VATICAN CITY, December 24 (CNA)—Pope Francis’ homily at the vigil mass for Christmas focused on the importance of Jesus’ incarnation as a real and meaningful event.

“The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; he has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light,” said the Pope on December 24 at the Mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing that we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.”

Below, the full text of Pope Francis’ homily:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:1).

This prophecy of Isaiah never ceases to touch us, especially when we hear it proclaimed in the liturgy of Christmas Night. This is not simply an emotional or sentimental matter. It moves us because it states the deep reality of what we are: a people who walk, and all around us—and within us as well—there is darkness and light. In this night, as the spirit of darkness enfolds the world, there takes place anew the event which always amazes and surprises us: the people who walk see a great light—a light which makes us reflect on this mystery: the mystery of walking and seeing.

Walking. This verb makes us reflect on the course of history, that long journey which is the history of salvation, starting with Abraham, our father in faith, whom the Lord called one day to set out, to go forth from his country towards the land which he would show him. From that time on, our identity as believers has been that of a people making its pilgrim way towards the promised land. This history has always been accompanied by the Lord! He is ever faithful to his covenant and to his promises. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Yet on the part of the people there are times of both light and darkness, fidelity and infidelity, obedience, and rebellion; times of being a pilgrim people and times of being a people adrift.

In our personal history too, there are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows. If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us. “Whoever hates his brother—writes the Apostle John—is in the darkness; he walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11).

On this night, like a burst of brilliant light, there rings out the proclamation of the Apostle: “God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race” (Titus 2:11).

The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; he has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light. In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing that we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.

The shepherds were the first to see this “tent”, to receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. And they were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks. Together with them, let us pause before the Child, let us pause in silence. Together with them, let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and with them let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praises of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.

On this night let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us, he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats: “Do not be afraid!” (Luke 2:10). And I too repeat: Do not be afraid! Our Father is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is our peace. Amen.


Click on a video below to get the inside scoop from our students in the Bronx about what life is like in the early stages of formation as a Redemptorist!

Prayer for Vocations to the Redemptorist Family

Provident God, you spoke your dream of plentiful redemption in Jesus Christ. Your Spirit ignited the heart of St. Alphonsus, inspiring him to found a family in the Church dedicated to proclaiming the good news of plentiful redemption to the most abandoned.

Raise up among us strong men and women of faith, afire with love for you and zeal for the mission of proclaiming your word among those who do not know you, or who need to hear your word proclaimed anew.

Guide men to respond with generosity as vowed Redemptorist priests and brothers, and women and men to serve in joy and hope as partners in the Redemptorist mission.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Word, who is our Life. Amen.



VATICAN CITY, Dec. 19, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News)L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, unveiled its revamped website Dec. 17, meant to broaden the reach of the paper and make it more social-media friendly.

“More news, more photos, more sharing through social networks,” one of the paper’s journalists, Piero Di Domenicantonio wrote in an editorial published Dec. 16, saying the publication “renews and broadens its online presence and the information service it offers to the world.”

“With innovative graphics and a substantial improvement in accessibility, the new site marks a turning point in the spread of the newspaper,” he said, adding that articles “can easily be relaunched on Twitter and Facebook.”

Di Domenicantonio noted that the restyle was done in cooperation with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and with the assistance of a Spanish firm.

The website includes the contents of L’Osservatore Romano’s daily edition; its five weekly editions, including one in English; and its monthly edition, published in Polish. The site is accessible by computer, smartphone, and tablet.

The website also features a secure and easily accessible transaction system so users can donate to the service, which is provided free of charge.

“Even in those areas which are more difficult and expensive to reach with traditional means of distributing printed newspapers, everyone will be offered the opportunity of timely access to firsthand information on the activities of the pope and the Holy See,” Di Domenicantonio wrote.

“A little more than a century and a half after its founding, L’ Osservatore Romano is taking on this new adventure in the digital world,” he said.



New York City

Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R., and Father William Elder welcomed Cardinal Raymond Burke to the Archdiocese of New York on October 31. Cardinal Burke is prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic signatura in Rome, the Vatican’s highest court. Father Welch is judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal, and Father Elder is judicual vicar of the Interdiocesan Tribunal at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, the Court of Appeals of the Metropolitan Province of New York.

The cardinal had high praise for the work of the tribunal, saying, “The Apostolic Signatura has been very, very pleased with the work that is going on in the tribunal here. We know very well—my staff and I—that it’s very challenging work.”

Father Welch noted that “it was a tremendous honor and privilege to have the Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura visit us.”

He also acknowledged the challenges of defending marriage when it is under attack by so many social forces.

“We’re doing what we can here to speak the truth about the sacrament of marriage, to uphold its dignity. We have to speak the truth about each and every case we get.”

Source: Catholic New York



Parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn held their first annual Walk 4 Health on November 9. Father John McKenna, C.Ss.R., was event coordinator.

More than 100 community members walked laps around the church to raise funds for repairs.

“We’ve got big plans here,” said Father McKenna. “Financially, it was a surprising success.”

Source: Home Reporter and Sunset News


Kenosha, Wisconsin

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R., made a big impression during the mission he preached in Kenosha, Wis., in October.  Father MacDonald is in residence at St. Patrick Church in Frederiksted, St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During the mission Father MacDonald, a former professional baseball player, talked about his love of sports and recounted his journey to the priesthood.

As he learned, his aunt, a School Sister of Notre Dame, had been praying not only that the young man would become a priest but that he would join the Redemptorists.

Father MacDonald was ordained in 1991 and continued playing sports—basketball while assigned to a parish in Dominica and baseball when he moved to a parish in Long Island—for years afterward.

Source: Catholic Herald