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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: November 2016

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 Rev. Norman Bennett, C.Ss.R.

“The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise to the house of Israel and Judah.” (Jer 33:14)

This surge of hope for God’s people comes from the prophet Jeremiah, imprisoned by Zedekiah, the King of Judah, because he had so much as told the King he was neither a believer in God nor leading the people according to God’s will. It is a surprising position for Jeremiah to be in — imprisoned and yet singing of hope for the restoration of a united Judah and Israel through a descendant of David, “a just shoot.”

It is a difficult time for the Catholic Church today. We live in a secular culture. We will have to juggle our Christmas preparation of Christmas shopping and Christmas parties with a serious commitment of penance in order to present ourselves worthy to celebrate the welcome of Jesus born anew in our hearts. Unfortunately, there are not a few in our culture who have distanced themselves from the “institutional Church,” and those, like Zedekiah, who imagine themselves righteous before the Lord.

This Advent, despite the secular wave for material possessions and the call to self-centeredness, the Church calls us to penance, like Jeremiah, to be selfless in giving, despite the numbers who do not welcome the message. Christmas is the celebration of a selfless God, Jeremiah’s “just shoot,” who becomes at once totally one of us and totally for us. Christmas is Jesus, the promise fulfilled we celebrate. May we be inspired this Advent to hope and love through the Church’s invitation to penance: prayer, fasting and giving alms to the poor.

Father Bennett is associate pastor of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, N.Y.



Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News)—The Vatican announced Monday that recently nominated Cardinal-elect Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Indianapolis will soon take over as the new head of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

Born in Detroit May 3, 1952, he has served as the sixth archbishop of Indianapolis since 2012. He was ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1978.

On Oct. 9 Pope Francis named him as one of three Americans on his list of 17 new cardinals-elect, who will be elevated during a special Nov. 19 consistory set to coincide with the end of the Jubilee of Mercy.

Other Americans getting the red hat are Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Kevin Farrell, former head of the Dallas diocese who recently moved to Rome to carry out his new role as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Laity, Family, and Life.

As head of the Newark Archdiocese, Tobin takes over from Archbishop John J. Myers, who will retire after having reached age 75 in July.

Archbishop Tobin’s appointment and elevation as cardinal will mark the first time in its 163-year history that the Archdiocese of Newark has been led by a cardinal. It also signals the first time a member of a religious order will preside over the diocese, which serves roughly 1.2 million Roman Catholics.

The decision fits with Francis’ tendency to appoint cardinals to non-traditional “red-hat sees”— dioceses that typically have a cardinal, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington.

Archbishop Tobin already has an extensive tenure in and around the Vatican, as well as in leadership roles.

Before his appointment to Indianapolis, Archbishop Tobin served as Superior General for the Redemptorists from 1997-2009, then in the Vatican as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from 2010-2012, in which role he helped oversee the more than one million men and women who are vowed religious.

During his time at the congregation, he conducted two separate investigations of American nuns. He was also responsible for the visit and reform of the male communities in Ireland during the sex-abuse crisis in the country.

In May he was appointed by the Vatican as the delegate to oversee the ongoing reforms of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae after scandals involving their founder, Luis Fernando Figari, were made public last year.

Archbishop Tobin also seems to share Pope Francis’ sympathy for migrants and refugees. He recently sparred with Indiana governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence over the resettlement of Syrian refugees, saying he was determined to welcome them despite Pence’s objections.

Under his guidance the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has also set up several events to help foster Catholic–Muslim dialogue.

He has been a papal appointee to five synods of bishops—1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, and 2008—but he did not attend the 2014-2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family.

The archbishop is fluent in Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.