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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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Monday

A celebration of the Redemptorist vocation

If you would like to send prayers or congratulations to our jubilarians, email us at jubilees@redemptorists.net.

The following is an excerpt from the homily delivered July 17 by Very Rev. Alfred Bradley, vice provincial, during the Mass for our jubliarians and James McCabe’s final profession:

We all need inspiration. Presidents and poets, priests and parishioners, football players and footstool supporters all need to be challenged to exceed our expectations. And if we are to exceed those expectations, we must be inspired. We all need to look to the courageous people who have gone before us, whose stories and vision can help to sustain us and each new generation.

Today we honor 27 men who celebrate 25 to 70 years of religious profession and 19 men who mark an anniversary of ordination between 25 and 60 years. No doubt, these men were inspired by the example and spirituality of St. Alphonsus to give their lives in service of the Gospel. No doubt, in their many years of service to God and the Church, they too have inspired many others to love Jesus Christ.

The confreres, whom we honor today, have served God and his people in places as big as Puerto Rico and as small as Port Ewen (NY). They have preached missions and pastored parishes in places like Paraguay and Poughkeepsie. They have celebrated the sacraments everywhere from Baltimore to Brazil, and cared for God’s people from Lima, Ohio, to Brooklyn, New York, and from Ellicott City, Maryland, to Jacksonville, Florida.

As young men, they left their homes in Philadelphia and Boston. They studied in the grape belt and were sent to preach the Gospel in the Bible belt. Like young Samuel, they understood that if God was calling them, they had to get up and move beyond what they knew (1 Samuel 3:1-10). And with Samuel-like eagerness, they responded.  Inspired by the stories and lives of the Redemptorist priests and brothers who went before them, they traveled by bus and train to distant places with funny names like Highlandtown and Odenton. They took ships and planes to serve as chaplains in foreign wars, and as missionaries on Caribbean islands and in South American countries.

With selfless dedication, these men desired to follow Jesus Christ more closely. In a variety of ministries and locations, they lived out the gift of their Redemptorist vocation. One could be cutting grass (at three in the morning) on a seminary property, while another was teaching English to a class of future Redemptorists. One of our priests might be breaking the bread of the Eucharist, while another confrere was making bread for the community meal. As Redemptorist priests and brothers, our jubilarians have lived in and ministered to large and small communities. Some have prepared meals while others prepared sermons, some built churches and schools, while others put out fires and the trash — all in service of the Gospel.

None of this would have been desirable, or even possible, without inspiration. Touched by the example of the Lord Himself, the men we honor today entrusted their futures to God. Learning new languages, adapting to new cultures, moving to new places all required what one spiritual author called a “holy carelessness.” Like the Andrews and Philips, Jameses and Johns that went before them, they understood that their religious profession was a call to die to self in order to be more available to God and His people. Their profession and ordination was meant to make them freely and unconditionally available to God. Their consecration was meant to inspire others, to remind all of us that we belong to a God who deeply loves us. …

We all need inspiration!

You will need it too, Jim, in the days ahead. As you profess your final vows today, you can look to the senior members of our community for the kind of inspiration that will help you exceed your expectations and sustain you through the joyful and difficult years that lie ahead.

With your profession of perpetual vows today, Jim, you acknowledge that your entire life and future are consecrated to God. Sometimes we religious need to be reminded, that our vocations are a gift from God; a gift freely given and completely unmerited. Our responsibility is to make ourselves wholeheartedly available to God, with as much generosity and love as we can give. In order to serve God and the Congregation to the best of our ability, we must not be minimalist, but we should try to exceed our expectations. That involves some dying to self in the process.

Remember, we all need inspiration.