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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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Chapter Chat: Praying for the Holy Spirit

Redemptorist Worldwide Chapter | Rome, Italy

November 3, 2009

We are now into our third week of the General Chapter in Rome. On Sunday, the Feast of All Saints, we had a Mass with all the confreres as we remembered the all deceased Redemptorists, family members, friends, benefactors, those with whom we serve and those who work with us in ministry. Father Serafino Fiore, the Vicar General of the Congregation, gave a very fine homily about remembering and its meaning.

We have begun the process of electing our new Superior General and his Council. The Superior General is the leader of the entire Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. To quote our Constitutions:

“The Superior General, as supreme moderator of the Congregation, and president of the General Council, has before all else the duty of seeing that the mission entrusted to the Congregation by the Church is properly carried out. Consequently, he must seek to give new vitality to the apostolic life of the Congregation, in accordance with the Constitutions and Statutes, the decrees and guidelines of the General Chapter.”

That is a pretty challenging job description. To be eligible to be Superior General, a Redemptorist must be a priest, be at least 35 years old, and be finally professed at least seven years.

Each of the 107 delegates to General Chapter votes by secret paper ballot. To be elected Superior General, the confrere must have at least two-thirds all the votes. The votes are gathered, counted, and read in front of all the delegates.

After the Superior General is elected, the Chapter delegates must elect six Consultors, who along with the Superior General, make up the General Council. The role of a General Consultor is to work with the Superior General in governing the entire Congregation. Generally, the Consultors are elected from different areas of the world to make sure all the confreres feel they are represented by someone who knows their reality.

After all the General Consultors are elected, one of them is elected Vicar General, a kind of vice president of the General Government. All of these offices are for a six year term.

Gratefully, there is no campaigning, debating, or television campaign commercials. The delegates do talk to one another about the various qualities of the candidates. Since the men are from all over the world, it can be a challenge to come to know the men who might be elected.

At this point, we have had five ballots and no confrere has received the necessary 72 votes, so we continue to pray and discuss our future. God bless you, and we ask your prayers to the Holy Spirit for the election of our Superior General and his Council.


Father Pat Woods
Provincial Superior
Baltimore Province