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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: Time to head home

Redemptorist Worldwide Chapter | Rome, Italy

November 13, 2009

The atmosphere among delegates to the General Chapter is beginning to feel like that surrounding school children as summer vacation approaches. After a full day of voting and making significant decisions, confreres are beginning to pack their bags and think about home.

The chapter was officially adjourned on November 13, and will close with a Mass for all the delegates at the Church of San Alfonso in Rome in front of the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Then, the men will scatter to the four corners of the earth as they return home to implement the Chapter’s decisions.

What was accomplished over the four weeks? A key task of the Chapter was to elect the leadership of the Congregation for the next six years. We have elected a new Superior General and his six Consultors. I believe these elections will be well-received by the confreres throughout the Congregation.

In terms of decisions, the key result has been the choice to move toward a conference structure that will link our General Government in Rome and the Provinces throughout the Congregation. There will be five conferences: Asia-Oceania, North America, South America, Europe, and Africa/Madagascar. Each will have a coordinator who will facilitate focusing on major pastoral needs, focusing on new ministries, how best to use resources, and the best means of educating our students.

Although we have been growing in this sense of Congregational solidarity over the past many years, now there is a definite structure. This is the first major change in our way of life since 1985 when our Constitutions and Statutes were re-written. It is clear that this conference model will be a work in progress that will be grown into.

We also have lengthened the future terms of office for all the local superiors and Provincial Councils from three to four years. This will take effect in 2011.

Being at a General Chapter is a unique experience. It is great blessing to meet Redemptorists from all over the world. The bond we share, whatever language or nation we are from, is almost instantaneous. We have had moving liturgies and prayed in a variety of ways, reflecting the many diverse cultures of our Congregation.

Redemptorists have the gift of storytelling (perhaps from our preaching ministry) and I heard some wonderful tales over the past month. I have made new friends and enjoyed time spent with ones made years ago.

I leave Rome proud to be a Redemptorist, a member of this group of men with such a grace-filled history. I leave Rome with hope for the future role of the Congregation in the Church and the world. I leave Rome happy to go home to my own Province and confreres. As a serious New York Mets fan, I have been blessed to miss the Yankees win the World Series.


Father Pat Woods
Provincial Superior
Baltimore Province