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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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From the missions: An extraordinary experience

The Grouard-McLennan regional mission, preached by more than 20 Redemptorists and lay associates, wrapped up November 17. By all accounts, this was a grace-filled time for participants and preachers. Here are a few final thoughts from our missionaries:

Late last week, the Redemptorists wrapped up the mission in Grande Prairie, which drew as many as 800 to 900 people per night to St. Joseph’s Church, the only Catholic church in the city. Fr. Frank Jones said the tri-lingual (English, French and Spanish) mission was “a real success.” He writes:

There are seven Catholic schools attached to the parish and every one of them was visited by the mission preachers. I, myself, visited the high school and gave an 80-minute presentation four separate times to the young people there. I think when I was finished I had preached and talked with all 835 kids in the school.

Confessions were held Monday night at the church with 12 priests available. We heard confessions for two hours that night, and then myself and another Redemptorist heard confessions again Tuesday night for another two hours. It really has been an extraordinary experience.

The heart of McLennan.

This week, the mission moved to McLennan, the seat of the archdiocese, which encompasses the more rural areas of the territory. Mission services took place in the cathedral there, and Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, himself a Redemptorist, hosted the missionaries.

Fr. Patrick Woods has spent the mission preaching with Fr. David Louch of the Edmonton-Toronto Province. Fr. Woods writes about his experience in McLennan:

It is a very small town. The good news is that there is a pizza shop, but the bad news is that there is no New York Post in town! There was a time when it was thought, because of the railroad, that this area would be booming, but it has not happened. We’ve been visiting schools and a nursing home, and have had a good response to the mission here.
Archbishop Pettipas has been with us for the first three days of the mission. He is a most gracious man; several times he cooked meals for us. It is a missionary diocese and he often has to make many long car rides. I loved to think about connections. Gerry and I first met at North East (our former high school seminary in Pennsylvania) many years ago at a formation meeting. Little did either of us ever imagine that I would someday be preaching a mission in his Archdiocese many years later.

God always surprises us.

More From the Missions:

Sowing the Seed of the Word (11/8/10)
Following in Alphonsus’ footsteps (11/9/10)
Week 1 wraps up as the mission moves to McLennan (11/12/10)


Students in McLennan.
Archbishop Gerard Pettipas.