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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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Parish missions

A Redemptorist mission is a time of great grace for individuals and the community as a whole.

It’s an experience of the Word made flesh among us and an occasion of healing, conversion, and reconciliation for a parish and its people.

The goal of a Redemptorist mission is to provide a positive experience of God, leading to personal and ongoing conversion in a community setting. Essential elements of the Redemptorist mission are preaching, reconciliation, fellowship, prayer, sacred and sacramental ritual, Scripture, and healing of relationships.

Redemptorists love to talk about redemption, about what Christ has done to set us free from the evils of sin and so has made it possible for us to be fully human and alive in Him, about a God who loves to forgive, and goes so far as to be willing to die to forgive.

A unique preaching style

Redemptorists, having inherited a rich legacy of preaching redemption from their spiritual father, St. Alphonsus, see a mission as an opportunity for healing, renewal, and reconciliation.

Although some missions concentrate on adult catechesis, Scripture study, and a variety of devotions, Redemptorists preach a Gospel of unconditional love in order to move hearts and change lives.

Preaching continual conversion means that the mission is not merely a temporary spiritual boost but rather the beginning of a renewed relationship with the Holy Redeemer. The emphasis is on love and mercy, coupled with the availability for reconciliation and down-to-earth preaching.

Laypeople join in

Laypeople are an important part of a Redemptorist mission. They may be found signing fellow parishioners with holy water or processing into the sanctuary with a Bible to be enthroned.

They may be seen distributing Holy Communion or helping commission the missionary to preach by the laying on of hands.

Some missionaries involve children in skits depicting the Gospel; others organize processions with the Blessed Sacrament while a lay minister reads a healing prayer. Some larger missions have engaged as many as 200 parishioners. Redemptorists believe laypeople are indispensable for the vitality of a present-day mission.

A faith-filled experience made available to all

Based on the needs of the parish, a mission may take on different forms and themes. For example, some missions are charismatic; others focus on healing or broken marriages. Redemptorists have even sponsored missions for the homeless.

Missions may take place in parish churches, in the streets, and in homes. They may last five days, two weeks, or longer. In some countries they last as long as a full year.

No matter what form they take, the message is consistent: in Jesus Christ there is plentiful redemption for all.

The most common form of the mission takes place in a parish. It typically starts on Sunday and concludes with Mass the following Thursday night. Weeknight services may include preaching, benediction, meditation, the rosary, a Marian service, a Bible service, and a healing service. Some missions include children’s programs.

One night is dedicated to a reconciliation service that may involve as many as 15 priests. During the day priests are available for private consultation and visitation.

A Redemptorist mission always stresses reconciliation: historically Redemptorists have been known as confessors. Priests and brothers make the experience nonthreatening, loving, sensible, and meaningful. They provide a series of talks, homilies, and instructions with liturgies, services, and many opportunities to experience the sacrament of reconciliation.

All participants receive a pocket-size prayer book to guide them through confession as well as prayers during and following the services, including prayers to Mary; to help during an examination of conscience; for healing, bereavement, and thanksgiving; and for loved ones to return to the Church.

Coming home

Redemptorists have a special care for un-churched Catholics and they especially welcome people who have been away from the Church. The parish mission team calls and invites each parishioner personally and also calls those whom parishioners hope will return to the Church. All are invited and welcomed no matter how long they may have been away. Ads in local newspapers and on the radio echo that invitation.

Parish teams provide witness and support

At every mission, people return to the practice of their faith because a friend manages to persuade them to come and try it for one evening. What they find amazes them. They say they cannot believe the laughing, crying, and joy they experience during the mission.

The parish planning team includes committees for publicity, babysitting, liturgy and music, transportation, and refreshments. Two weeks before the mission a layperson (sometimes someone who had been away from the Church) might speak at all Sunday Masses; the following week a missionary addresses the parish.

Each encourages parishioners to participate and to invite others. Often the result is standing-room-only gatherings.

Where Redemptorists conduct missions

Redemptorist missionaries of the Baltimore Province preach throughout the eastern United States and in the English-speaking Caribbean.

For information about a mission in your parish, ask your pastor to email Father John Murray.