On November 10, 2019, we celebrate once again the Day for the Promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation. Because this annual celebration occurs on the second Sunday of November, it is closely linked with the Foundation Day of our Congregation on November 9 – this year marking 287 years. We present the Letter of Fr. Michael Brehl C.Ss.R., Superior General, issued for this occasion.
November 1, 2019
Solemnity of All Saints
Prot. No. 0000 229/2019
Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Missionaries and Associates,
As we prepare to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation on November 10, I invite you to prayerfully reflect on these words from Pope Francis:
The mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge that I can take off; it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life … I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. It follows that every form of pastoral activity, formation and spirituality should be seen in the light of our Christian vocation (Christus Vivit #254).
Although Pope Francis addressed these words especially to young people, I believe that they are also addressed to all of us who have been called to live the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation. This has been at the very heart of our prayer, reflection, discernment and decisions during the Mid-Sexennium Meetings in every Conference. Our missionary vocation is the very core of the restructuring process and our apostolic plans: as “one missionary body” (Const. 2), we are prophetic witnesses of the Redeemer in our wounded world today.
More than ever, we are called to live this vocation in a spirit of profound faith and trust in the presence of Jesus our Redeemer who promised to remain with us always. We encounter his presence with the joy and peace he offers when we encounter in a spirit of solidarity our brothers and sisters most in need.
Faced with so many possibilities, and so many necessities, we are called to a careful and faith-filled discernment in community. In the light of the decisions of the General Chapter and the signs of the times, we are called to a missionary life which crosses boundaries and breaks down walls – to a life which is every day more international and intercultural. This missionary life and our missionary vocation call us to a deeper communion with our Lay Missionaries and Redemptorist Associates, with Religious Sisters who share our charism, and with the poorest and most abandoned of our sisters and brothers.
We are experiencing today a historical moment of evangelical creativity. Pope Francis urges us to become Spirit-filled evangelizers capable of creating a culture of encounter and hope. With more than 1,000 young men in initial formation and a growing number of lay partners, we are convinced that today our charism and missionary vocation are full of life and energy.
In this spirit, I remind you of the General Chapter decision that each (V)Province and Region would take up an annual collection in all our Churches for the Solidarity Fund. If you have not taken this collection this year, then I suggest that the World Day of Prayer for the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation would be a very appropriate time to do so. Through the Solidarity Fund, the Congregation assists those Units most in need, especially for their formation programs, and for the formation of formators. This spirit of solidarity is essential for the ongoing dynamism of our Redemptorist Missionary Vocation. Please be generous.
As we remember the 287th anniversary of our Foundation Day, we give thanks to God for the lives and witness of so many confreres on whose shoulders we stand – beginning with St. Alphonsus and Bro. Vito Curzio. Next year we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of St. Clement Hofbauer as well as the foundation of the Congregation beyond the alps – the first beginnings of our international mission in the world.
Brothers and Sisters, on this World Day of Prayer for the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation, let us give thanks to God for calling us in Jesus Christ our Redeemer to share in this charism. Pray that many others will also respond to this call: Brothers and Sisters, Priests, Lay Missionaries and Redemptorist Associates. In every Redemptorist Community, Church and Parish, I encourage you to invite others to pray for this intention. And invite them also to consider that God may be calling them individually and personally to give their lives with Jesus for their sisters and brothers.
In the words of Pope Francis, encourage them to discern carefully:
Jesus is walking in our midst, as he did in Galilee. He walks through our streets, and he quietly stops and looks into our eyes. His call is attractive and intriguing… Seek out the calm and quiet that enable you to reflect, pray, look more clearly at the world around you, and then, with Jesus, come to recognize the vocation that is yours in this world. (Christus Vivit, #277).
Brothers and Sisters, I am deeply grateful to share this missionary vocation with you. Thank you for your perseverance and patience, and for your joyful witness to the Redeemer!
May Alphonsus Liguori and Clement Hofbauer, Vito Curzio and Gerard Majella, Celeste Crostarosa and so many others inspire us to always live our missionary vocation with joy and hope – and to communicate that joy and hope to all! May Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help accompany us each day as we bring the Good News to the poor. Blessed Caspar Stanggassinger, Patron of Formation in the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation, pray for us.
In Christ our Redeemer and our brother,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.
Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy