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Meeting of the Mass Media and Communication Commission in Rome


(Rome) – The Communication Commission of the General Government met April 5-6 to access the progress made in the various Conferences over the past year. Present for the meetings were Fr. Biju Madathikunnel, chairman, Fr. Evaldo Sousa (South America), Fr. Charles Kumar (Oceana), Mr. Daniel Primo (Europe) and Fr. Charlie Wehrley (North America). Also present from the General Government were Fr. Brendan Kelly, Fr. Sebastian Ani, Fr. Pedro Lopez, and Fr. Manny Rodriguez, and Fr. Cristian Bueno from the secretariats of Formation and Evangelization. Fr. Sanjay Tirkey and Mr. Carlos Espinoza were present from the General Communications Office, as well as Fr. Gregory Ruszaj from Poland. Fr. Marc Toguyeni from the Conference of Africa and Madagascar could not be present for the meeting.

Although the Commission hasn’t made the progress it had hoped for, there were circumstances beyond our control throughout 2018, such as the election of new Provincial Governments worldwide, which slowed the process of official appointments to the new positions of Director of Communications in each Conference. To date, Fr. Charlie Wehrley of North America is the only officially appointed Communications Director. There are Communications commissions up and running, however, in both Europe and Oceana. And a team of three, including Fr. Evaldo Sousa, have begun working together in South America.

It was stressed during the meeting that we must all be fully onboard, believing in the importance of both internal (C.Ss.R.) and external digital communications if we are to move forward with the creation of commissions on the Conference and Unit levels. In addition to the General Commission members taking ownership, we must empower the commissions on the Conference and Unit levels to also take ownership in promoting internal and external digital communications.

After assessing where we are in the moment, it was emphasized that we must take the Commission’s Strategic Plan and make it accessible in each of the Conferences and Units. Various Units will have differing needs and so we will make the strategic plan flexible toward meeting everyone’s needs. The four essential areas of the plan are Awareness, Formation, Networking, and Ministry. The Strategic Plan will be a framework for each Conference and Unit to build upon in creating digital communications that will reach both the Redemptorist world and the world around us.

Once each Conference/Unit is able to access its needs, they will be able to design, build and manage a functioning program for promoting digital communications. All of this work will enhance our moving forward in fulfilling our mission as Redemptorists.

The goal was set to be able to present a profile of each Conference by the end of November 2019. Our major tasks will be to 1) activate commissions, 2) establish contact persons, 3) dialogue with Conference Coordinators (in particular about our being able to address each Assembly this year), 4) prepare an assessment  questionnaire by the end of May, 5) gather data through November, 6) create a Conference profile by November, and 7) have Zoom meeting as a General Commission in December to discuss our progress.

Fr. Biju was re-elected as Chairman of the General Commission and our next meeting in Rome will be in April 2020.

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Spiritual Direction Course Available Free to Confreres / Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R


Noted Redemptorist theologian Fr. Dennis Billy is offering his new online course free to Redemptorist confreres and friends of the Redemptorists – but only until March 5, 2019.

“Spiritual Direction and the Moral Life” focuses on the relationship between spiritual direction and morality, applying the Alphonsian approach to mental prayer to the process of spiritual direction.

Presented in four parts, each composed of five modules, the course shows how the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit influence the spiritual direction process.

In addition to continuing St. Alphonsus’ mission to lead others to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, the course offers a simple and practical way to understand the direction process – one that can be used in a variety of contexts to meet the spiritual and moral needs of life today. It draws a close connection between spirituality and morality, between spiritual direction itself and the moral life, providing an integrated approach to life that connects holiness to wholeness and spiritual experience to moral actions.

Those interested in pursuing spiritual direction as well as spiritual directors searching for extra tools to deepen their own understanding of the direction process are encouraged to register for the online course at: https://spiritualdirectors.world/.

Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R. of the Baltimore Province is Karl Rahner Professor of Catholic Theology at the Graduate Theological Foundation. A prolific author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles published in scholarly and popular journals, he currently serves at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

Submitted by Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP / denverlink UPDATE, 01-11-2019

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Blessed Peter Donders: Prophet of Justice and Liberation


During this month of January, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Peter Donders on the 14th. Peter Donders was proclaimed Blessed by John Paul II on May 23, 1982.  As we can imagine, there are a lot of technical elements in the process of canonization.  Besides the approved miracles, one important element in the process of canonization is that of popular devotion to the person.  I believe that this agenda of promoting popular devotion is one that all of us as the Redemptorist family should undertake, not only to promote one of our own but also because of the valuable contribution and inspiration that Peter Donders´ life offers to society and to the Church.

As I read the volume of Redemptorist Spirituality(# 9, in Spanish) on Peter Donders, it struck me that a dimension that we can use, and also alluded to by the coordinator of this volume, Father, now Bishop, Noel Londoño, C.Ss.R., is the Christian call from baptism to be prophets in the midst of human realities.

Over the course of the decades and centuries after the European contact, Latin America underwent sweeping cultural and political changes that would lead to the independence movements of the 19th century and the social upheavals of the 20th century.

Peter Donders was born in 1809, the beginning of the 19th century.  He arrived as a missionary to the Dutch colony of Suriname in 1842 and brought with him the current political, social, moral and ecclesial thought of the times in Europe, in which justice and liberation were certainly central themes.

Popularly, we usually limit our references to Peter Donders as an apostle to lepers, which is justified seeing that he labored for 28 years, with some interruptions, in the place, Batavia, created specifically to receive the lepers in the region.  He died among the lepers on January 14, 1887.

But Peter Donders was also in contact with diverse human groups of persons exploited and enslaved, among them about 40,000 slaves concentrated in 400 colonial establishments.  In his efforts of evangelization, he was frequently confronted with resistance on the part of the “Christian” colonizers who resisted his entering the plantations, even to administer the sacraments.  In a matter of fact, before his death (1887), in 1863 slavery in Suriname was abolished.

Peter Donders also dedicated himself to the evangelization of the indigenous populations which were markedly affected by alcohol and other sicknesses, for example, smallpox, imported by the Europeans.  These peoples were the Araucas, Warros and Guarní tribes.  As with other evangelizers, Peter Donders encountered innumerable difficulties with the Caribs, also known as the “southern red skins.”  It is interesting that the Apostolic Vicar in his visit to Suriname during the time of Peter Donders commented that at that time the majority of the indigenous population of Suriname were Catholics due to the tireless and pioneer work of Peter Donders, the “Apostle of the Indigenous People.”

What these historical missionary and ministerial facts point out is the importance of human liberation and justice in the work of evangelization.  Peter Donders was often the spokesperson for the Redemptorist community in favor of all those who were being exploited, enslaved and marginalized.  These included, besides the abandoned and marginalized lepers, the native Indians, and the slaves.

It seems to me that a strong promotional focus for devotion and recognition of Peter Donders is to place him among the figures in the historical movements of justice and liberation in Latin America, that is, as a pioneer alongside the list of prophetic canonized figures that culminate in the 20th century with Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (canonized on October 15th, 2018).

An example of Peter Donders’ prophetic voice is his letters, which the coordinator of the volume of Redemptorist Spirituality dedicated to Donders, indicates can be placed among the anthologies of the prophetic testimonies of the Church in Latin America.  In his letters, Peter Donders reflects the following traditional prophetic elements: a prophetic vision of the reality of Suriname, the denouncement of those responsible, prophetic reaction to these injustices, the hope of liberation and the impossibility of an authentic evangelization without this previous liberation.

To cite just one example of this is a letter written in 1846 in defense of the slaves.  After mentioning if there were at least as much care in Suriname for the oppressed and exploited as in Europe for domestic animals, things would be a lot better, Peter Donders writes, and I quote:

“Woe! Woe to Suriname on the great day of judgment! Woe! Woe! Yes, a thousand times woe! of the Europeans, of the owners of the slaves in the plantations, of the administrators, of the directors and the guards (of all those who rule over the slaves)!!! Woe to those who become rich from the sweat and blood of the poor slaves, who have no more defenders than God!”

These were strong words in his day as they would be for today.

May Peter Donders be our inspiration so that we be filled with his prophetic spirit and break the barriers of fear and anxiety that keep us from living the prophetic dimension to which our charism calls us as followers of the Redeemer.

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One Body: As One Missionary Body



As we continue to reflect upon the message of the XXV General Chapter to the Congregation, we read that we are invited to create one missionary body. This awareness should lead us to concrete choices and decisions that empower us to really live a vibrant community life. Such a community examines its “health” by looking carefully at itself, asking if being creatively faithful to the Gospel is still our first priority. If we are faithful to the Gospel, our community is able to read attentively the signs of the times, and courageously respond to the challenges according to its real possibilities and capacities. Let us read the text taken from the final document:

  1. In order to carry out its mission in the Church, the Congregation gathers persons who, living in common, make up one missionary body (C. 2).  And so all Redemptorists know themselves to be members of a common project shared by all in the Congregation.  We encourage all to care for their sense of belonging and to cultivate a true community life.   The community we long for is a place where all confreres, old and young, with their gifts and wounds, are included and where co-responsibility becomes a reality.
  2. This community reads the signs of the times, is creatively faithful to the Gospel, and regularly promotes new initiatives that enliven the spiritual and community life of the confreres.  Since it is an essential law of life that the members of the Congregation live in the community, and carry out their apostolate through the community, we are exhorted to always consider this communitarian aspect when taking on any missionary project. (C. 21).

In this perspective, the Redemptorist community, by the way, the members are faithful to the Gospel and live a community life, becomes the very first instrument of proclaiming the Good News. The Redemptorist community itself becomes the first proclamation and the first message preached to those who are abandoned and forgotten. Before we ever preach a sermon, we give testimony and announce the Gospel by our way of living and acting together.

We experience this every day that our people first look at us and then listen to us. For Redemptorists, there is nothing worse than the situation in which our life does not match our words.

This is true on the level of the individual, and it is true as well on the level of the community. It is crucially important that Redemptorists are aware that it is an essential law of life that we live in the community and act as a community. Our life as a community, a missionary community, must bear witness to Christ and the power of the Gospel. If this is authentic, then it paves the way for people to be open to our words.

Community life cannot be reduced to mere living together. It is about the sense of belonging to a family and about true fraternal relationships; this cannot be theoretical. It has to be real and concrete. It starts with our living together despite many difficulties connected with our way of doing things and our way of judging reality. Here some little and seemingly insignificant things can play a very important role. It is, finally, about discerning and accepting our missionary projects that have to include a communitarian aspect. Quite often this is omitted when private and more profitable solutions are applied.

This sense of belonging goes beyond my own local community, and fraternal relations go further than my community. It is a constant struggle between thinking globally and acting locally. We cannot be indifferent about our mission that is going on in many parts of the world even though it does not touch our own community; however, at the same time, we have to remember that the quality of our mission in the world depends on faithfulness to our local commitments.

The word of God is the light for our path

Romans 12, 1-8 (read the text)

Paul begins his words, addressed to his brothers, with a strong statement: “I urge you … by the mercies of God” and he invites them to become “a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God”.

He invites his brothers to enter into a process of discernment. He calls them not to conformto the present situation but to search for the will of God using our human abilities.

He indicates that one body is composed of many members, but the whole structure finds its foundation only if it is rooted in Christ. In such a way he respects the universal and individual dimension of the Church but points out that it is Christ who gives unity to this composition. Unity and diversity is appreciated and valued as a way to understand, in faith, the will of God for both global and local measurements. They should complement and support one another.

It is interesting how the titles of the separate paragraphs of chapter 12 of Paul’s letter to the Romans develop. The chapter starts with an invitation to sacrifice of body and mind. Next, it indicates the composition of the Church, and finally, Paul indicates the driving force that should animate and give life to the whole structure: mutual love. They form together a sequence that could serve as a way or manner of how to approach and examine every complex reality: church, congregation, community etc.

From Our own Well

Father Joseph W. Tobin, at the end of his mandate as General Superior of our Congregation, wrote a Communicanda with the title: Letter to the Confreres. In this letter, he describes the state of the Congregation. Between many important observations, there are some that can help us to reflect on the life and mission of Redemptorists in the Church and in the world as One Missionary Body.

Communicanda 3 – 2009 (73-76):

It seems to me that we need to agree that whether we follow Christ in one way or another is not arbitrary. In the matter of vocation, there is nothing arbitrary. Each Christian must seek out his vocation, that is, God’s will in his individual case and, once he has found it, like the merchant in the parable of Jesus, “rejoice and sell all he has” to live in fidelity with the call of the Lord (Mt. 13,44). For my Mom and Dad, their vocation as spouses and parents is superior to all others because it is their vocation, that is, the one to which they were called. For me, to be a Redemptorist is the best possible way of life because it is the one to which God has invited me.

By our profession, we have responded to the Lord with the total gift of ourselves and have committed ourselves to seek the will of God within a concrete ecclesial community, the Congregation. Our obedience to God, something invisible, takes place within the framework of our visible community.

Just as we cannot affirm that we love the God we cannot see, if we despise the brother we do see (cf. 1Jn. 4,20-21), Redemptorists cannot state that they are seeking the will of God unless this search takes place within the visible community of the Congregation. So, the norms to guide discernment and decision-making are of crucial importance to avoid the danger of reducing the mission of the Congregation to a job or a career that is done principally for one’s own self-aggrandizement and thus to be managed more or less by each individual.  Our Constitutions propose that the search for God’s will is a task for which every member of the Congregation is co-responsible.

No Redemptorist can disqualify himself from helping to create an obedient community, since to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the sake of the common good (Con. 92; cf. 1Cor. 12,7; Con. 72). Thus, a crucial service for those in authority is to encourage the community in its effort to listen to, discern and carry out the will of God, “leading the members in such a way that they will co-operate with an active and responsible obedience in applying themselves to their duties and to the activities they undertake” (Con. 72).

For reflection and discussion:

What do you think about the quality of community life in your community?

Can you list positive points about our life and work as a community?

How can we improve our life and our mission as a community?


ONE BODY is a monthly text of prayer proposed by the Center for Redemptorist Spirituality. For more information:

Fr. Piotr Chyla CSsR (Director of the Center for Spirituality –  fr.chyla@gmail.com).

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Father Michael Brehl C.Ss.R. elected as Vice-President of the Union of Superiors General (USG)


Father Michael Brehl, Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) was elected Vice President of the Union of Superiors General (USG). As the new president of the USG, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, General of the Society of Jesus, was elected. The election took place during the working of the 91st half-yearly General Assembly on the theme: “Youth, faith and discernment” that took place from November 21 to 23 at the Casa del Divino Maestro in Ariccia (adjacent to Rome, Italy).

The other members of the meeting are: Fr. Pedro Aguado, Scolopio (Superior General of the Piarists), Fr. Mauro Leopori (Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Common Observance), Fr. Laurentius Tarpin (General Master of the Regular Canons of ‘Order of the Holy Cross’), Fr. Alejandro Moral (Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine), Fr. Ángel Fernández (Rector Major of Saint Francis de Sales), Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie (Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus), Fr. Valdir José de Castro (Superior General of the Society of Saint Paul), Fr. Tomaž Mavrič (Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and of the Company of the Daughters of Charity), Fr. Mathew Vattamatam, CMF (Superior General of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Claretians),and Brother Ernesto Sánchez (Superior General of the Marist Brothers).

There were four main themes for the round tables and the dialogue in the Assembly: 1. Discernment as a style of the church, 2. Educational Accompaniment and proclamation of the Gospel, 3. Life as a vocation and different vocations, 4. A Church for and with young people.

On the second day, during the afternoon sessions two other Synodal fathers Fr. Michael Brehl (Redemptorist) and Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime (Salesian) spoke. Even before the synod, Fr. Brehl had met and known several groups of young people in various parts of the world. When talking with them, he understood the importance of relating to the youth world, the transition from “for” young people to “with” young people. In fact, they are not so much the “future” of the church, but they are above all their “present” and that is precisely why they want spaces where they can make the most important decisions together. In the digital world, for example, adults must humbly learn from young people. The direct comparison, as the space for a continuous dialogue with them, can no longer be deferred.  Father Brehl said in his speech that the “us” on the one hand and “them” on the other is an attitude that one should have the courage to leave either as soon as possible.

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Meeting of the General Secretariat of Formation in Rome


(Rome) The General Secretariat of Formation met from Monday, November 19th until Friday, November 23rd, 2018 in Rome.  The members of the Secretariat are as follows, Fr. Alberto Eseverri, C.Ss.R. (Vicar General and president of the Secretariat), Fr. Rogério Gomes, C.Ss.R. (General Consultor), Fr. Manuel Rodríguez, C.Ss.R. (Secretary General of the Secretariat), Fr. Hypius Václav, C.Ss.R. (Conference of Europe), Fr. Edilberto Cepe, C.Ss.R. (Conference of Asia/Oceania), Fr. Joseph Musendami, C.Ss.R. (Conference of Africa/Madagascar), Bro. Larry Luján, C.Ss.R. (Conference of North America).

The agenda for this meeting was quite ambitious as we projected into the future dialoguing about the courses and encounters with formators and students, the updating of the General Ratio Formationis Generalis, the Fundamental elements of Redemptorist Formation Programs at all levels, the Evaluation of the Congregation’s formation programs as dictated by decision # 30 of the XXV General Chapter and the publication of articles and volumes of “Tools for Formators” that can help the formators in their tasks.

The General Secretariat of Formation, as every dependency of the General Government, has been faithful to its mission during this sexennium of pro-actively moving forward with the demands of the renewed Apostolic Priorities of the Conferences and the multiple dynamics involved in the Restructuring and Reconfiguration of our units.

The Secretariat was fortunate to have two sessions with Father General, Michael Brehl, who spoke to us about the last Synod for Youth to which he was an active participant.  We also had an intervention by Fr. Cristian Bueno, the executive secretary of the Secretariat for Evangelization, who spoke to us about the plans and projections of the Commission for Youth, which is part of his Secretariat.  The General Secretariat of Formation believes in the importance of mutual collaboration between the different areas and offices of the Congregation, especially, besides the areas just mentioned, the Office of Communications and the Center for Spirituality.

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Ordination to Diaconate at Mt. St. Alphonsus, Bangalore


On 3rd November 2018, six Redemptorist Seminarians (Bro. Anantharaj, Bro. Deepak Bage, Bro. Thambi Joseph of the Province of Bangalore and Bro. Noel, Bro. Juvance and Bro. Agnelo of Vice-Province of Majella) were ordained as Deacons at Mt. St. Alphonsus, Bangalore. It was indeed a joyful occasion for the Province of Bangalore and the Vice-Province of Majella as these six Confreres accepted to embark on God’s mission here on earth. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by Most Rev. Peter Machado, the Archbishop of Bangalore and was concelebrated by many Redemptorist priests. Fr. Arulanandam, the Provincial Superior of the Province of Bangalore and Fr. Ivel Mendanha, the Vice-Provincial Superior of the Vice-Province of Majella were also present.

After the Gospel was proclaimed, the rite of ordination to Diaconate began. Fr. Xavier Sanjivi (Rector of Mt. St. Alphonsus Community) presented the 6 candidates to the Archbishop and recommended them to be ordained as Deacons after which the Archbishop preached a fitting homily on the duties of being a Deacon.

After the homily, the candidates committed themselves to celibacy, promised their obedience and declared their intention to undertake the office of Deacon. It was followed by the litany of saints. The Archbishop then laid his hands on each candidate in silence and then recited the prayer of consecration through which they were ordained as deacons. The six newly ordained deacons were then vested with a stole and dalmatic and were presented with the Book of the Gospels. The Archbishop then gave the deacons the kiss of peace. The liturgy then proceeded as usual. After the Eucharist, the 6 newly ordained deacons were felicitated at Mt. St. Alphonsus Refectory which was followed by agape.

We thank Almighty God for these six new deacons and pray that our Redeemer may help them to be faithful to what they have received and serve God by reaching out to the poor and the abandoned

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The 2nd issue of Spicilegium Historicum 2018 is published


Letter from the Superior General

With a letter published in this second issue of 2018 of Spicilegium Historicum, the Superior General, Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R. invites us to share the joy of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Redemptorist Historical Institute.

“Still alive, St. Alphonsus instructed some of his confreres to gather historical information on the life and work of some confreres who died in the name of holiness. In every way he encouraged and supported the research and study of history “, writes the superior general, not a reason for this important anniversary.

“Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Historical Institute entails for all of us, in this phase of restructuring and renewal that we are living, to dwell on two points: history is the teacher of life: no Redemptorist can do without the knowledge of our past; the invitation of Pope Francis: to look at the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope (Apostolic Letter to the Consecrated, 2014).

An important date for the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer that must consider history as the starting point of a long journey, in which the Holy Spirit has inspired ways and forms of actualization of a missionary charism at the service of the Church and of humanity.

Then we find the following articles:

El Instituto Histórico de la Congregación of the Santísimo Redentor, 70aniversario de su fundación, 1948-2018, CORDOBA CHAVEZ Alvaro, C.SS.R.

A review of moments in the genesis of the appearance of the Redemptorist Historical Institute, since 1948 when Leonardo Buijs, at that time superior general, had sensed that knowing more about the historical roots of the Congregation had to serve to build an identity in the mission of the sons of St. Alphonsus.  A historical step for the Redemptorists because, as the article well informs, the awareness of the importance among the institutions grows with the creation of: Historical Institute (1948), Alphonsian Academy (1949),  Spicilegium Historicum CSSR (1953) and Library of CSSR History.

WEISS Otto, Das Generalvikariat des Pater Joseph Amand Passerat (1772 – 1858)

An interesting presentation of the work done by the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Joseph-Amand Passerat, 1772-1858, France, as the Transalpine General Vicariate. From the moment of his ordination (April 15, 1797) he was in charge of the formation of the numerous candidates attracted by the Congregation. He earned the esteem of St. Clement, who described him as “a man of holiness and of high virtues”. After the death of St. Clement, in 1820, Father Passerat was appointed to succeed him as Vicar General over the Alps with residence in the new house of Maria am Gestade in Vienna. After long years of frustration, the Redemptorists under his guidance entered a period of expansion, with their eyes turned away to the United States. Due to the Austrian revolution in 1848 he was forced to leave Vienna and find refuge in Belgium.

A precise historical reflection of the relationship with Rudolf von Smetana, who as a consultant of Father Passerat managed to organize the Congregation.

PIKH Ruslan C.SS.R., “Whom did Belgium send us?” Father Joseph Schrijvers’Life until 1913

A brief biography of Father Joseph Schrijvers, underlining the religious character of his life. A contribution to the history of the Congregation recalling that Belgium has given to the history of the Congregation great figures in the field of the formation. Reading these lines means being part of the enthusiasm of some Redemptorists involved in the formation of the young generations of missionaries, even when the social and political situation does not help at all. “Belgium has given us a great man, with great spirituality”, concludes Pikh.

TORTORA Alfonso, From the art to the Alphonsian spirituality.

The curious relationship between “time” and holiness in the asceticism of Alphonsus de Liguori. The author prefers to invest a few pages to involve the reader in the concept of time and how they thought about it in the time of St. Alphonsus. To describe the idea about time in St. Alphonsus, one must remember the thematic set from which they generated the essential aspects of a new vision of time, which tended to bind itself to a modern European society.

BRESCIANI, Ernesto, C.SS.R., Chronicle of the miracles and graces granted to his devotees by Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

A list of as many as 54 wonderful works that are described after a premise on the religious environment that surrounds our current society. “The current eclipse and crisis of faith that crosses the contemporary mentality has not diminished the interest or curiosity towards” the miracle “… begins by writing Bresciani. “Miracle is a fact that is implemented above the laws of nature. It can not be done by man because it goes beyond his possibilities, but only from God “, says the author.

MAJORANO Sabatino, C.SS.R., Mary: the merciful gaze that welcomes and makes new.

A profound theological commentary on the theme of God’s mercy presented to readers by the reflection of the Mariology of St. Alphonsus. A new perspective in a brief treatise on the merciful gaze of Mary. “This is not just a coincidence of time. Between Alphonsus’s Mariology, his proposal for Christian life and his missionary project, there is a close link: they clarify and support each other, having in the mercy (copiosa redemptio) the fundamental nucleus and the essential key to reading.

MYKHAYLIUK Nazariya, OSB, The original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and its copies in the monasteries of the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Ukraine.

A nice article on the artistic analysis of the styles, iconographies and colours of the already famous Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Without wasting time on detailing the story, the author centres the study in the region of Ukraine. Collects many contributions and signals other icons that were at that time inviting to see and consider what it means to be in front of the icon.

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Intervention of Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R. in the Synod on Youth


Intervention on Paragraph 199 of the Instrumentum Laboris – Youth Protagonists Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., – Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

Holy Father, sisters and brothers in Christ,

I would like to make my intervention on paragraph 199 of the Instrumentum Laboris. In particular, I would like to speak about the conversion implicit in the passage from “pastoral care for young people” to “pastoral care and evangelizing mission with young people”. Much of what I had intended to say has already been said in the interventions yesterday. So, I will try to briefly emphasize the more important points.

This passage from pastoral care for, to pastoral care with young people is a process of growth and conversion which mutually engages both the adult pastoral ministers and the young people – not only the conversion of the young people, but also the conversion of the adult ministers – Bishops, priests, Sisters, Brothers, pastoral ministers.

From being the objects of pastoral care, the young people become the agents of mission and evangelization, together with the adult ministers – Bishops, priests, brothers, Sisters, lay ministers.

The first step begins with closeness to and effective pastoral care for young people – rooted in the reality and the values treated in the first three chapters of Part III: closeness to youth where they are found today, listening to their questions and concerns, welcoming, recognizing, and interpreting this experience through the lens of the Gospel.

The second step requires structures for pastoral care at the parish, Diocesan, and international level which create forums for dialogue, discernment and decision-making together – youth, young adults, pastoral ministers, and the community. These Structures include Youth Councils, and forums like the pre-Synod Meeting which trust that the Spirit is moving in the lives and experiences of the young people as well as the adults. These forums must provide the opportunity for frank discussion, where the young adults can face their real questions.

International meetings and structures introduce to one another young people and adults from different cultural contexts. This can stimulate creative and imaginative thinking so necessary in today’s world. Through this dialogue, the community can discern concrete initiatives in which all become co-responsible.

The third step moves from dialogue to action. This must begin with and involve social action and pastoral care with initiatives on behalf of justice, with migrants, and protection of the environment: the works of mercy which the Holy Father describes, directly serving and in solidarity with the poor and marginalized, which is at the heart of the Church’s mission.

Young people learn by doing as well as through dialogue. They must be engaged with the evangelizing mission through explicit proclamation of the word, volunteering, and works of justice. Youth are excellent evangelizers of their peers, other young women and men. But they are called to be part of the whole mission of evangelization of the Church – not just ‘youth to youth’, but youth to all.

They strengthen initiatives with groups like Caritas International, Habitat for Humanity, and ministry with migrants and refugees. It is essential that the preparation, arrangements and decisions are not only taken by the ‘elders’ but involve the youth as well.

First step: listening, welcoming and recognizing youth where they are. Second step: opening spaces and structures for pastoral care, which ensure dialogue, discernment and decision-making involving everyone. Third step: engaging in concrete initiatives for evangelizing activity, not just youth with and for youth, but youth and adults as missionary disciples together.

This process requires the creation of structures in parishes, in dioceses, in religious Congregations, and even international networks, to ensure stability and continuity. It also requires investment of money and people who are prepared and committed to this mission. Above all, it requires the interest and commitment of Bishops, Pastors, and Religious Congregations. I urge this Synod, especially through the small groups, to make concrete proposals for implementation in every diocese for the evangelizing mission of youth and adults together with the Bishops and Pastors.

Young people are excellent evangelizers. Consider how they have evangelized us in this Synod!

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St. Gerard, the miracle worker


October 16: Feast of St. Gerard Majella, CSsR

Of few Saints have there been so many wonderful events recorded as of St. Gerard. The process of his beatification and canonization reveals that his miracles were of the widest variety and profusion.

He frequently fell into ecstasy while meditating on God or His holy will and at such times his body was seen raised several feet above the ground. There are authentic records to prove that on more than one occasion he was granted the unusual miracle of being seen and spoken to in two places at the same time.

Most of his miracles were performed in the service of others. Such extraordinary happenings as the following begin to seem commonplace when one reads his life. He restored life to a boy who had fallen from a high cliff; he blessed the scanty supply of wheat belonging to a poor family and it lasted until the next harvest; several times he multiplied the bread that he was distributing to the poor. One day he walked across the water to lead to the safety of the shore a boatload of fishermen threatened by the stormy waves. Many times Gerard told people of secret sins on their souls which they had been ashamed to confess and brought them to penance and forgiveness.

His miraculous apostolate for mothers also began during his lifetime. Once, as he was leaving the home of his friends, the Pirofalo family, one of the daughters called after him that he had forgotten his handkerchief. In a moment of prophetic insight, Gerard said: “Keep it. It will be useful to you someday.” The handkerchief was treasured as a precious souvenir of Gerard. Years later the girl to whom he had given it was in danger of death in childbirth. She remembered the words of Gerard and called for the handkerchief. Almost immediately the danger passed and she delivered a healthy child. On another occasion, the prayers of Gerard were asked by a mother when both she and her unborn child were in danger. Both she and the child came through the ordeal safely.


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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


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