Year for the Promotion of the Redemptorist Vocation
Dear Confreres, Sisters and Associates,
“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:15). With these words, taken from the Gospel passage for today’s feast, the Risen Jesus sends his disciples to continue the mission entrusted to him by the Father. Jesus continues to call men and women today, and to send them forth as he sent the first disciples.
We know that “the vitality with which the Congregation pursues its apostolic mission depends on the number and quality of the candidates who seek admission to the Redemptorist community” (Const. 79). Such a candidate must be shaped and formed by the Missionary vision of the Congregation. “He will know that he belongs to and willingly participates in the mission of a world-wide Congregation that takes seriously the challenge of being alert to the signs of the times, and making vital apostolic decisions that respond ever anew to our call to mission” (Decisions of the XXIV General Chapter, 6.17).
The Canonical Visits of the General Government have highlighted the challenges and difficulties presented by vocation ministry and promotion today. In each Conference, we realize that the Units must focus attention on this essential dimension of our Mission and determine concrete steps and actions to realize this important ministry.
In March, 2013, the General Secretariat for Formation made the formal proposal to the General Government that it establish a year to promote our missionary vocation. The General Secretariat for Formation further proposed that the beginning of this year coincide with the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro (July 23 – 28, 2013). The General Government accepted this proposal and declares that the whole Congregation will celebrate the ‘Year for the Promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation’ beginning on the Feast of St. Alphonsus, August 1, 2013 and continuing until the Foundation Day of the Congregation on November 9, 2014. The proclamation of this year will take place at the Alphonsian Day in Aparecida on July 22, 2013. The official inauguration will be celebrated on August 1, 2013 at St. Alphonsus Church in Rio de Janeiro.
I am writing you now to invite every Province, Vice-Province, Region, Mission and Community in the Congregation to begin thinking of how to celebrate this year. I recommend that we begin with the promotion of our Mission. We are Redemptorist Missionaries: priests, brothers, sisters, and lay men and women who are sent to preach the Gospel ever anew. Above all, we are sent to the abandoned and the poor. Second, each Unit should explore concrete steps that it can implement to develop its vocation ministry. This involves the promotion of our missionary vocation, as well as accompanying candidates. Third, each community should consider some specific ways in which it can celebrate the Redemptorist Missionary vocation.
During this special Year for the Promotion of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation, the General Government will send further reflections to help us realize the objectives of this celebration. I have asked the General Secretariat for Formation to offer resources to assist our reflection together. I also invite every Unit to share the concrete initiatives it plans to take with the whole Congregation so that we can both support and learn from one another.
“It is the Spirit of Christ himself who raises up missionaries in the Church. But ordinarily he makes use of human contacts and relationships to make Christ’s invitation known to his apostles” (Const. 80). May the Holy Spirit guide our efforts and our initiatives. We entrust this special year to the care of Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help. Her “yes” to God continues to resonate in the hearts of all Redemptorist missionaries. St. Alphonsus recognized Mary as the missionary par excellence who accompanies us in all our ministry.
May St. Alphonsus, all our Saints and Blesseds, and Redemptorist Missionaries from every age accompany and inspire us as we live our missionary vocation and preach the Gospel ever anew.
Your brother in the Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.
Roma, April 25, 2013
Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist
Lord Jesus, out of love for all, you have called us to continue your redeeming mission in the world. O Father, blessed be your name forever!
With humble heart and open hands before you, we give you thanks for the gift of life, and above all, for our baptismal vocation which calls us to live as your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, with freedom and confidence, we ask you, our Redeemer: make us strong in faith, so that we can witness to everyone that you are the center of our lives.
May we always live in joyful hope in order to announce that Redemption is plentiful for all, especially for the most abandoned, the poor.
May we be untiring in love, so that we serve all with a generous and creative heart.
Give us also a sincere humility which makes us conscious that we need you always, and that we can do nothing without you.
May this Year of the Redemptorist Missionary Vocation wake us up to your call, Lord, above all to that which promotes the dignity of human life, especially for young people, so that we may be authentic Redemptorist Missionaries: witnesses and missionaries of the great work of Redemption.
May St. Alphonsus and Our Mother of Perpetual Help accompany us and keep us always faithful to the MISSION.
Vocation for mission is a tree which finds its roots and foundation only in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jn. 14:6. Hence the roots and the trunk of the tree are the Cross of Christ, symbol of his Redemptive love for all humanity.
The leaves, the crown of the tree, resemble the handprints of man. They symbolize all peoples, all races of the world, engaged in collaborative work in response to that call of Christ to make known the Gospel. “Go out to the world; proclaim the good News to all creation” Mk. 15:16. The mission of Christ is for the whole world.
At the foot of the tree, are three mounts (patterned from CSsR logo) representing the three major regions of the Philippines. While missionaries may come from a specific country (in our context, the Philippines) the fruit of their labor surpasses boundaries, culture and time.
Thus, the Redemptorists in the Philippines (Cebu Province) strive to proclaim Christ’s plentiful redemption especially to the poor and most abandoned.