" Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart? "
St. Gerard Majella C.Ss.R
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News and Events

News and Events... Updated regularly

The New CSsR General Government...

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The General Chapter, now that Fr. Michael Brehl has been elected Superior General, today took on the responsibility of electing the members of the General Council. Six Consultors must be elected, taking into account the geographic reality of the world-wide Congregation.

Celebrating the Anniversary of the Founding of the Redemptorists in Kinnoull

Article by Fr. Peter Morris C.Ss.R

 

The Redemptorist community in Kinnoull, Perth, celebrated the 284th Anniversary of the founding of the Congregation with a special ceremony during Mass on Wednesday 9th November, 2016.

 

Mike Brehl

 

Before he was re-elected by the capitulars of the General Chapter in Thailand, Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., sent a letter to the Redemptorists throughout the world which included an invitation to the confreres in these words:

 

“On November 9, I invite all of you to renew your missionary dedication.  I encourage you to read and pray Constitution 20, in community where possible, and to allow these words to penetrate your very heart.”

 

Upcoming Mission in Rednal

Click on the image below for the full mission schedule

Rednal

Pope Blesses CSsR General Chapter...

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To Reverend Michael Brehl, CSsR

Superior General

Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to be informed of the twenty-fifth General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, to be held in Pattaya, Thailand, from 31st October to 26 November 2016. He assures you and your confreres of his Spiritual closeness as you gather for the election of the Superior General and General Consultors. His Holiness is confident that you and all the participants of the Chapter will find renewed inspiration in the charism of the Congregation and truly experience the freshness of the Gospel, from which “new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for todays world” (Evangelii Gaudium 11). Commending your gathering to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, Pope Francis willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord Jesus.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State

 

Anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, letter from Father Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., Superior General...

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Pattaya, November 8, 2016

Prot. N° 0000 155/2016

Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Missionaries and Associates, and friends:

Tomorrow we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1732 in Scala. This year as we remember our Foundation Day, the Congregation is assembled in the Canonical Phase of the XXV General Chapter in Pattaya, Thailand. This is a unique opportunity for us as a whole Congregation to joyfully celebrate the great gift of our Redemptorist Missionary Vocation:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19).

“Jesus began by saying to them, ‘Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing’.”(Luke 4:21).

St. Alphonsus believed that he was called to “follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the Word of God to the poor” (Const. 1). Priest and Brother, Sister and lay associate, we are all called and sent as missionaries. Filled with the Holy Spirit, accompanied by Mary, the Perpetual Help of God’s people (Const. 32), as genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus, we follow the Redeemer with hearts full of joy. This is our feast! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

On November 9, I invite all of you to renew your missionary dedication. I encourage you to read and pray Constitution 20, in community where possible, and to allow these words to penetrate your very heart.

A pastor with the spirit of willing obedience...

superior general current and emeritus

Today, 7th November, at the end of our working day, our Superior General Fr. Michael Brehl informed us that at noon today the Vatican announced that Archbishop Joseph Tobin had been transferred from the See of Indianapolis to the See of Newark, New Jersey. He asked us to pray for Archbishop Tobin in a special way.

I recall clearly when the Archbishop was first moved from his position as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life, he was interviewed on television and asked if he felt happy to be returning ‘home’ to USA. He gave a very spiritual response. He said “I did not ask to leave Rome. I did not ask to move. I go willingly at the service of the Holy Father who has appointed me to Indianapolis”.

CSsR Vocations Weekend this month...

Come along -
meet our brothers -
ask those questions -
spend time in prayer -
and have fun!

vocations weekend clapham

Upcoming Mission in York

Click on the image below for the full mission schedule

York 1

Fr Ronnie McAinsh CSsR reflects on the Retreat...

 

 

Day 4 General Chapter CSsR - Retreat Day 2

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Cardinal Tagle completed the retreat day for us with an ‘open mic’ session in the afternoon. He fielded a number of questions and concerns about religious life today such as how to deal with flagging zeal (e.g., getting into a comfort zone that is less than fully committed to the mission to the poor) or with the pressures on us to be careful of what we say lest their be consequences, for us and sometimes for our people. Cardinal Tagle offered the wisdom of his experience about leading through listening, through dialogue, and through service.

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The concluding Eucharist, however, was for me the hi-light of the retreat day. We celebrated the Solemn Mass of the Most Holy Redeemer; we celebrated primarily in Spanish (although six different languages were used in various places). And we celebrated with the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help set in front of the altar. Then we heard a wonderful homily from the Cardinal. Speaking from the first reading (Paul’s letter to the Romans about sin and the law and salvation) he noted the phrase, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.” This, he noted, is the Gospel; it is God’s way of challenging and overcoming sin.

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So, he concluded, are we not obliged to do the same? From his time as a formator in the seminary he used the example of dealing with difficult seminarians. Following the advice of a wise priest, he learned to respond to these young men with love and trust, rather than judgment and condemnation. And he pointed out how d i f f i c u l t (he did stress the word!) this was for him. But it is what God does and what God asks of us, to be grace in the face of sin and failure! And perhaps, down the road, we will be graced to see the fruit that this bears!

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These have been two days of prayer and reflection. The Chapter delegates have also talked and shared with each other insights and moments of excitement from Cardinal Tagli’s presentations and reflections. They have been a good reminder that we are now to walk with the Living God, with the Holy Spirit, as we deal with the mundane and profound issues of the Congregation.

Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR

“Leaders make the future”: Cardinal Tagle...

On this second day of retreat, Morning Prayer was led by the Liturgy Commission.

Cardinal Tagle then began his third input.

His theme was Visionary and Effective Leadership for Mission.

Since the talks of the Cardinal are available online, only the main points will be outlined.

The Cardinal reminded us that our leadership goes beyond management and administration. Good administrators are not always good leaders.

Most manuals on leadership come from the business world, and we can learn from this.

One author asks the question “Can you truly become a leader from a seminar or a classroom?”

Moving to another author Bob Johansen whose book “Leaders make the future”, the Cardinal echoed what he took from this author.

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This reality will only increase and spread. And the danger is that we will get seminarians who are products of VUCA.

The first action of a leader must make us listen to the voice of VUCA. In such an atmosphere a true leader can emerge.

The challenge is to move from:

Volatility to Vision
Uncertainty to Understanding
Complexity to Clarity
Ambivalence to Agility.

One needs to listen to effect this transformative change.

Solidarity means profound listening. Changing means being fluid and humble.

Humility leads to empathy.

30660762551_9a29b70eb7_kThe Cardinal gave a example of a refugee mother whose cry was “What future is there for my children” – and in Asia, the highest suicide rate exists in the richest countries.

We need to distinguish between real problems and other things. Many leaders look at everything as problems. And so many leaders become problem solvers.

Often what we regard as problems are in fact dilemmas. Dilemmas are problems that will not go away.

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Is Maria a problem – or rather a dilemma? Are your members problems or dilemmas?

With problems you have to find solutions. For dilemmas you have to tell stories. The leader of today must be a story teller and not just a problem solver. This is how we show solidarity with the poor. It is their story that we tell.

He then moved on to Church leadership and again referred to a contemporary author.

A leader must pay attention to:

1. Vision
What does God want us to become now? Vision comes from prayer and discernment. So the community becomes vision-led rather than person-led. (For example, a new parish priest might set out to delete the memory of the former one).

The Vision that galvanises a community:

Vision should excite a community? It should empower community.

Vision gives us criteria for evaluating our mission and community life.

Vision lifts our eyes.

2. Culture.

A leader must know the culture of his community and cultures in which he lives.
Who are the gossips in community? It is important to identify them. Who are the whisperers? The power behind the throne.

3. Team formation.

A leader must exercise relational authority – not just juridical or canonical norms – an authority based on the Vision.

4. Integrity.

This embodies the vision of the organisation in its very person. This brings authenticity. This leadership is also important in family life. Even parents can fail because of lack of integrity.

3. Jesus
Roles: shepherd/king/prophet/servant. Not simply leader in secular sense.

We exercise leadership by becoming servant.

Jesus understood himself as a missionary.

Jesus sees himself as the one sent by the Father. He was consumed by this. He knew he would suffer and die. ‘Save me from this hour’. ‘ Now this is the hour. Father glorify your name’

To glorify the Father.
Today’s leaders are often attached to ambition. Ambitious people never serve. They seek self glorification.

NB. The self identity of Jesus. Even at the hour of his death he could say “I will glorify the Father”.
Jesus trusted his disciples

They were aware that as a rabbi Jesus was quite different from others. Jesus chose his ‘students’.

He chose the students by calling those who would give his school a very bad name.

Jesus asks “what do others say of me…..”
Peter’s answer is a litany of possibilities.
And Jesus’ response is “You are Peter.. ”
And the dialogue continues with eventually Peter ending with 3 names: Simon:Peter:Satan

And then he sends them out giving them authority over unclean spirits.

He gives them real authority – a simple authority that changes things.

Pride destroys leaders
Pride destroyed mission
Pride destroys community.

The cardinal concluded by asking us to assume real authority.

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30748811835_ffa187b1b8_kLater in the morning we gathered in the chapel for a 50 minute prayer service in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.SS.R.

The Provincial writes for November 2016...

provincialsletterhead

28th October, 2016

Dear Confreres and friends,

 

As you will be aware, our General Chapter begins at the end of this month and I know that the communities have been praying that the Holy Spirit will be with the capitulars as we review the past sexennium, plan and discern for the future and elect a new General Government. I will try and keep you updated with key moments from the Chapter.

 

As is my custom, I also remind you of the importance of observing the suffrages for our beloved dead. The four Masses that the communities should celebrate in November are: the deceased members of the Province and Region, all deceased Redemptorists, our deceased benefactors, our deceased parents and relatives. This is one way of expressing our deep gratitude for the amazing mission carried out by those on whose shoulders we continue to build and spread the gospel.

 

You will have seen from our web page that Br. Massimiliano Mura wrote an icon of Blessed Maria Celeste Crostorosa for the Clapham community. It was good to have Max with us, and I look forward to continuing our cooperation as he is translating at the General Chapter.

Morning Prayer and Talk by Cardinal Tagle...

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Well worth a watch! Thank you Cardinal Tagle!

Day 3 of the General Chapter – Retreat Day 1 – Nov. 2, 2016...


Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagli, the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila in the Phlippines, continued our retreat day with a second reflection in the afternoon. He focused our attention on solidarity in community life, especially for consecrated religious. He reminded us to pay attention to the cultural context in which each of us lives.

He began by pointing out that every community is composed of individuals who come from different cultures, i.e., with different expectations, different ways of doing things, different emotional responses. When a religious community comes together—which is God’s work in choosing these individuals to live together—attentiveness to the uniqueness of each person is important so that a common direction can then be chosen without running roughshod over individuals. Respectful dialogue and, especially, listening become critical to building a community that is a prophetic witness to respect and solidarity or communion of persons precisely in the care of community members for each other.

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Next, Cardinal Tagli pointed out two aspects of modern culture which infect each of us in almost unconscious ways. We live in what he called a culture of ‘alienating individualism’ which so readily sacrifices community for personal desires or self-fulfillment. And, secondly, as Pope Francis has pointed out, we live in a throw-away culture that is all too ready to move on to the newest item instead of valuing the gifts we already have. And, unfortunately, as we throw away things we also often ‘throw away’ people, such as migrants or the poor or the handicapped.

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Both of these cultural realities make true community, which is based upon receiving the gifts offered by God and others, a challenge today. But not an impossibility! Knowing Jesus and his intimacy with the Father and the Spirit is the basis for prophetic community, where intimacy is not a cloying sentimentality but a true respect for the gift of one another and the call to solidarity and harmony for the sake of the mission.

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The retreat day concluded with a Holy Hour of prayer in the beautiful retreat chapel, built in accord with Thai architecture, symbols, and art.


The day of prayer has been a great reminder that we are here to do God’s work, not to be good administrators and get through the work of a Chapter. Thus, the opportunity for Chapter delegates to listen to God in contemplative prayer and in dialogue with one another could not have come at a better time.

Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR

Day 3 CSsR General Chapter - Retreat Day...

 

“Indeed only a wounded faith is credible; and we are invited to put our hand into the wounded side of the poor”: Cardinal Tagle


The day began with Office for the dead since it is All Souls’ Day . It was led by the liturgy commission.

Afterwards Fr. General introduced Cardinal Luis Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines.

Cardinal Tagle will be leading us for the next two days of recollection.

He wished to speak today today about solidarity in the sense of the reality of true communion: communion with Christ and communion with the poor.

He spoke of the grace of this Year of Jubilee of Mercy and of the emphasis on solidarity with the poor. He also emphasised the mercy of God as manifest in tenderness, adding that the first victims of a lack of tenderness are always the poor.

gf8a3147The cardinal then spoke of the instinctive attachment of a mother to a child as being a metaphor of God’s love for us. We need to build on this by thinking of others as my brother or my sister – no one is separate from me.

He then referred to the parable of the Good Samaritan and spoke about the Levite who was an expert on law and Who wanted to use it to limit the definition of “who is my neighbour”. Anyone, indeed even the outsider is a neighbour.

Because the person lying by the side of the road might ha e been dead, the Levite was afraid of becoming ritually impure but the Samaritan lifted him up. So our sense of communion cannot be limited by ethnic surroundings. Even the enemy is my child.

Likewise in the parable of the lost son, we should remember that there was a lost brother also.

3y0a0825The cardinal reminded us that the poor are not a category but are human beings who are part if us. They endure the wounds of thirst and injustice as well as the wounds of infidelity in family life which causes each member of the family to be wounded.

Individualism also wounds charity and limits communion. So often we see migrants and refugees blamed for the social and economic problems of our world.

Wounds call for healing and we must be agents of healing. Remember the appearance of Jesus after the resurrection when he invites Thomas to put his hand inside of him, inside his side. This is solidarity and communion.

3y0a0868Wounds remain wounds and our world is full of wounds. Indeed only a wounded faith is credible; and we are invited to put our hand into the wounded side of the poor.

When we deny wounds, we deny our mortality and so we distance ourself from others. In fact if we deny death, we inflict death. If I cannot feel pain then I kill my capacity for love.

The cardinal ended with a very moving story of a lady who was a refugee and felt she was was totally alone until she realised that she was not the only one who was crying. Only then she felt solidarity and communion.

The Cardinal also led our common celebration of the Eucharist for our beloved dead and for those who have no one to pray for them.

He again spoke of solidarity and the communion of saints. He stated that sickness is a foretaste of death. Sickness can isolate you and so increase the fear of death. Through life comes in our communion with death.

The parish in which the members do not communicate is a dead parish. Our God is a God of life. He refuses to leave us alone. We die to relationships because of our sins – but Jesus refuses to leave us and in fact died for us and leads us back to God.

When we die many things die…. relationships and rituals. Jesus will not allow anyone to die. He entered death and therefore death is no longer isolation – but communion with Jesus.

Therefore we go to the isolated in communion with him and offer life.

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.SS.R.

Day 2 of the General Chapter – Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016...

The dialogue begins!
Following the morning presentation, his Report on the State of the Congregation by Fr. General, Michael Brehl, and the reactions/discussion in small groups, the General Chapter delegates entered fully into the process of sharing with and listening to one another. In the afternoon the summaries of the small group discussions were presented. Then the floor was opened during a plenary in which anyone could speak, in particular to the issues raised by Fr. General and the small groups.

I confess that I sat in some astonishment at the collegial atmosphere of respect and trust among the confreres. Some harsh truths were aired but, more importantly, the challenge of a General Chapter—to assess the situation of the Congregation throughout the world and to seek ways to be more faithful to our charism and mission—opened the door to a rich dialogue around hopes, concerns, excitement, fears, and possibilities.

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Issues were raised concerning how to put the Mission front and centre in our lives—the Redemptorist mission to the most abandoned and the poor—and what that means for all the different cultural situations in which we find ourselves. There was considerable discussion about formation, both for students becoming Redemptorists and for Redemptorists constantly updating themselves. There was much discussion about strengthening the commitment to mission by re-structuring units for greater efficiency and dedication. There were questions about community life and how it is meant to support the Mission. And much more.

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And we concluded with a beautiful, concise response from Fr. Brehl about the clear demands of our Constitutions and Statutes to live in apostolic communities—giving witness to the community of the Father, Son & Spirit and their desire to be in communion with humanity—for the sake of the Mission, for the sake of the poor and most abandoned. This is our foundation. The rest of the Chapter will deal with the details of living this commitment with renewed hearts.

Fr. Mark Miller, CSsR