" 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

REMEMBERING THE 1980 ITALIAN EARTHQUAKE:

Materdomini, in southern Italy, was the birthplace of St. Gerard Majella our patron.

The Redemptorists have a basilica there dedicated to St. Gerard and his shrine is a popular place for pilgrimage.

30 years ago in November, Materdomini was struck by an earthquake.

Ninety interminable seconds.

It was Sunday, November 23, 1980.

At 19:34 a quake of magnitude 6.9 on the Richter scale devastated southern central Italy.

An earthquake of biblical proportions: 2,914 victims, 9,000 injured, 280,000 displaced persons.

 

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The photos tell the story of the destruction of the old Basilica of St. Gerard at Materdomini.

 

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Two days after the disaster, Pope John Paul II came to, Balvano (Potenza).

In this small area, the collapse of the church led to the deaths of 66 people, mostly children.

Time cannot erase the hurt of those who lost their children and loved ones.

But as Benedict XVI said to the survivors of the L'Aquila quake in 2009,

"we must commit to live again, tapping into what the earthquake cannot destroy: Love."

The church, monastery and St. Gerard’s shrine have been completely restored .

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The St. Gerard Family League is an association of Christians united in prayer for their own and other families, to preserve Christian values in their home and family life. It is an extension of the Redemptorist family and its apostolate.

St. Gerard Majella born in Muro, Italy in 1726 was a Redemptorist brother.

During his lifetime and after his death in 1755, God was pleased to work miracles through his intercession. St. Gerard is the patron of mothers and young children and has become well known as a constant help and inspiration to parents.

Membership of the League is open to all and a monthly Mass is offered for all members and their intentions.

If you wish to obtain further information or membership please click here to contact us.

Christmas Greeting from...

Our men at the Abbey, Birmingham, Frs Dickenson and Maguire C.Ss.R.,

send their best wishes and prayers to all!

In this photo they are joined by the Archbishop of Birmingham, Most Rev Bernard Longley.

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Our novice brothers send their festive wishes from further afield, Canada!

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A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM OUR SUPERIOR GENERAL

MICHAEL BREHL, C.Ss.R.

 

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ROME, Christmas 2010

 

Dear Confreres, Sisters, Associates and Friends,

Advent, the great season of longing and hope, is almost over. We are approaching the final days of preparation for the Feast of Christmas. For the past four weeks, the Scripture readings we have proclaimed in the liturgy have spoken to us of God’s vision for a world renewed. The desert blooms, the poor are fed in body and spirit, the blind see and the lame walk. We hear of light shining in the darkness, swords beaten into ploughs, and spears become tools for the harvest.

More than this, God dreams of a world in which no one prepares for war, but all are disarmed. God longs for a world in which people sit at table together and every tear is wiped away. God promises a world in which justice reigns and love unites people of every race, language, creed and way of life. The lion and the lamb will lie down together, with a little child to lead them. God speaks to the world in images and language and hope that moves the human heart.

Christmas celebrates the Incarnation, Emmanuel, “God-with-us”. God’s Word becomes flesh, becomes human. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in Verbum Domini: “The Word was ‘abbreviated’...the eternal word became small – small enough to fit into a manger. He became a child, so that the word could be grasped by us. Now the word is not simply audible; not only does it have a voice, now the word has a face, one which we can see: that of Jesus of Nazareth” (n. 12). These words of the Holy Father echo the meditations of St. Alphonsus on the mystery that we celebrate at Christmas.

 

When we contemplate the child of Bethlehem, we are invited to see the world as God sees the world, and to hope that God’s dream, longing and promise will be fulfilled. The birth of this child, like the birth of every child, is a powerful sign that God continues to hope, to dream, and to keep his promise of a world made new.

 

When we celebrate the birth of the child of Bethlehem, we begin to recognize that in Jesus, God experiences the world as we do. Jesus experienced hunger and cold, joy and family, pain and sorrow, success and failure. Jesus is moved with compassion for the abandoned and the poor because he has entered into their human experience in his own flesh. Compassion demands closeness. As Emmanuel, “God-with-us”, Jesus truly is the compassion of God made flesh.

The Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas is not just that the Word became flesh in the womb of Mary and entered human history in the person of Jesus Christ. We celebrate that this same Word of God becomes flesh today – in us and in the community. The Incarnate Word continues to act in human history here and now. By becoming our brother, Jesus bound us more intimately to the family of God – and so to one another. As the Word continues to take flesh in us, we recognize one another as brothers and sisters. This recognition changes everything!

For St. Alphonsus, it was this recognition that the abandoned and the poor are his brothers and sisters, which led to his dramatic conversion. Seeing the shepherds and goatherds in the hills above Scala, he was moved with compassion. Alphonsus responded, left Naples, and gave his life to bring plentiful redemption to the abandoned poor whom he embraced as sisters and brothers.

The mystery of Christmas teaches us that compassion is not pity that looks down on those in need from a position of strength and superiority. Rather, compassion is the recognition of our mutual vulnerability that responds through love in concrete situations. God responds through the Incarnation: Jesus embraces our humanity and mutual vulnerability and brings Good News to the poor. I believe that this is why devotion to the Infant Jesus was so important for Alphonsus. In the Babe of Bethlehem, he recognized the vulnerability of God who shares our humanity in order to redeem us. Following Jesus, and embracing our shared vulnerability with him, we are also called “to evangelize and be evangelized by the poor”. As Constitution 19 reminds us, “whoever follows Christ, the perfect human being, becomes more human”. In this spirit, we will seek and find new ways to bring Good News to the abandoned and the poor.

Every Christmas, God invites us to dream, to hope, and to see the world through the eyes of the Redeemer. Through this celebration of Christmas, may God renew our hope and our hearts, and fill us with joy so that we may preach the Gospel ever anew!

 

Wishing you a Joyful Christmas and every blessing in the New Year,

 

Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.

Superior General

 

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4th Sunday of Advent

 

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

                     and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means

"God - is - with - us".

Alleluia!

sseelosADVANCEMENT IN THE SEELOS

CANONIZATION CAUSE

 

New Orleans: The official Diocesan Inquiry into an alleged extraordinary healing through the intercession of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos C.Ss.R., has been finalized.  Most Reverend Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, had convoked the Diocesan Inquiry Phase in May, 2009, and his Inquiry Panel members exercised the greatest diligence in gathering the necessary proofs and extensive documentation.

 

The fact-finding Inquiry Panel investigated the case and heard the testimony of Mary Ellen Heibel, her primary physician and nurse, and other key witnesses, concerning Heibel’s cure of metastasized esophageal cancer.  Heibel, a devout Catholic and parishioner of Saint Mary’s Church in Annapolis, Maryland, had  been cancer-free since January 2005, even though the disease had spread to her liver, lungs, back and sternum, and medical treatment had failed.  The cancer disappeared one week after she helped begin a weekly Seelos novena in her parish.

 

On October 11, 2010, the Redemptorist Postulator General, Reverend Antonio Marrazzo, submitted the results of this investigation to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican.  With the Diocesan Phase of the canonization process now complete, Marrazzo’s formal petition for the Decree of Unsealing the Acts effectively begins the Roman Phase.

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At some point in the near future, the case will undergo proper scrutiny by Vatican authorities who will determine if the cure meets the criteria for the one miracle needed in Seelos’ canonization.

 

Redemptorist Father Francis Xavier Seelos (1819-1867) was beatified at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome in the solemn Jubilee Year 2000.   He was a man of joy and deep prayer, whose kindness and zeal attracted many people to the sacraments.  Known to many as a powerful intercessor, his sacred remains are located at the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos in New Orleans, Louisiana.  

 

You are kindly urged to pray for his canonization.

New wave of harassments against Redemptorists in Vietnam

December 15, 2010 at 12:59am

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Local authority summoned the Redemptorist Provincial Superior of Vietnam after repeat raids on the monastery’'s church.

The preparation for Christmas at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Saigon has been interrupted with repeat raids of local officials who have been insisting that Redemptorists who are in charge of the church must remove from their bulletin board allegedly anti-regime articles, and stop delivering homilies calling for justice.

In a letter dated Dec. 13 sent to all Redemptorists, Fr. Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, Chief of the Secretariat of the Redemptorist Province of Vietnam, reported that on two successive days of Dec. 8 and 9, local officials had raided the church, the second largest one in Saigon. The next day, local government of the third district of Ho Chi Minh city summoned Fr. Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, the provincial superior.

At the meeting, representatives of state administration for religious affairs and local officials took turn to spell out "unjust accusations against Saigon's Redemptorists of being 'instigators of disorder''," wrote Fr. Joseph Dinh.

They charged that the provincial superior himself was liable for "homilies of Redemptorists and articles posted on bulletin board relating to land disputes at Hanoi nunciature, Thai Ha; waves of persecution at Tam Toa, Con Dau, Dong Chiem... and the government plan to mine bauxite deposits in Vietnam's Central Highlands". From the government's point of view, they are "non-religious issues" that priests are not allowed to mention without being charged with conducting anti-government activities.

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Fr.Vincent Pham rejected all accusations saying that his orders have worked for the good of the people, praying and living in service to the Gospel, and calling for the reconciliation among sections in the society, and the respect of justice and truth.

In response to his refutation, the chairwoman of the district promised "more raids" on the church in next days.

The Redemptorist Province in Vietnam is the largest in Asia. Over the past twenty years, the Province has grown: in 1983, there were 179 professed brothers, while today there are 278, including 168 priests who live in about 20 houses scattered throughout the country, in North, Central, and South Vietnam. There are also 222 postulants. The growth of vocations represents a great hope for the entire Church in Vietnam.

There has been a general crackdown on dissent in Vietnam ahead of the ruling Communist Party congress early next year. Prominent lawyers, journalists and activists have been arrested and jailed in recent months, while others remain under government surveillance. In that context, the wave of harassments against Redemptorists in Vietnam may be a harbinger for imminent crackdowns

As we celebrate in peace...bashar-warda

let us remember our brothers and sisters...

...IRAQI CHRISTIANS HEADING TO CHURCH BEHIND WALLS...

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, the faithful in Iraq hope to be able to attend Christmas Mass in safety.

An Iraqi Redemptorist, recently appointed Archbishop of Erbil, talks about the government's plan to build concrete walls around churches in Baghdad and Mosul to protect churchgoers:

The sadness of the people is everywhere. Uncertainty is everywhere. The question on everyone’s lips is ‘What’s next?’” Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil told the charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Dublin Prioress visits the Sisters in the new home...

The Prioress of the Dublin Monastery of our sisters made a special visit on our sisters in their new home in another part of Liverpool...

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Here is a picture of the house which is home to two of the sisters...

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The sisters have been at their new place a few months now, and they are loving it...

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Here they are - Sr. Gabrielle (Dublin), Sr. M Bernadette, Sr. M Patrick and Sr. Anne Joseph...

There is one sisters missing from this picture and that is Sr. M Clement O.Ss.R.

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Sr Gabrielle getting a warm welcome from Sr Anne Joseph O.Ss.R.

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Check out the Dublin Redemptoristines Web-site.

Br. Michael Duxbury C.Ss.R - My Vineyard

phoca_thumb_l_redentore_253_framed03When I was asked to write an article sharing my vocation story and experiences, I knew that I would have a problem knowing at what stage in my past I should begin my story.

From leaving school in the late sixties until joining the Redemptorists almost 20 years ago, I had a number of ‘fresh starts’ in life, be it changing job, moving around the country and even travelling to the other side of the world to widen my horizons.

Whilst working in the hotel and brewery trade, I had the opportunity to visit a Redemptorist church, which I continued to do on regular occasions. This usually happened at quiet times during the week, when on many occasions I was the only person in the church, apart from a Redemptorist Brother who would make an appearance during my visits and share a few words.

This man was to have a quiet, yet major impact on my future.

Even though we exchanged only a few words, being in his presence and watching his actions of praying and performing his duties seemed to say so much to me, and after much thought and soul searching, I eventually came to the conclusion that maybe this was some kind of message, and it was time for yet another fresh start.

That decision became the turning point in my life, as the time had come for me to walk alongside him in the Lord’s Vineyard.

There then followed my application to join the Redemptorists, which brought with it some degree of apprehension and a touch of uncertainty.

My first two years were spent in the Postulancy and the novitiate, followed by a further four years in the studentate, which gave me the opportunity to work closely for one of those years, with the people of Zimbabwe, which was an amazing and eye opening experience for me.

At present my vineyard is totally different, as I work as a chaplain in one of Her Majesty’s Prisons – an area in which I have been involved since the studentate. Prison ministry is very much part of the Redemptorist’s charism, in that we work amongst the poor and abandoned.

The Redemptorists, along with some other missionary orders, by virtue of their membership, have in a sense, a passport in which they enter into people’s homes by first introducing themselves and inviting them to their Parish mission. Likewise, I too have a passport in which to enter prisoner’s homes (their cells), by firstly introducing myself and inviting them to celebrate the Eucharist with fellow inmates.

My role as a prison chaplain is ultimately connected with meeting people, which can often involve making contact with one of them on an unstructured basis, but with a readiness to respond to their needs, as they arise.

phoca_thumb_m_middlesbroughchapelOne characteristic of offenders, and often a reason for their personal difficulties, is their tendency to act on impulse. I think of them as ‘immediate people’, and feel they have been ‘caught in the instance’. Over the years I have formed many relationships, with people such as these, and the ‘loiterers with intent’ model of ministry is a quite appropriate one in dealing with this kind of situation.

Working in my vineyard, I am called to learn from them. What effect impoverishment can have on the human spirit. Hopefully discover insights, listen to their stories, share with them and suggest solutions and a way forward to their problems, and help them find a path to a positive and different future.

My position as chaplain can be at times a demanding mixture of tenseness, sadness and concern, but at the same time, my life and being part of the Redemptorists is fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding.

For me, my vineyard is sharing the good news, knowing that the risen Lord, who entered the upper room through closed doors, enters also the prisons of the world, bringing a peace and serenity only he can give.

Michael Duxbury, CSsR. Middlesbrough

Welcome Home Bishop Ralph...

When Bishop Ralph was appointed bishop, his community was in the Bishop Eton Monastery, Liverpool.

Recently he went back for the first time as a bishop.

The confreres and the people of the parish were delighted to welcome him home.

A special mass was celebrated followed by a meal in the parish hall.

Below there is a selection of photos from the mass...

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GAUDETE SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Rejoice Sunday of Advent...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick's in Edinburgh had a proper celebration of Gaudete Sunday...

 

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Kinnoull Monastery says "Goodbye to Sr Eileen…"

 

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Since April Sr Eileen Cummins OLA (Our Lady of Apostles) has been in the community in Kinnoull, being a person of welcome and hospitality to the people who come in our doors.

 

She has been an invaluable member of our community, and so it was with great sadness that the community said goodbye as she returns to her own province to take up pressing needs there.

 

Prior to coming to Kinnoull Sr Eileen held the office of Superior General of the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles in Rome.

 

The Kinnoull community gives thanks to God for the wonderful gift that Sr. Eileen has been these past nine months!

 

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Some of the community and Sr Eileen

- we wish you God Speed!

Redemptorist Publication - Advent Reflections...

Spend five minutes with the Lord each day of Advent by reading or listening to our reflection at

www.rpbooks.co.uk 

 

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5th December, 2010

Dear Confreres and Friends,

 

Greetings from a snowbound Kinnoull where there has been almost no post for the past 5 days. So I have no idea when this letter will reach you. The stillness which the snow brings also enhances the spirit of Advent and has brought a quality of quietness to this part of Scotland.

I have just returned from Toronto where I preached a retreat to the Novices. There were nine on the retreat – Gerry, Charles and Peter – and the six others, one from Vietnam, one from Mexico, one from Dominica, one from St. Lucia , one from US and the other also from US but born of parents from Kerala, India. So it was a diverse group; and a very blessed time. Our men continue their discernment and their struggle to see what God is asking of them. They are in good spirits and send best wishes to all for Christmas.

This will be the final Provincial letter of the triennium and so it is a good opportunity for me to express a word of gratitude. I shall of course expand on this in my report to the Chapter which will be available for all the members of the Province. However, as the triennium draws to its conclusion I would like to publicly thank Frs Gerry and Maurice who have been marvellous and supportive counsellors.  Their patience and joint wisdom has been a source of great benefit for the OPC. I thank also the members of the EPC and the Kinnoull community who have put up with my comings and goings, and who always made me feel very much a part of the community. I thank our co-workers in the Province, particularly Tony Barrance; and of course I thank all of you, the confreres, who have shown me such kindness during these past three years. I am truly grateful for your understanding.

Last month we had both OPC and EPC meetings, and on 8th December we have an extraordinary EPC meeting. We also have a RPTC meeting planned for 9th.

May I wish everyone a blessed feast of the Immaculate Conception, our patronal feast.

During November our two Redemptoristine Sisters, Bernadette and Patrick moved from the Monastery in Gilmoss to Nazareth House, Crosby to join Sisters Clement and Mary Anne Joseph. Srs. Bernadette and Patrick are living in a small apartment adjoining the Care Home and join the Nazareth Sisters for lunch each day. These past months have been difficult for them in the large building, and they are very relieved to have made the move and join their other two Sisters. Their address is Redemptoristine Sisters, Nazareth House, Liverpool Road, Crosby, Liverpool. L23 0QT (Tel. 0151 928 8215). The four Sisters will continue their life of prayer and intercession in Crosby. The Province continues to be immensely grateful to the Sisters who have prayed for us unceasingly since the Order first arrived in Clapham in 1897.

Today I received the news that Fr. M Kelleher has been re-elected as Provincial of the Dublin Province, and I have written to Michael to congratulate him on behalf of the Province. The Dublin Province elects the other member of the Councils at their Chapter in January.

Birthdays. This month Brother Malachy has already celebrated his 85th birthday on 3rd – the same day as he entered the Congregation 55 years ago. Congratulations to Br. Malachy who, as I write, is outside shovelling snow! Also we congratulate Br. Glynn Blackman on 8th, Fr. Tony Johnson on 16th and Fr. Jimmy Smale on 23rd.

As the year draws to an end, may I wish everyone a very blessed Christmas, and every happiness in 2011. This is my first Christmas in the Province since 1989, and my first in Scotland since 1975.

Our confreres in Zimbabwe are well; and we look forward to welcoming to the Province  those who will attend the Chapter, and send best wishes to all who live and work in the Region. Since Fr. Richard now puts this letter on our web site, I also wish our families, friends and co-workers every blessing at this holy season.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

 

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The Redemptorists wish you all a day of joy and blessing

as we celebrate

the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin.

Under this title, Our Mother is the Official Patroness of our Congregation!