" 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

14th January - Feast Day

Blessed Peter Donders

dondersiconMissionary extraordinaire

In many ways, Peter Donders was ahead of his time. He was the kind of person who could pull into action the resources of the state in order to support those most in need. This is exactly what he did on behalf of the Batavian lepers among whom he lived and worked.

 Peter was sent to Batavia in 1856. There he would spend most of the next 31 years.

When he arrived at the leper colony, Peter Donders had been ordained 15 years, but he was not as yet a Redemptorist. It was ten years later in 1866 that the Redemptorists first arrived to co-ordinate the mission in Surinam. Only then did Fr Donders and one of his fellow priests apply for admission to the congregation.

The two candidates made their novitiate under the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Johan Baptist Winkels. 


After his profession as a Redemptorist on June 24, 1867, Peter Donders returned promptly to Batavia.

Since he now had assistance in working among the lepers, he was able to reach out to the indigenous peoples of Surinam, a dream he had held for many a year. He continued in this work which was previously neglected because of a lack of manpower. He also began to learn the native languages and to instruct the local peoples in the Christian faith.
Fr Donders was born in Tilburg, Holland, on October 27, 1809. His parents were Arnold Denis Donders and Petronella van den Brekel. Their home was poor, so Peter and his brother had little schooling as they worked to support the family.

As a youngster, Peter was interested in becoming a priest, and with the generosity of a group of local clergy behind him, he was able to begin his studies. He was ordained in 1841, at 29 years of age.

Even before ordination, Blessed Peter Donders was being guided by the seminary leaders towards the missions in the Dutch colony of Surinam. He arrived in Paramaribo in 1842. He made regular visits through the plantations along the colony’s rivers preaching and celebrating the sacraments. Many of the people were slaves. Peter’s letters express his indignation at the harsh treatment of the African peoples forced to work on the plantations.

When he was sent to the leper station in 1856, he preached among the lepers and celebrated the sacraments with them. Peter also tended the lepers personally with their many needs, and at the same time, ensured that the authorities provided much-needed nursing facilities. By bringing the leper’s needs to the attention of the colonial authorities, he was in many ways able to improve their conditions. He was tireless in these efforts.

With increasingly weakening health, his labours slowed over the last years of his life. He died on January 14, 1887. The significance of his life was well known in Surinam and spread also back to Holland, the land of his birth. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982 - during the 250th anniversary celebration of the Congregations founding.

peerke schilderij doekie







“O Jesus our Redeemer, you took flesh and walked among us in search of the abandoned. Our brother, Peter Donders, spent his life in preaching your saving word to lepers, to slaves, to the poor and neglected. By his merits and prayers, stir up in us the same apostolic zeal, that we might place ourselves completely at the service of your gospel.

You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.”

Warmest Congratulations to our re-elected Fr Provincial!...


Very Reverend Father Ronald McAinsh C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior.


The Chapter re-elected Fr McAinsh and the election was approved by our Roman Curia.

Fr. Provincial will hold office for the next four years.

Our Prayers and Congratulations go with him!


Elected to the Ordinary Provincial Council were

Fr. Gerard Mulligan




- Fr Maurice O'Mahony

both were re-elected like the Provincial.


Elected to the Extraordinary Provincial Council were

Fr Richard Reid

fr richardr rome

Fr Charles Corrigan


Fr Desmond Keegan

fr desk

Fr James McManus


Fr. Kieran J. Brady CSsR

mssion _logo - jpgWhere now for Parish Missions?

An article written for a Catholic newspaper (some time ago but still has resonance today)

Have you ever found yourself speaking a foreign language? I have. Recently I was speaking to a small group of Catholics, the conversation was in English but we were coming from very different perceptions of reality. I quickly learned that some on the parish council had never experienced a ‘Redemptorist parish mission’, while a couple of older members thought we had stopped conducting them all together. Of course parish missions have been the mainstay of parish renewal for many years in Britain. They have evolved with a changing church, yet people have widely differing views and expectations from them.

The recent calls for renewal, from John Paul II, among others are not a new phenomenon. Any group that engages in evangelisation is at the service of the church which is missionary by its very nature. I am aware that there are some new movements springing up and hopefully they will be co-ordinated by the development of an agency for evangelisation. I am sure that they will bring new energy and vigour to the life of the church. As a church in search of vision for evangelisation, I believe we should use all the gifts the Spirit gives us. That means investing in the new as well as continuing with the tried and tested ways of communicating God’s love.

phoca_thumb_l_alphonsus13The order I belong to was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori to reach out to the poor and abandoned. Since then we have been creative in leading parish missions and retreats for over 270 years, gaining much experience and insight into the life of ordinary Catholics. Missions by their very nature have developed over the years, honed by the life of real people in real life situations. I am reminded of a comment made by Pope Paul VI about the Redemptorist work of parish missions. ‘The great joy you have is to be the witnessing church in people’s homes, in their kitchens and in their hearts’. This could also apply to all those engaged in this specialised ministry of parish renewal. This is where we begin to understand what church is, and what it can be. The building blocks of our church remain the parish communities, the people of God.

There is no doubt that parishes are in constant need of spiritual renewal. There are many different ways of achieving this. Some dioceses have been working on assemblies and pastoral plans. The new agency will encourage and support groups of committed Catholics to become evangelisers. Yet I truly believe that the ordinary parishioner needs to be supported in a more immediate way from time to time. A parish mission is about creating a space for God in the day-to-day life of a worshiping community. It is about being touched by the Word of God through a time of grace. This sort of experience should not and cannot involve targets, as it is simply immeasurable.

Fr. Paul Billington, formerly of CMS would describe the experience of a Parish mission as working on many levels. “An individual spiritual renewal, calling the community to be co-responsible for the life of the church, while inculcating in people a spirituality of mission in it’s widest sense”. As a Redemptorist also engaged in renewal, I am saddened at the decision to move what was CMS away from its fine tradition of parish missions. As I said earlier missions are not incompatible with other evangelisation strategies.

phoca_thumb_l_cssr windowMissions have great strengths but I accept they also have weaknesses. In my experience as a Redemptorist, we have not yet devised a viable follow up strategy for parishes that we work with. Perhaps a mission then, could be seen as a launching pad for a pastoral plan. In setting up small groups to work on the parish mission liturgies, a parish may then have an indication of how these groups could work on evangelising projects at local church level.

The initiative for evangelisation cannot be imposed by a remote group or committee. It needs to come out of a desire for renewal at a local level. I believe that parish missions are a vital part of this renewal, speaking as they do, to the people in the pew in a language that they can understand.

If you feel your parish would benefit from a Redemptorist parish mission, contact us

Fr. Kieran J. Brady CSsR


Brother Elias Gweme and Brother Mark Chandavengerwa CSsR

Early in the year 2008 the Redemptorist community in Zimbabwe had the great joy of recieving the Final Vows of Brother Elias Gweme CSsR. The confreres also welcomed His Grace Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, and the Provincial of the London Province, Fr. Ronnie McAinsh CSsR, to officiate at Elias' Diaconate Ordination.phoca_thumb_l_100_5349

The Redemptorists are blessed with many young men, like Elias, who are willing to give their lives to the service of the Gospel. In October 2008 Fr. Elias Gweme CSsR was ordained to the Priesthood, while Br. Mark Chadavengerwa CSsR was ordained to the Diaconate., a ministry of service.

phoca_thumb_l_100_5347Could you give your life for plentiful Redemption?

If so Contact;

Fr. Vocations Director, Alphonsus House, P.O. Box 30, Tafara, Harare

Tel; 00 263 (4) 491544

Have you ever known you were truly at home? You are invited to share the beginnings of a vocation story by Fr. Elias Gweme CSsR


Chapter News...

A few photos of some of the days activities!

Holy Mass


Fr Ronald McAinsh and Deacon, Br Victor Bushu



Fr Tryvis Moyo


Deacon, Br Victor Bushu


Fr Ronald McAinsh




The rest of the Chapter!




Fr Raymond Mupandasekwa, Fr Denis McBride and Br Michael Duxbury


Br Benjamin Posvo and Fr Tryvis Moyo


Sr Raymunda, Ms Marie Hogg and Fr Timothy Buckley


The brethren all chatting away!



5th January

Feast Day of

St John Neumann C.Ss.R.

neumann jubilee_web bannerneumann landing quote


March 28, 1811
St. John Neumann born in Prachatice, Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic)

June 1836
Ordained a priest by the bishop of New York

June 1842
Takes vows as a Redemptorist

Redemptorist vice-provincial in the U.S.

Pastor, St. Alphonsus Church Baltimore

Named fourth bishop of Philadelphia

January 5, 1860
Neumann dies at age 49

October 13, 1963
Declared Blessed

June 19, 1977
Neumann declared a saint by Pope Paul VI


Please pray for the 2011 Chapter...

The Chapter was formally opened last night (2nd Jan).






The confreres worked hard today, listening to various reports on the state of the province.

An election will be held tomorrow for the office of the Provincial Superior. 

Your prayers are asked at this time.

The Virtue for the Month of January is Faith!

On the banner above you'll find "Preaching and Prayer"

- click on this and "Virtues" will appear

- click on that and find out more about Faith!



Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1st 2011


The Redemptorists wish all their friends

every grace and blessing

for this coming

New Year!

The Redemptorists of the London Province

wish you and your loved ones

a peace filled,

joy full,

and blessed Christmas Day!


Our Prayers are being offered for you

over this Christmas-time. 


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.




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



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 .

st gerard family league image

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.



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








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




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".





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.




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.