Volume 5, number 3, Fall 2013
A Publication of the Redemptorist office for mission advancement
To preach the Gospel ever anew Learn how Redemptorists are forming the next generation of priests and brothers.
Stephen M. Kessinger/Courtesy
Year for Redemptorist Vocations August 1, 2013-November 9, 2014
PROVINCIAL’S PREFACE also essential that we love both our vocations and the people that we serve. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan was once asked how to attract more vocations to the priesthood. His reply was, “By having joyful priests.” I agree 100 percent with that. We need priests and brothers who are joyful, kind, forgiving and loving in their vocations. Every day we meet people who live loving lives. They bless and teach us by their example. We are made better by them and Redemptorists are called to go out and we are grateful to them. Every day we also preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. meet people who struggle with pain and There is no more wonderful task than this, suffering. To them we reach out and strive to share the Good News. Redemptorists receive a solid education — we graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s of divinity after an additional four years studying theology. On August 1, the feast of our founder, We are also taught how to live in communiSt. Alphonsus Liguori, Redemptorists ty, and grow as healthy human beings and around the world opened a special year dedicated men of God. By the time we take focused on promoting the Redemptorist our final vows or are ordained priests, we missionary vocation. The Year for Proare expected to be well prepared to serve motion of the Redemptorist Missionary the people of God. Vocation continues through November We do this because we know that we need 9, 2014, the anniversary of the founding good and professional men to complete the of the Congregation. tasks that the Church has given to us. It is In announcing the year in May, Superior General Michael Brehl wrote, “We know that ‘the vitality with which the Congregation pursues its apostolic Plentiful Redemption © 2013 mission depends on the number and quality of the candidates who Plentiful Redemption is distributed quarterly to friends and collaborators seek admission to the Redemptorist of the Redemptorists. We aim to tell community’ (Const. 79). Such a candithe story of God’s bountiful love and inspire our readers to partner with us to continue spreading the Good News to all people, especially the Congratulations to Indianapolis poor and most spiritually abandoned. Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin who
to make the Good News a living part of their world. Let us pray for an increase of vocations in the Church, especially for more Redemptorist priests and brothers. Many thanks for your prayers and support. May God bless you now and always. Sincerely in Christ,
Very Rev. Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R. Provincial Superior
Redemptorists announce Year for Vocations date 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).” Father General encouraged all Redemptorists and their missionary partners throughout the world to work together during the year to promote the Redemptorist mission and vocations.
Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement 107 Duke of Gloucester St. Annapolis, MD 21401-2526 Toll free: 877-876-7662 redemptorists.net Editor: Stephanie K. Tracy email@example.com
Executive Director: James C. Link firstname.lastname@example.org
received the pallium from Pope Francis in June. The pallium is a liturgical garment made of wool that is worn by bishops who lead major metropolitan dioceses. The pallium is given to the bishop by the pope, and is a symbol of collaboration and fellowship with the Holy Father. Archbishop Tobin is a Redemptorist and former twoterm Superior General of the Order. He was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2012.
John Shaughnessy/Courtesy The Criterion
Archbishop Tobin receives pallium in Rome ceremony
ADVANCING THE MISSION Of all the gifts I’ve received, the greatest have been our rich faith, Christ’s redeeming love and life itself. Daily, I thank God for these blessings. I also thank the Redemptorists. My great-grandparents grew up in Southern Italy, outside Naples, near where the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded. Poor and uneducated, they were introduced to the faith by those who followed St. Alphonsus Liguori. A hundred years later, after their daughter emigrated to the United States and raised a family of her own in Brooklyn, New York, my mom attended a dance at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Redemptorist stronghold. There, she met my dad; the two married a year later. So, my greatest blessings — life, faith and redemption — came from God, through the Redemptorists. For them, their holiness and example, I’m most grateful. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to count Redemptorists among my friends and mentors. Men of deep faith, abiding hope and visible joy, they witness to God’s abundant, plentiful redemption. In college, I was blessed with a Redemptorist confessor. A more compassionate priest would have been hard to find. Enthusiastic preachers … selfless missionaries … brilliant theologians … strong role models … humble Christians — they deserve our gratitude and support. Having long desired to integrate my faith and work, I’m privileged to have the opportunity to advance the mission and ministry of men I greatly admire. As I begin my service as executive director of the Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement, I thank those who serve the poor and most abandoned by supporting the men who alleviate their suffering, educate their children and bring the healing love of God. I can’t think of anything more important than spreading the Gospel and building the Kingdom. Your generous support of the Redemptorists does both. May God bless you for your faithfulness! Gratefully,
James C. Link
About James C. Link A former Catholic school teacher and administrator, Jim transitioned to advancement work in 1986. He served as regional director of major gifts at Dartmouth, vice president for advancement at Iona and president of the Coast Guard Academy Foundation. He studied at Iona College, the Catholic University of America and Wharton School of Business, and has been active in his parish as director of religious education, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and finance committee chair.
Farewell and thank you As we welcome our new executive director, we bid farewell to our communications manager and Plentiful Redemption editor, Stephanie K. Tracy. In her four years as editor, Stephanie has upheld high standards of storytelling and attention to detail that resulted in three awards from the Catholic Press Association in June (see page 5 for details). She left us at the end of this
summer to discern a call to religious life with the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Immaculata, PA. You can read a bit more of her story on page 9. The Redemptorists are grateful to Stephanie for her care in editing Plentiful Redemption, and assure her of our prayers as she continues on her journey.
Vatican II priest: Going to the people Editor’s Note: During this Year of Faith, we present a series of reflections from Redemptorists who began their religious and/or priestly lives in the years during or immediately after the Second Vatican Council. By Rev. Thomas Deely, C.Ss.R.
I was ordained in June 1965. The Second Vatican Council, begun in 1962, closed as I was ordained. One of the purposes of that Council was to “open the windows of the Catholic Church and allow the fresh air of renewal to enter into it.” A lot of fresh air did enter. We were no longer “locked into the seminary.” We could now get out and meet the people and be involved in apostolic work. Before the Vatican Council there seemed to be a belief within the Church that if you locked up a seminarian, got him to pray and be silent, and not care much about what was happening in the world, that the supposed happy result would be a holy seminarian who would go out into the world full of prayer, the Word of God and holy devotions, and who would win the world for Christ. I never really believed that. Neither, I think, did those who called for the Council to bring the Church to a new and fresh encounter with the modern world. As the spirit of the Council gradually changed the attitudes and the rules of our seminary formation, we gradually began to see what youth like ourselves were doing in the world. It was the Sixties! They were fighting for civil and human rights. They were protesting a most unwise war in Vietnam. They were struggling to undo poverty and injustice both in the U.S. and throughout the world.
I began to resent the isolation that my seminary formation had demanded of me. I knew it was not right. As a 24-year-old young man, I gave my first catechism lesson and felt so disconnected from those seventh-graders, so “out of it.” I cried, I wept for shame and in anger. I was glad when I was finally a Redemptorist priest who could go out and preach the Gospel of Jesus to real people in the real world. The freedom was great. The new openness in our Church was wonderful. What weren’t so great were the selfish and worldly values that assaulted our Church. The windows were open. The fresh air was coming in. But in also came the poisoned winds of doubt, of a desire for pleasure and comfort. In came the tempting message that the Cross, that suffering and sacrifice, were a waste of time. So out of those same windows, through which that fresh air had poured, jumped many who decided that following Christ as a religious, a priest, a missionary might not bring them all that they personally desired. In the 48 years I’ve lived as a priest since the Council, I have now realized why our superiors were so worried about protecting us from the world. They were, in many ways, correct. Fidelity as a Redemptorist priest has not been any easier than it is for any good individual Catholic or married couple. Fidelity takes prayer, humility, and a generous acceptance of the Cross and of the crosses in our lives. Let me end quoting a young Passionist nun who gave the best and shortest vocation talk I’ve ever heard. She said, “If I had it to do over again I’d still choose to be a nun!” The same goes for me as a Redemptorist priest. Fr. Deely professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1960 and was ordained in 1965. He is currently ministering to migrant workers and immigrant families in and around Esopus, NY.
Stephanie K. Tracy/ROMA
The author (above) celebrating the sacraments with some migrant farm workers in upstate New York.
Fr. Robert Wojtek (at left) with some parishioners at an immigration rally in Washington, D.C.
NEWS & NOTES Redemptoristines relocate, pioneer new form of community living The Redemptoristine Nuns moved to their new home at the Carmel of the Incarnation in Beacon, NY in June. Having established their community more than 50 years ago in Esopus, NY, they had been living in temporary quarters for the last year. Six Redemptoristines Contact the will reside in this lovely Redemptoristines monastery nestled in Redemptoristine Nuns woods at the foot of Mt. 89 Hiddenbrooke Dr. Beacon. Three nuns who Beacon, NY 12508-2230 require special care have email@example.com settled into Meadowview rednuns.org Assisted Living at Wartfacebook.com/rednunsesopus burg in Mt. Vernon, NY. The Carmelite and Redemptoristine communities are breaking new ground as two canonical entities sharing one monastery. Their desire is “to create together an environment that fosters the growth and well-being of each sister’s contemplative life as lived in the Carmelite and Redemptoristine traditions and that has the potential for creating together opportunities for effective outreach to the larger community and Church.”
Plentiful Redemption wins three awards Plentiful Redemption was honored for excelREDEMPTION lence in writing and design by the Catholic Press Association at their annual conference in June. In its first year in the competition, the newsletter won three awards in its category in the national competition. Based on editions printed in 2012, PlentiStill Our Perpetual Help ful Redemption won first place for best feature story, “To let them know they’re not forgotten,” the spring 2012 cover story, written by outgoing editor Stephanie K. Tracy. Fr. Richard Bennett, the province vocations director, was recognized with a second place award for best essay for “Habits of the heart,” a reflection that first appeared in the summer 2012 edition. And the newsletter also was recognized with an honorable mention for general excellence among religious order magazines. volume 4, numbeR 2, summeR 2012
A PublicAtion of the RedemPtoRist office foR mission AdvAncement
fr. Philip dabney blesses a woman with the icon of our lady of Perpetual help during the weekly novena at mission church, boston. Read more beginning on page 6.
Elton Letang, C.Ss.R./Courtesy
1) It begins here
The making of a Redemptorist
The journey toward becoming a Redemptorist begins with discernment – a process of prayer and exploring the possibility of a call to the religious life and/or the priesthood. The Redemptorists offer Come and See live-in weekends throughout the year. Additionally there are two pilgrimage-retreats at Redemptorist Shrines in Philadelphia and New Orleans, and a retreat in Arizona.
2) Philosophy studies
5) Theology studies
4) First vows
7) Diaconate Novitiate ends when the novice makes his first public profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He promises to live those vows for a period of one year. He’ll renew them annually for at least three years.
After first profession, the individual begins his theology studies. He lives, prays, and studies with other Redemptorist students. His free time is often filled with ministry – leading prayer services, visiting hospitals, teaching religious education classes, etc. Summer assignments offer more opportunity for this kind of hands-on learning.
A Redemptorist who discerns a call to the priesthood is ordained a transitional deacon, usually toward the end of his theology studies and after professing final vows. As a deacon he assists the priest at Mass, performs baptisms, weddings and funerals, visits the sick and carries out other duties of a deacon.
6) Final vows Upon acceptance, the new postulant begins academic studies in philosophy. He quits any job he may have held and moves into the formation house with other postulants with whom he lives, prays and studies. Completing a philosophy degree can take two to four years. During the summer, the postulant spends several weeks serving alongside Redemptorists.
3) Novitiate At the end of philosophy studies, the postulant takes a break from the classroom for a one-year novitiate. During this year, the novice focuses intensely on his prayer life, and studies in-depth the Redemptorist rule of life.
Year for Redemptorist Vocations August 1, 2013-November 9, 2014 6
After at least three years living temporary vows, the individual makes a final, permanent commitment to live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Redemptorists also profess a fourth vow of perseverance in the Congregation.
Not every Redemptorist is ordained a priest. Some Redemptorists choose to become Brothers. They profess the same vows, and are equal members of the community. A Brother fills a lot of roles – everything from electrician to carpenter to bookkeeper to you name it. A Brother’s most important job is to live his commitment to the Redemptorists and to the Church to the best of his ability through a life of service and prayer.
Though ordination marks the end of the primary formation process, growing into one’s Redemptorist vocation takes a lifetime!
$23,000 average annual tuition $2,400 average annual cost for books $3,600 average annual transportation cost
Investing in our future As you’re reading this newsletter, students around the world have returned to their classrooms and books. Maybe you know some, or maybe you are one. Our Redemptorist students have returned to their studies at St. John’s University in New York City and at Boston College. We had four new men join us this fall at our initial formation residence in the Bronx. The returning students come back after a summer filled with practical experiences, working at parishes and mission sites across the United States and the Caribbean. They lived and worked among the poor, the elderly, the forgotten. They went to their summer assignments carrying God’s great love. They have returned blessed by encounters with God’s people, which have challenged and inspired them. During the academic year, they continue to assist in a wide variety of ministries in the local parishes and communities where they study. Formal education is an important companion to these practical experiences for all Redemptorist missionaries. St. Alphonsus Liguori, our founder, was a very learned man. He became a lawyer at the young age of 16, and went on to write 111 books over 8
the course of his life. And yet, he was able to share that learning in a way that everyone could understand, no matter how much or how little education they had. Today, you can help these men serve Christ and his people. Your prayers are always appreciated. And your generous financial support can help offset the costs of their education. You can help form a new generation of Redemptorist priests and brothers to serve the Lord and his people. Please prayerfully consider a gift to support our men in formation. The Redemptorists cannot continue our mission to preach the Good News of plentiful redemption throughout the world without more young men to join us as missionaries. Your prayers and your gift bless us and all the people of God.
How you can help Please use the enclosed envelope, and check the seminary/ education fund, or you can donate safely and securely online at redemptorists.net/donate. Thank you for your support and your prayers for vocations to the Redemptorists.
My biggest inspiration was…
Some reflections about the people who’ve most influenced a vocation
Jacky Merilan, C.Ss.R.
Second year theology, Boston, MA
Novice, Toronto, Canada
The first is Redemptorist Brother Leonard Samuel (Brother Sam). Brother Sam was the vocation director when I began discerning my vocation to become a Redemptorist. He was the first Redemptorist voice who guided me, and he did so with kindness and a genuine interest. Through the years he has taught me many lessons, especially the value of prayer and the importance of community. Most importantly he taught me the heart of the charism of our founder, St. Alphonsus — his love for the poor and abandoned. Another influential person is the retired Archbishop of Trinidad, Edward Gilbert, who is also a Redemptorist. I met him before I entered, and he was very helpful. Even after beginning formation he continued to take time check up on me. His perseverance and dedication in his own life as a Redemptorist greatly encouraged me. His taking an interest in me has made me grateful and reminded me to always look out for others who are in need.
Five years ago, I knew nothing about the Redemptorists. In 2008, I met the then-newly ordained Redemptorist Father Peter Hill while he was serving his first assignment in Trinidad. We began a friendship, and it was not priest vs. discerner. It was two young men both trying to serve Jesus. Father Peter was my example. We never talked shop, and I appreciated that. There was no “do this, not that.” I learned by his way of life. Even after two Masses on Sunday and a third one pending, he never short-changed the people. He gave them his all and his best. Father Peter showed me that he was not afraid to learn, and when he did not know something he would find out. He nourished the people by his preaching and his drive to do new things in the parish. He was able to do so thanks to his contemplation of the Scriptures. It is through the Holy Spirit working and blessing Father Peter that I decided to join the Redemptorists, and am beginning my novitiate this fall.
Stephanie K. Tracy Postulant, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Immaculata, PA Plentiful Redemption editor The thought of a vocation has haunted me since I was very young. Every time it popped up, I found reason to ignore it. In my work for the Redemptorists, I saw firsthand the beauty of community life and the powerful impact these priests and brothers had in people’s lives. I wanted something they had. That “something” was community, that impact, that life of service to others. I knew it was time to seriously consider a vocation. But it terrified me! The courage to face it came from a Redemptorist who asked me whether I’d ever considered a vocation. He named a few communities he thought might fit me. He wasn’t the first person to ask, but his question, and the ongoing inspiration of his fellow Redempt-orists, gave me the push I needed. I will be forever grateful to the Redemptorists for their joyful witness, and for caring enough to ask the question.
Summertime is ordination and profession season for the Redemptorists, and this year we celebrated with six men as they took the next steps in their vocations. Two men from the Caribbean — Fr. Alistair Elias and Fr. Elton Letang — were ordained to the priesthood in June. Four Vietnamese Redemptorists currently studying in the U.S. returned to their home country to be ordained transitional deacons — Hung Tran, Linh Nguyen, Thang Nguyen, and Quang Van Tran will finish their studies this fall and expect to be ordained priests next spring.
Photos Courtesy of Fr. Peter Hill, C.Ss.R. and Quang Van Tran, C.Ss.R.
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few…
Fr. Elton receives the chalice and paten from the bishop during the ordination Mass.
Fr. Alistair Elias, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Denis Sweeney, director of theology studies, lays hands on Alistair.
Deacon Quang Van Tran, C.Ss.R. (third from right), with family and friends after his diaconate ordination.
The class of Vietnamese Redemptorists who were ordained to the priesthood or the diaconate this year.
Alistair Elias is blessed by the bishop during his ordination in June.
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘benefactors;’ but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” (Lk 22: 25-26)
Fr. Elton Letang, C.Ss.R.
The Vietnamese students with family and friends who gathered for their diaconate ordinations in July.
... ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers...” (Mt. 9:37-38)
Fr. Mark Owen, the superior of the Redemptorists in the Caribbean, lays hands on Elton during his ordination.
The Redemptorists Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement 107 Duke of Gloucester St. Annapolis, MD 21401-2526 redemptorists.net
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The lesson one Redemptorist learned from those who most inspired his vocation When I consider the many people who have been an inspiration to my vocation, I feel the need to thank God for all of them — for the great gift of their presence in my life. They were all inspirational in the many ordinary and quiet moments of their lives, without ever knowing it. But I would single out two people. One was Redemptorist Brother Liguori Englert. When I first met Liguori, he was the cook (a wonderful cook!) for the Redemptorists at our rectory in my hometown of Ephrata, PA. I grew to love him, not only because of his dedication and desire to offer the very best of who he was, but because Liguori showed me that being a religious did not mean you would lose touch with your own huma-
ness. He was a very real person and he loved to laugh. Really, Liguori had a wicked sense of humor! Above and beyond all, however, he loved God. My other great inspiration was Bernardine Sister M. Melita who taught in our parish school. Once again I saw that rare combination of one who has both feet on the ground, yet one who “walks humbly with God.” Her gracious care of all those around her (especially her little first grade “angels”), her enthusiasm and love for life, her wonderful smile, and her lovely gentleness will always remain with me. Anthony Michalik, C.Ss.R. Third year theology, Boston, MA
Read about more people who've inspired vocations on page 9.