VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2, SUMMER 2014
PUBLISHED BY THE REDEMPTORISTS
Configuring one’s life to Christ
Dear friends: The Superior General of the Redemptorists, Very Rev. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., has proclaimed 2015–16 as the jubilee year of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Father Brehl wrote, “Almost 150 years ago Pope Pius IX gave the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorists, saying, ‘Make her known throughout the whole world.’ The Redemptorists have taken that mandate to heart. Today there is no place in the world where the devotion is not present.” Indeed, the icon has become the best-
known image of Our Lady worldwide. Every Redemptorist has a special love for Our Mother of Perpetual Help. She has been part of our formation, living, preaching, devotion, and love. In every ministry in which we have served, we have brought with us a tender and abiding love for Our Mother of Perpetual Help. There is no church, home, devotion, or activity where we do not have a special love for her. I remember as a child growing up how we knelt before the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and felt that Mary not only loved her Divine Son but also had a special love for everyone who looked and prayed to her. I can remember the toughest kids in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Brooklyn telling me in their middle ages and beyond how Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help, helped them in the most difficult times of their youth and young adulthood. Why? Because Mary is a mother. Because Mary is our mother who protects us, heals us, comforts us, blesses us, and loves us. Because Mary always leads
us to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Lord and Savior. Because Mary teaches us how to live as children of God. Because Mary teaches us how to walk in faith, trust, and the love of God, as she did. Because Mary teaches how to live in praise, adoration, worship, and the peace and joy of God. All peoples through the ages have had a special love for their mothers. We know that we receive our life from them. We realize that even though our moms on earth are imperfect, they are still the symbol and reality of love for us. That’s why mothers who have children in prison still say, “Father, he is a good boy.” The love of a mother never ends. May we all experience the love Our Mother of Perpetual Help has for each one of us, and may we respond with love and devotion! Sincerely in Christ,
Father Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R. Provincial Superior
The rules of engagement Plentiful Redemption © 2014 Plentiful Redemption is distributed quarterly to friends and collaborators of the Redemptorists. We aim to tell the 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 poor and most spiritually abandoned. Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement 107 Duke of Gloucester Street Annapolis, MD 21401-2526 Toll free: 877-876-7662 redemptorists.net Editor: Mary C. Weaver firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director: James C. Link email@example.com
By Father Richard Bennett, C.Ss.R.
I think most of us can remember our senior prom. We were nervous and a little awkward. Most of us couldn’t dance very well and were anxious about what to say or do, trying desperately to make a good impression. We were excited. We were nervous. And the desire to move closer all started with that initial attraction of one wanting to get to know the other better. The rules of engagement seemed to dictate a courageous attempt on our part to spend more time together. It was difficult to explain but very real. It was mysterious. It was magical. It seemed to be heaven-sent! Funny. When I speak to those exploring the possibility of a vocation to the priestly or religious life, most of the candidates use that same language of attraction. The pattern is very similar to that of our prom days. There’s an initial attrac-
tion to the founder, the order’s charism, the religious habit, the words of the pope or the sacred Scriptures, the ministry to God’s people. The initial vocation story always seems to begin with the narrative of attraction. A desire to get to know God. A desire to better understand the Catholic faith and some of the more ancient forms of the vowed religious life and community. A young man, born and raised in China, was recently accepted into our student formation program beginning this September. Although he was an immigrant, he now has his citizenship and has tremendous compassion for the many trials and tribulations immigrants typically endure when they come here as strangers to our shores. This young man, Song You, impressed me from the first time I met him. He comes to us through a Redemptorist See Rules on page 12
ADVANCING THE MISSION
n his book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, historian Thomas Woods credits Catholicism with theorizing the possibility of flight, developing the concept of capitalism, and establishing the university system and modern hospital. He enumerates the Church’s contributions to music, art, architecture, and astronomy. Woods claims that 15th-century Catholic theologians—not Adam Smith—founded modern economics and that the exaltation of human reason and the Church’s commitment to rational debate gave rise to the scientific revolution. He asserts that the idea of international law came from 16thcentury Catholic theologians, that all of Western law derived from canon law, the first modern legal system in Europe, and that Catholic clergy pioneered rational trial procedures and sophisticated legal concepts. Woods states that the idea of universal human rights is rooted in Catholic canon law, not the writings of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, and that after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the Church that rebuilt the West, preserving what was best of classical antiquity. Thousands of contemporary historians credit Pope St. John Paul II with the fall of the Soviet Union, but did you know that the fathers of geology, modern atomic theory, genetics, and seismology were members of Catholic religious orders? Woods concludes that the Catholic Church is the greatest force for good the world has ever known. Not bad for an organization founded by a carpenter from an obscure village! Why do I begin an article on stewardship by citing the Church’s contributions? Because I believe a gift to the Church—and the Redemptorists in particular—is one of the best investments anyone can make to enhance the quality of life on earth. Beyond providing spiritual and moral guidance to millions, the Church is the largest and most effective nongovernmental provider of social services. Consider what it does in the United States alone, much of it through Redemptorist priests, brothers, seminarians, and lay colleagues. More than 88 million people are admitted to our nation’s 629 Catholic hospitals annually. Another 19 million visit emergency rooms at Catholic hospitals, and more than 100 million people are treated as outpatients or are served by 1,534 nursing homes. Annually, Catholic Charities serves more than 20 million Americans, regardless of religious, social, or economic background. More than two million families are fed by Catholic food pantries; another 2.7 million eat in Catholic soup kitchens or enjoy home-delivered meals. Nearly 300,000 people sleep in Church-sponsored homeless shelters, and 27,000 benefit from longer-term transitional housing. Over the past 30 years, the Church’s Migration and Refugee Service has resettled 912,160,740 refugees. Services provided to immigrants and refugees include health care, employment, language and citizenship training, legal counsel, rental assistance, and home-purchase subsidies. More than 50,264 children are cared for in 235 Catholic orphanages. In 5,636 Catholic elementary schools and 1,205 high schools,
more than two million students are educated. Our nation’s 232 Catholic colleges enroll 818,331 students. Within these institutions of higher learning are five medical schools, 28 law schools, seven pharmacy schools, 17 engineering colleges, 93 schools of nursing, 177 schools of education, 14 women’s colleges, and 16 research universities. Here’s just one example that illustrates the Church’s impressive results: 98 percent of Catholic secondary school students graduate, and 97 percent go on to college. Taxpayers save more than $20 billion a year because these Catholic school students did not choose more expensive, less effective public schools. The Church’s educational ministry plays a critical role in helping people break the cycle of poverty. More than 30 percent of students in Catholic schools are minorities; nearly 25 percent of students in Catholic colleges are the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education. Annually, more than 125 million Americans receive food, shelter, counseling, education, and health care from Catholic agencies. They’re treated with respect and empowered to live in hope. During the past 25 years I’ve had the privilege of serving some of America’s most respected charitable organizations. These included an Ivy League college, a federal service academy, the country’s most respected research university, and the world’s largest youth agency. As worthy as these organizations are, if you combined the contributions they’ve made to our nation and world, they wouldn’t come close to matching the positive impact of the Catholic Church. Although Thomas Woods’s objective was not to make a compelling case for why people should support the Church with their time, talent, and treasure, that’s precisely what he did. Like him, I conclude that the Catholic Church is the greatest force for good the world has ever known. To say it deserves our support would be an understatement. This is especially true for the Redemptorists—one of the Church’s largest and most respected religious communities. Thank you for sustaining more than 200 Redemptorist ministries here and abroad. Your generous support of these holy men plays a vital role in building the Kingdom and spreading the Gospel. Is there anything more important? May the Redeemer and Our Lady of Perpetual Help bless you for your faithfulness. Gratefully,
James C. Link Executive Director Summer 2014 3
Creating a home for Hispanic Catholics Two Redemptorists are on a mission to help Spanish-speaking immigrants form vibrant Christian communities. By Mary C. Weaver
Most Hispanic people in the United States are Catholics—no surprise there. Yet almost one-quarter of U.S. Hispanics are now former Catholics, according to studies by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project. And increasing numbers of Latinos are becoming Protestant or have ceased to belong to any religious body.
Father Thomas Deely speaks to the community during a family gathering for Hispanic Catholics. In the background is Father Thomas Travers, president of Brazos Abiertos Inc. (“With Open Arms”). Father Deely is the organization’s vice president.
Several years ago two Redemptorist priests in Esopus, N.Y., joined forces to help buck the trend among the more than 25,000 Hispanics living and working in the Hudson Valley. “Many Spanish-speaking people are not getting adequate pastoral help because there are so few Spanish-speaking priests in our area,” said Father Thomas Travers, C.Ss.R., 78. Together, he and Father Thomas “Martín” Deely, C.Ss.R., 75, created a corporation, Brazos Abiertos Inc. (“With Open Arms”), to help provide that care. Brazos Abiertos comprises a team of 12, including a number of lay people and two Cabrini sisters. Four or five parishes in the Hudson Valley are represented. “We wanted to do something, and because we were brought 4 Plentiful Redemption
up, if you want to say that, in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, we can,” said Father Travers. “We have the language skills, and we worked in evangelization projects down there that could well be adapted to what we’re doing up here.” When people aren’t getting pastoral care, “there’s a tendency to drift away into other churches where they can get it,” he said. “Evangelical churches are the ones they usually drift to because they have ministers who speak Spanish and sing Spanish songs, so they feel at home. If we don’t take care of our people, we’re going to lose them.” Father Travers said that prospect is “a big driving point for us.” “They’re our people. We love them, and we hate to see them drifting around aimlessly, without getting the help they need.” There’s not much the two Redemptorists can do to produce more Spanish-speaking priests in the area. What they can do is help build vibrant Christian communities among Spanishspeaking Catholics. “This is what the U.S. bishops have stressed and what they want us to do, so these Latin Hispanic people will have a home,” said Father Travers. “Maybe they don’t have a big community, but they can meet once a week or once a month and do reflections on the Bible. We hope that these small communities will also be part of the larger parish community so people can receive pastoral attention.” Creating these small authentically Christian communities follows a development process that Fathers Deely and Travers learned in the Dominican Republic. The first step, promotion, is meeting people, learning their needs, getting to know a community’s natural leaders, and finding out what their gifts are. Second comes the formation of those leaders. “We concentrate on spiritual formation—the Bible and the faith. Once we have people formed, the object is to get them forming communities and serving as leaders,” said Father Travers. Along these lines, the two priests have begun a training program in Saugerties, N.Y., an affluent town with Hispanic workers but not much of a Spanish-speaking community. The theme of the training is “Jesus and His Message,” and the goal is for attendees to take what they learn, form small groups of families and neighbors, and conduct reflection groups in people’s homes. This kind of effort builds leaders who can help with the third step, organization of communities. Father Deely described what can happen in a regular reflection group: “I’ve been calling around to visit someone’s house once a week. We say the rosary and read and reflect on the readings for the coming Sunday and apply them to our life.” “This is something we did 30 years ago [in the Dominican
More than 200 Hispanic Catholics in the northern counties of the Archdiocese of New York gathered at Cabrini Home in West Park on October 19 for a family encounter coordinated by Brazos Abiertos, a Redemptorist ministry.
Republic]. But here people are not on the geographical peripheries but sociological ones,” said Father Deely. “Saugerties is a wealthy town. Our people aren’t there because they’re trendy or wealthy—it’s because there’s work there.” Building community in a town like Saugerties is especially challenging, he said, because “there’s no Hispanic community, and the people are much poorer. It’s going to be a long haul.” Then there are practical considerations. Recent immigrants are usually working two or three jobs just to afford a home and a car, and that doesn’t leave much time for community gatherings. Also, those who are undocumented are constantly worried about being discovered. It helps to have what Father Deely calls “missionary bloodhounds”—two Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from Mexico who hit the streets a couple of months ago and discovered Spanish-speaking families no one knew were there. “They go around and visit all these homes,” said Father Travers. “We used to call that fishing. The second week, they’d have assemblies in one or two of the homes, and the third week would be the preached mission in the church. “We tried to follow that schedule in Saugerties as best we could.” It all began at the Mount Fathers Travers and Deely consider their ministry a natural continuation of an outreach program that began at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus back in the 1950s. At that time the Mount was a Redemptorist major seminary, and its Spanishspeaking students would visit migrant workers from Puerto
Rico and Paraguay who had come to harvest apples, grapes, corn, and other crops. Later the priests of the Mount offered a weekly Mass in Spanish at St. Joseph Parish in Kingston, N.Y., about 10 miles north. Other programs also had connections with the Mount, including Reaping the Harvest, which ministered to those in
“They’re our people. We love them, and we hate to see them drifting around aimlessly, without getting the help they need.”
Father Thomas Travers, C.Ss.R.
more than 40 migrant camps nearby. Father Deely was among those who joined the team. Three or four years ago the group began having monthly meetings at the Mount—by that time a retreat house—with migrant workers and other Spanish-speaking people. Gatherings would include a talk, a Mass in Spanish, and a shared meal. The whole family was invited, and children were divided into age-appropriate groups. “The main purpose was to provide, at least once a month, a meaningful faith celebration for Spanish-speaking families, especially those who didn’t have ready access to such celebrations in their own community,” said Father Travers. But then, in December 2011, Mount St. Alphonsus was closed, and the ministry to Spanish-speaking families moved to Cabrini Home in West Park, N.Y. Summer 2014 5
Isabel and Vinicio Fly of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., were among many participants who gave personal testimonies about their faith during the family encounter. The celebration included Mass, the rosary, and a dinner.
In January this year another move was necessary because of the high cost of utilities at Cabrini. Fathers Travers and Deely now have an office at Catholic Charities in Kingston, with the use of meeting rooms and a gym as needed. The monthly family-encounter gatherings continue, with a special emphasis on the word family. “We want to involve the parents so they can play a significant part in their children’s spiritual formation,” said Father Deely. “The parents should be able to grow in formation along with their kids and help them not to reject their Spanish roots and culture. “The children are bilingual, and it’s important that they not lose contact with their Hispanic roots while they become part of North American culture too.” Ten years from now, Father Travers said, “I would like to see vibrant Christian communities in all our areas, especially those that are not presently getting much pastoral care. “Christian communities where they know one another, where they care for one another, and where they have an opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist regularly and have their other spiritual needs met with weekly assembles and opportunities to get together and discuss their problems and challenges.” “It’s an uphill effort,” said Father Deely, “but I love it. This is why we’re so glad we stayed here at the Mount. “I came to the Mount a couple of years ago because I wanted to take a crack at retreat work, but I also knew that Father Tom [Travers] was working with Hispanics, and that attracted me too. How were we to know that the retreat house would close and we’d end up doing this?” v
Consider the Redemptorists
here’s a new way you can support our work after you return to the Lord. We’re now encouraging our supporters to think about us in their long-term planning. As you make plans for your family in your will, please consider the Redemptorists. When you plan for changes to your will that accompany marriages, births, and departures from this life, please remember the Redemptorists.
For more information about including the Redemptorists in your will (or other estate plan), please call 410-990-1680 or send an email to Bill Caterham at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re ready to include a gift to the Redemptorists in your will, please tell your attorney our legal name is Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement and our federal tax ID number is 26-3602779.
With Him is plentiful redemption. (Psalm 130:7) 107 Duke of Gloucester Street | Annapolis, MD 21401-2526 877-876-7662 | redemptorists.net
Redemptorist Jubilarians The following priests and brothers are celebrating significant anniversaries of their profession as Redemptorists and/or their ordination to the priesthood. Please join us in thanking God for the gift of their ministry and pray for their continued faithfulness in service to Godâ€™s people.
Anniversary of Profession
Anniversary of Priestly Ordination
Father James McGonagle, C.Ss.R.
Father Lawrence Murphy, C.Ss.R.
Father Thomas Forrest, C.Ss.R. Father Thomas Hickey, C.Ss.R. Father Gerard Schreiber, C.Ss.R. Father James Small, C.Ss.R.
Father Paul Bryan, C.Ss.R. Father John Gauci, C.Ss.R. Father George Kelly, C.Ss.R. Father John Kennington, C.Ss.R. Brother Francis Roberts, C.Ss.R. Father Francis Sullivan, C.Ss.R. Father John Travers, C.Ss.R. Brother DeSales Zimpfer, C.Ss.R.
Brother Christopher Colarossi, C.Ss.R. Father Raymond Collins, C.Ss.R. Father Patrick Flynn, C.Ss.R. Brother Stephen Lendvay, C.Ss.R. Brother Thomas Rochacewicz, C.Ss.R. Father Thomas Siconolfi, C.Ss.R. Father James Wallace, C.Ss.R.
Father James McGonagle, C.Ss.R.
Father Lawrence Murphy, C.Ss.R.
Father Thomas Forrest, C.Ss.R. Father Thomas Hickey, C.Ss.R. Father Gerard Schreiber, C.Ss.R. Father James Small, C.Ss.R.
Father James Brennan, C.Ss.R. Archbishop Edward J. Gilbert, C.Ss.R. Father Joseph Krastel, C.Ss.R. Father Francis Nelson, C.Ss.R. Father Louis Olive, C.Ss.R.
Father Franklyn Cuffy, C.Ss.R. Father Glanville Joseph, C.Ss.R.
Father Callistus Auguiste, C.Ss.R.
Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R.
Father John McLoughlin, C.Ss.R.
Congratulate our jubilarians Would you like to send a note of congratulations to one of our jubilarians? E-mail jubilees@redemptorists. net, and we will be happy to forward your message. Summer 2014 7
Configuring one’s life to Christ
Father David Verghese becomes the fifth Redemptorist to be ordained in the Province this year. By Mary C. Weaver
Priesthood is such a joy for Father David Verghese that he has a hard time understanding why so few young men consider it. Father Verghese, 34, is the fifth Redemptorist priest in the Baltimore Province to receive holy orders this year. “The happiness, joy, and fulfillment of this vocation make everything else pale in comparison,” he said during an interview June 10. “I hope the Lord uses me as an instrument to show them that the priesthood isn’t so much about what you give up but rather about what you receive.” The new priest is a native of Leonard town, Maryland, and grew up in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish. He began formation with the Redemptorists in 2004 but three years later decided to enter the seminary for the Archdiocese of Washington. In 2009 he rejoined the Redemptorists and finished his theological studies at Boston College in 2012. 8 Plentiful Redemption
After spending a pastoral year with St. Gerard Parish in Lima, Ohio, he was ordained a deacon in October 2013 by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston. Father Verghese was ordained a priest May 31, 2014, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at St. John Neumann Church in Annapolis, Maryland. The church, a mission of St. Mary Parish, was packed with dozens of priests and more than 1,000 of the faithful, including several hundred family members and friends. Many had come from India to celebrate the occasion. The presider and homilist was Archbishop Emeritus Edward J. Gilbert, C.Ss.R., formerly the shepherd of Trinidad and Tobago. And on the day of Father Verghese’s ordination, Archbishop Gilbert was just three weeks shy of the golden jubilee of his own priestly ordination in 1964. Archbishop Gilbert began his homily
for the ordination Mass by referring to a homily Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had given during a chrism Mass in Rome. The key point of that homily, he said was an invitation to priests “to configure themselves to the Lord.” When the word configure was used during the Second Vatican Council, it meant “to shape the various parts of one’s life according to the model for priests, which is Jesus Christ the high priest.” “The decision to configure one’s life to Christ begins each day for each priest at his ordination, and it continues all the days of his life. It becomes the lifelong principle of growth for a priest,” said Archbishop Gilbert. “David, your sustained efforts to configure yourself to Christ the high priest . . . will not only help you to live and share in the priesthood of Christ with dedication; they will allow you to experience the personal happiness and
Archbishop Emeritus Edward J. Gilbert, C.Ss.R., receives soon-to-be-ordained David Verghese’s promise of obedience to his Redemptorist superior and the diocesan bishop.
joy of serving God’s people.” If a priest’s efforts to configure himself to Christ ever weaken, he cautioned, “living as a priest will become more and more challenging, more and more difficult. I remind you and everyone listening to me how important that is because you all know the number of priests who have left the priesthood. This is a lifelong commitment.” Archbishop Gilbert explained that the sacrament of holy orders brings about a change in the ordinand’s very being that enables him to act in the person of Jesus Christ, the High Priest. “As a result of his ordination,” he said, “a priest shares the threefold mission of Christ [as prophet, priest, and king].” As a prophet, a priest is called to teach
the faith in an increasingly secularized world. As a priest, he leads the people in prayer, preaches in the liturgy, and celebrates the sacraments. “Finally, as shepherd, he’s called to form the people in community and lead them to their specific identify as God’s people. In many, many cases the people have . . . forgotten their own dignity, they’ve forgotten their own vocation. And little by little they’ve become secularized.” He cited as an example the common tragedy of young people achieving advanced degrees while losing their faith and losing the Catholic understanding of life. This practical challenge is, for a priest, at the heart of the new evangelization
that Pope St. John Paul II spoke of so often. “The young, among others, need special support from the Church for their fidelity to the Lord, for their growth in the spiritual life, for their understanding of the faith, and to confront the increasingly secular and neo-pagan influence of modern-day culture,” said the archbishop. “We must acknowledge that these people are very intelligent. They are well educated but not in the faith. . . . And the priests of the Redemptorist community should be eager to involve themselves in this new evangelization outreach.” Who’s going to stop the neo-pagan culture developing in the Western world? Summer 2014 9
Top photo: Father Verghese blesses Archbishop Gilbert. Bottom photo: Father Philip Dabney, C.Ss.R., gives the homily at Father Verghese’s first Mass on June 1 at St. Mary Church in Annapolis.
10 Plentiful Redemption
“The people of God are going to stop it,” said Archbishop Gilbert. “But who’s going to be key in that process? Priests.” And if priests are to be mediators of God’s love to the Church and to the world, they themselves must have a strong and healthy spiritual life. A priest is called to be a man of prayer, “for it is in true prayer that a man enters into a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and develops a profound personal friendship with Him,” said Archbishop Gilbert. People who are served by holy priests “don’t have to read a book about the meaning of priestly identity,” he said. “They can see it from dedicated priests who are interested in their spiritual growth and who collaborate with them to build the Church.” Following the homily during any ordination is a series of questions called the examination of the candidate. The candidate’s answer to each is “I do.” The final question and answer are known as the promise of obedience, and the archbishop began it this way: “Sitting in the back here is the Redemptorist provincial, and I have a question that is very important. Do you promise respect and obedience to the diocesan bishop and to your legitimate superior?” There was a brief pause, and Archbishop Gilbert added, “I need that answer.” When the soon-to-be-ordained priest said, “I do,” the archbishop replied, “Good. You can stay now,” generating smiles and laughter throughout the church. For the new priest, the day began with a little nervousness and anxiety because he was the only one being ordained. “I was kind of wishing I had had my ordination with the guys in February [see the spring 2014 issue of Plentiful Redemption] so I could blend in with the crowd,” said Father Verghese. “But during the litany of the saints”—while the soon-to-be-ordained man lies face down on the floor—“I calmed down a little bit.” But his enduring emotion is “the joy of being a priest.”
Top photo: Father Verghese poses with the archbishop near the end of the ordination Mass. Bottom photo: Provincial Superior Father Kevin Moley (right) and Father Denis Sweeney (center), director of theology studies, gather with (from left) Father Joseph Hung Duc Tran, Father Peter Linh Ba Quoc Nguyen, and Father Verghese. The two young men at left were ordained in Boston this February.
“I can’t describe it,” said Father Verghese, who now serves at St. Mary Parish in Annapolis. “It’s an amazing fulfillment, with unbelievable peace of mind. This is the most amazing thing anyone could desire to be in this life.” v To view a slide show from Father Verghese’s ordination and first Mass and listen to Archbishop Gilbert’s homily, please visit redemptorists.net/ verghese.cfm.
Summer 2014 11
The Redemptorists Office for Mission Advancement 107 Duke of Gloucester Street Annapolis, MD 21401-2526 Toll-free: 877.876.7662
Rules continued from page 2
ministry at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, N.Y. A young Redemptorist priest, Father Peter Cao, C.Ss.R., called me and gave me Song’s contact information in order to set up a meeting. Song had observed all of the great work that was taking place at our church in regard to faith, the English language, citizenship, and evangelization, and he wanted to move closer and learn more. He told me he was attracted to the zealous ministry and dedication the parish has shown with several different immigrant populations, most especially the Chinese community. Song said to me, “I really want to work with and help the Chinese immigrants here.” As he spoke, his face took on the serious air of one who is sincerely focused and single-heartedly devoted to pursuing the passion of his heart. He saw the ministry the Redemptorists do and was moved to reach out and get to know us better. I gave Song some short readings on the life and legacy of St. Alphonsus and several other great and holy men from our rich tradition dating back to 1732 and the countryside hills of Scala just outside Naples. Another thing that strikes me about
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days that lie ahead. Song is his amazing work ethic. He has Whether we’re talking about the an impressive willingness to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to reach his prom, the priesthood, or the religious life, the rules of engagement, it goal. And I was touched by the seems to me, are almost identibeautiful and genuine humility cal. The process starts with that that flows from him. blessed initial attraction and Song came to several vocaoften grows and matures into tion discernment retreats with a relationship in which both us and visited our seminary parties come to know more and residence in the Bronx many more about each other as the times for Mass, adoration, and Song You months pass and the relationdinner with the seminarians. With every visit, he showed a desire to ship deepens. spend more and more time with us in Song will be our first completely biministry and religious community. lingual Chinese- and English-speaking Finally in the last week of April he seminarian. We are so proud of him took the leap of faith and sat before our and delighted to welcome him into our admissions board and was officially acformation community this fall. cepted to begin his theological studies As Song joins together with his firstand start living our way of life this fall. year classmates in this journey of faith, Like all of us at our senior prom, let us unite our prayers for him and his Song is a little nervous and excited and classmates and encourage others who, like him, might feel a little unworthy or feels the limitations of his two left feet insufficient or might be paralyzed by and some awkwardness in pursuing their own fear and anxiety. the religious life. At the same time, he Support and encourage them to folrecognizes that without taking a risk, no low their heart; speak to them about relationship can develop. the resources of prayer, retreats, and Without taking the necessary leap of faith, we may never know whether spiritual direction; and remind them of God is calling us to this way of life. By the “rules of engagement.” v meeting with his spiritual director and through continued personal prayer, Father Bennett is vocation director for Song will prepare himself well for the the Baltimore Province.