The Three Phase Jubilee Celebrations
In the proclamation of this Jubilee, a three phase celebration was announced. The first phase was that of preparation. The Jubilee Celebrations for the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Year began on 27 June 2015. This second phase was that of celebration. It was marked by special events within the Units (Provinces, Vice Provinces, regions and Missions). Many came also in pilgrimage to the Shrine of the original icon in Rome. This culminated with the celebration on 26 and 27 June 2016 in Rome. With that, began the third phase of the Jubilee celebrations. The specially prepared icons that were blessed by Pope Francis, were commissioned to visit the different Units in the Conferences. Currently, these icons are making their way to the different communities across the world.
A great majority of (v) provinces and regions have embarked on many programs, projects and propagation of resources. They have organised congresses, conventions and various events, some of which continue in this third phase of the Celebration. The Jubilee of the Icon is a time of renewal and rededication of the mission of evangelization. It is also a recommitment to the mandate of Pope Pius IX to ‘Make Her Known to all the world’.
The many projects and programs were not just bound to the specific Jubilee Year, nor were they meant to stop at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year Celebrations. The Jubilee Year specifically provided us a pretext and a context for doing what we need to do. And to do it with ongoing urgency, dedication, zeal and love.
A Variety of Essays on Our Mother of Perpetual Help
The Commission for the celebration of the Jubilee of the Icon, invited members of our Congregation and Redemptorist family, our lay associates as well as devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to make a serious as well as popular Mariological contribution. Therefore, the Commission sent out invitations to various persons to contribute theological essays as a concrete way to involve more persons in this grand Jubilee project. These essays were invited from different theological areas: biblical, dogmatic, missiological, liturgical, moral theology, spirituality and pastoral. The hope was to offer a serious theological contribution as well as a popular and devotional one, to the church in the twenty-first century. Through this offering, the essays were meant to help us better situate and understand Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, as an essential partner in mission in the twenty-first century.
Hence there is a very vast and varied contribution. A great freedom was given to the essayists. This brought about a wealth of reflections and also a diversity. Some have approached it in an academic and scholarly manner. Others have approached it through the lens of pastoral involvement and devotion, by means of a popular style. We will allow the essays to speak for themselves. In some cases, the essays have points of overlap, in other instances, the essayists also have differing approaches to interpreting the icon and its significance.
If an icon is considered a ‘painted gospel’, it leaves itself open to varied interpretations. This will be evident in some of the essays. We have respected the intent and the reflection of the authors.
The beginning of a Periodical Bulletin of Essays on Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Beginning this month, we plan to bring out in digital form, a selection of essays, (usually two, sometimes three) on a monthly basis. These will be presented on the Congregational website afresh every month, and archived for easy reference. We encourage you also to include it on your own Unit websites. We urge you to print it for the sake of those confreres and those communities, who lack ability or access to these essays in digital form. Please ensure that the confreres, lay associates, those belonging to the larger Redemptorist family, and devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help receive this material. You have the freedom to publish any of these articles in your (V) Province or local bulletins.
I am grateful to all the contributors of these essays and those who have translated them to render them accessible in English. My thanks to Fr Enrique Lopez for help in organizing these essays for the different volumes in which they will appear. I am thankful to Fr Biju Madathikunnel and to Fr Sanjay Vincent for helping to format these articles and to present them in this digital form. And to Brendan Kelly, the Secretary General, I express my gratitude for the assistance in ensuring that these essays reach the Unit Superiors. I am thankful to the Unit Superiors for making sure that these essays are sent out immediately and promptly to members, lay associates and the larger Redemptorist family.
I would urge all the (V) Provincials and Superiors together with the contact persons to seriously take forward this great Jubilee project on all levels within the (V) Province. All that we can do together, will certainly have a stronger evangelizing impact. May we truly experience this continuing Jubilee celebration as a time of grace for us all.
With Christ is Plentiful Redemption
With Mary is Perpetual Help
Juventius Andrade CSsR
President of the Commission for the celebration of the Jubilee of the Icon.