(10 May 2017, Lebanon) It was a historical day and a graceful moment for the Redemptorist congregation and the Lebanese Church on 10 May as the Redemptorist Mission was handed over to the Liguori province, India from St. Clement’s Province after two and half years of prayer, reflection, study and experiment.
The Mission of the Redemptorists in Lebanon was founded by the Flemish Confreres in 1953 as a Redemptorist presence in the region of the Oriental Churches. In 2005, St. Clement’s province was founded consisting of the Province of Brussels and three neighbouring European Provinces of the Redemptorist. Since then, St. Clement’s province took over the responsibility for the Mission in Lebanon. To guarantee a continuation of the Redemptorist presence in Lebanon, St. Clement’s Province invited the Liguori Province facilitated by the General Government of the Redemptorists for the Lebanese mission in November 2014.
The vision of this mission is that the presence of the Christian Churches in the Middle East is both ancient and important. The Popes have consistently insisted upon the importance of this presence, and especially in the last 50 years, religious congregations have been invited to establish a presence which will support, develop and nourish the Christian Churches. The Redemptorists have accepted this challenging invitation. As a missionary Congregation, we strive to be a prayerful and vibrant apostolic witness to the “Copiosa Redemptio” among the people of Lebanon by our ongoing presence in a wounded world.
The Redemptorist Mission in Lebanon consists of the Redemptorist House in Jdeidet-el Metn (Bouchrieh) in Beirut. There is a house, and a school which is rented and a chapel attached to the school. At the moment, two confreres from Liguori Province, Fr. Binoy Mandapathil and Fr. Binoy Antony Uppumackal and one Flemish confrere, Fr. Timon De Cock, the pioneer of the mission live in the House since November 2014. There are more properties belonging to the Redemptorist Mission in Roumieh and Harriet-El Bellaneh in the suburbs of Beirut.
To celebrate this event on the 20 the anniversary of the visit of Holy Father Pope John Paul II to Lebanon, there were many distinguished guests for the function. They are Rev. Fr. Michael Brehl- the superior General, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia -the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Cesar Essayan- Latin Bishop of Beirut, Fr Johannes Romelt, the provincial of St. Clement’s province, Fr. Timon De Cock, the pioneer of the mission, Mr. P. Sasi Kumar, the consular – Indian embassy, representatives from the headquarters of the army, municipality and other government officials. There was a gathering of 150 people for mass followed by the public meeting and a cocktail party. Fr. General in his homily emphasised the missionary dimension of the Redemptorist vocation as we commemorate three events on 10 May, – 65 anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Timon De Cock, the pioneer of the mission, the transfer of the mission and the jubilee of the Mother of Perpetual Help. It was a great day of joy and thanksgiving for the confreres here as we remember with gratitude Fr. Timon for his dedication, vision and sacrifices for the mission.
Fr. Joy Poonoly, C.Ss.R
Liguori Province – 5100