The new book “Redemptorist Forces Chaplains: The Redeemer Abroad” released in April tells the story of the London Province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer during the First and Second World Wars. In 1914 and again in 1939 the Cardinal called for priests to serve as chaplains in the armed forces. It is estimated that over 500 Redemptorists served worldwide walking alongside the service men and women of all nations as they went into the darkest and most dangerous situations, walking forth as a sign of hope and in order that they might not be alone. The London Province itself sent over 40 priests to serve as chaplains, three of whom were killed in action. Fr. Bernard Kavanagh CSsR CF was shot by a sniper whilst administering the last rights to a dying soldier on the Mount of Olives and is buried in Jerusalem. Fr. Charles Watson CSsR CF collapsed in the desert and died after offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the troops. A naval chaplain Fr. Thomas Bradley CSsR RN served during both wars before being killed after his ship was sunk in the Indian Ocean while on route to visit the isolated South African Redemptorists to make a visitation.
The book follows the lives of ten Redemptorists: seven who served as chaplains and three who served as Provincial Superior during wartime, a very particular premiership. It also follows the story of the houses and parishes that made up the London Province and how the priests and brothers served the people left behind, becoming self-sufficient by turning the monastery gardens into vegetable gardens and by training to be Air Raid Wardens (ARP).
You will learn what happened to the children of the school after it was bombed and how the Redemptorists cared for their displaced parishioners. You will join the brethren as the curiosity at Zeppelin Bombers turns in to a terrible fear during the Blitz and then into abject terror when the first missiles were fired on London. Hear the stories of the Redemptorists who fled Poland, Belgium and those who were captured as prisoners of war. The chaplains served in every theatre of conflict and some suffered horrendous injuries going unarmed into danger to bring the light of Christ the Redeemer to those who needed light so badly. At the end of war the Redemptorists sang the Te Deum and prayed for a lasting peace that would bring fulfilment to the prayer of Christ that we may be one.
“Redemptorist Forces Chaplains: The Redeemer Abroad” is available on Amazon worldwide costing £10 in paperback and £9.99 on Kindle.
Christopher L Reynolds