Redemptorist Missionaries throughout the world are joyfully engaged in a three year celebration (2015-2017), marking a Sesquicentennial event.
In 1866, Pope Pius IX solemnly committed the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to their Religious family, known also as the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. In the Latino countries, preparation and animation of activities related to the Jubilee celebration are well underway
Accordingly, Redemptorist confreres from the South American and Caribbean areas met in the city of Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, Brazil, between August 18 and 21. The purpose of this encounter was to strengthen and expand this devotion among the People of God in the region. Curitiba was chosen for this assembly because of its well known, popular shrine dedicated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This holy place of prayer receives close to 40 thousand devotees every Wednesday when 17 novenas are scheduled throughout the day.
The 41 Redemptorist participants included the Superior General of the Congregation, Father Michael Brehl; the Vicar General, Father Enrique Lopez; the Coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Conference, Father Manuel Rodriguez; the Provincial of São Paulo and President of the Redemptorist Union of Brazil (URB), Father Rogerio Gomes; and the Provincial of Campo Grande, Father Henrique Lima, who warmly welcomed all the confreres.
The Missionaries concluded their Congress, strengthened and more certain of their overall objective regarding the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The Redemptorists will respond with renewed vigor for our time the charge of Pope Pius IX 150 years ago, to “make her known throughout the world”. This effort will be part and parcel of Redemptorist apostolic life. Through this beloved Icon, they will proclaim to all men and women, especially those on the outskirts of mainstream society, the Good News of Christ the Redeemer.
Specifically, the Redemptorists intend to put into practice a plan of action outline during their meeting in Curitiba, with emphasis on conducting Novenas, retreats and parish missions:
The Missionaries will endeavor to:
Always keep the centrality of Jesus in devotional celebrations in honor of Our Lady, but always highlighting her importance in the history of salvation;
Renew a profound spirituality and theology of redemption which emphasizes mercy, hope and joy, always underlining it in the message of Icon;
Evangelize from a personal devotion and inner conviction, so that the Redemptorist becomes a missionary-disciple;
Give evangelizing continuity in the years ahead, after the 150 year commemoration, building upon the Jubilee event;
Deepen the theology and spirituality of the Icon so as to animate the Redemptorist Mission of evangelization throughout the regions of Latin America;
Strengthen and expand the social dimension of the Icon so that devotion gives way to Christian action.
The assembly was highly rated by all Redemptorist missionaries who took part. The Superior General, Father Brehl, thanked the Province of Campo Grande and the Union of Redemptorists of Brazil (URB) for their welcome and efforts in successfully planning this encounter. Besides contributing to the Jubilee celebrations, he affirmed that the meeting will encourage all to strengthen the dissemination of this devotion.
In conclusion, the participants remained reinforced in the devotion and deep spiritual message that emanates from the Sacred Icon.
Father Joaquim Parron, CSsR
Ana Paula R. Ferreira, Journalist