About 200 Redemptorist missionaries, priests, brothers, and a few non-religious representatives, are gathered at the Casa de Hospedagem Santo Afonso in Aparecida for the extraordinary visit of the General Government of the congregation.
Representatives from the provinces of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza and Porto Alegre units are present at the meeting.
The feeling of fraternity unites different generations. In the audience you can see the serene faces of those who already have grey hair and the natural excitement of the younger ones. But all are united before a great and challenging question: what will be the future of the Redemptorist family?
The coordination of the visit is under the responsibility of the Superior General, Father Michael Brehl, who opened his speech by recalling the message of the XXV General Chapter. “I want to confirm with you the inspiration of the capitulars gathered in Thailand in 2016 with the theme “witnesses of the Redeemer in Solidarity for the Mission in a Wounded World.”
Father Brehl further emphasized that “Redemptorists must witness to a person – Jesus Christ – who is much greater than an idea.” What is essential to the process of restructuring must be to care for the poor from the perspective of the Redeemer.
The purpose of this process, rather than the practice of uniting human structures and efforts, is to convert the missionaries to a vision of mission that includes missionary work in a global way. Redemptorists are placed before the challenge of pastoral updating. Breaking “neighborhoods” and prejudices will be one of the first challenges to be overcome. Other things will follow, such as the issue of initial training and administrative organization, for example.
Father Rogério Gomes, General Consulter and also one of the coordinators of the visit, believes that “the extraordinary visit of the General Government is an opportunity to share the personal and pastoral stories of each confrere.” For him the restructuring of the congregation goes through the “discovery of God Who continues to unite all those who decide to follow Him more closely.”
Still on the restructuring, Father Inácio de Medeiros, the provincial superior of Sao Paulo, affirms that “in order to face the challenges of restructuring we need, above all, an openness of mind and heart.” With that, he adds, “we understand that we are not simply losing our history and values, but taking on new values.”
Fr Evaldo Souza, CSsR