(Mississauga, USA) As many of you know, during the week of October 15-19, 2018 Redemptorists from North America gathered at Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre in Mississauga, ON for the last of the conference visitations of the General Government. The subject matter of the meeting was to learn about the decisions of the recent 25th General Chapter, Phase II in 2016 whose theme was “Witnesses of the Redeemer: In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World.” The meeting was facilitated by Br. Jeffrey Rolle, CSsR from the General Government and Fr. Jack Kingsbury, CSsR, North American Conference Co-Ordinator. There were approximately 47 attendees including members of Edmonton-Toronto, Yorkton, Baltimore, and Denver as well as some international confreres from Liguori and Bangalore Provinces.
In addition, but no less significant was the presence of three of Edmonton-Toronto Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer. Their presence is now a natural part of many of our gatherings as they share in our charism and mission. This gathering was uniquely special because we welcomed a new lay missionary among us; her name is Margie Janson from St. John’s NL (see story on page 5). It was a delight to see her among us and to watch the ranks of the Lay Missionaries grow. We Redemptorists take great pride in their presence among us because it shows a model of collaboration among the professed and laity that is needed in an increasingly polarized society and Church. It is also inspiring to see the charism of the Redemptorists continue to touch the minds, hearts and lives of people.
The meetings comprised both large and small group sessions. One day was given to a retreat day early in the week to ‘set the tone’ for the discussions. Br. Jeffrey gave three talks that many said helped focus their minds and set a context for the discussions.
The facilitators helped the assembly learn about the 52 decisions of the General Chapter and it certainly provoked much discussion.
Perhaps the most significant day of discussion was Thursday when the implications of the 52 decisions for the North American Conference were discussed. From this came animated discussions in both the small and large groups. Clearly, the meaning of these decisions is an ongoing deliberation that will continue over the coming sexennium.
The week culminated in the celebration of this year’s Jubilarians with a Mass and dinner and the customary toasts. The Jubilarians are Joe Murphy, Bill Fitzgerald, Ray Douziech, Tom O’Rourke, and Jacek Cydzik. All were present with the exception of Joe Murphy. However, he was not forgotten as our archivist MC Havey created a powerpoint presentation about Joe’s life and ministry that was warmly received with gratitude for him and the wish of many more years of good health now that he has embarked on his second century of life!
Speaking of MC, it was with both sadness and gratitude that we honoured her time with us as the archivist. MC will retire soon and she was feted in style by Fr. Jim Mason CSsR. We wish MC and her family good health and happiness in their future. We offer our sincere gratitude to her for her many years of dedication and service to the history and the future of Redemptorists in Canada.
There is much change happening in our conference and the congregation. Certainly, this week shows the whole conference is pondering how we are present in Canada and the United States. Within Canada, the formation of a new province brings us into a world of unknowns that hold both promise and uncertainty. As always we seek the intercession of our saints and blesseds, Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide us in both our country and the congregation.
Fr. Tony Bidgood, C.Ss.R.
(Community Connections, November 2018)