Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, on behalf of Pope Francis, addressed a letter to Father General on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the death of St. Clement. Recalling the significant facts from the life of our Saint Confrere, the Cardinal emphasized his passion to work for God and for his neighbor and the great faith of St. Clement, who trusted God even in difficult situations, amidst misunderstandings and failures.
St. Clement Hofbauer urges contemporary Christian communities to leave behind worldly security and outdated pastoral schemes and free themselves from fears and laziness so that they can welcome the cry of the wounded men and women which rises from our cities today, and thus bring the joy of the Gospel everywhere. – we read in the letter.
In conclusion, the Cardinal expresses the wishes of the Holy Father and communicates the papal blessing to all those celebrating the Jubilee of St Clement.
Below we present the full text of the letter from the Vatican (translated from Italian)
Vatican, March 7, 2020
Reverend Father Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.,
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
Via Merulana, 31
In your courteous letter of February 2, you informed the Holy Father about the Bicentenary of the death of St. Clement Hofbauer, C.Ss.R. You also asked that he present once again this unique and multifaceted man to the Christians of our time.
His Holiness, welcoming this devout gesture, shares the joy of your Congregation and hopes that the celebrations in question will constitute a precious opportunity to make increasingly known and welcome the witness of this Saintly Confrere. Faithful to the apostolic spirit of the Founder, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, St. Clement made every effort to proclaim the Gospel in the peripheries of his time and to bring the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer beyond the Alps, laying the foundations for its subsequent growth throughout the world.
His life’s journey was always guided by a deep faith, a faith that he learned on his mother’s knee, in his native Tasswitz, in Moravia. Despite numerous and painful events, and in different social and political contexts, this faith led him to abandon himself with full confidence into the arms of the Heavenly Father and not to lose hope in realizing his dream of being a priest despite numerous obstacles. Welcomed into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he took this unexpected opportunity as a particular grace and a further call to serve the cause of the Gospel and to witness to the precious treasure of faith, initially in Poland, because of the laws in force at that time in his homeland, and then, later, in Vienna.
This faith, deeply rooted in his very being, and enriched by the teachings of the Founder, led him to consider the unbelief and distance from God of many of his contemporaries as dangerous, almost unnatural. As a result, he continuously sought to find new ways of bringing the joy of the Gospel to all, promoting ever richer experiences of humanity and Christian life.
Clement’s passion for the work of God was reflected in his passion for his brothers and sisters and led him to put himself at the service of the poor in the city of Warsaw. Through material aid, he offered to abandoned orphans, to foundlings, to girls and young people of every nation and religion present in the city, the possibility of a more dignified life, freed from illiteracy and moral dangers. He trusted always in divine Providence and in the help of generous people, whom he did not neglect to ask for alms and collaboration for love of these brothers and sisters.
Transferred to Vienna in his later years, his missionary concern extended to other ‘peripheries’: to the university world and to that of culture. He attracted many illustrious scientists and artists, inviting them not only to approach the Church, but also to an intense and conscious spiritual life. He sought to satisfy their inner poverty, in different but not dissimilar ways from those that led the Founder to become passionate about the condition of the poor and uneducated peasants of Southern Italy. He gave particular attention to the world of youth and especially to the students, who saw him as a welcoming friend and a priest whose faith and goodness were contagious to those who approached him. Thanks to this commitment, men and women, young and old, noble and bourgeois, scholars and artists, state officials and prelates, students and professors trusted his leadership and spread his spirituality, exercising their influence in all areas of society.
His faith led him to hope against all hope in the firm conviction that “what seems impossible to human beings is always possible to God”. St. Clement Hofbauer urges contemporary Christian communities to leave behind worldly security and outdated pastoral schemes and free themselves from fears and laziness so that they can welcome the cry of the wounded men and women which rises from our cities today, and thus bring the joy of the Gospel everywhere.
While offering fervent wishes for the success of the Bicentennial Celebrations, the Holy Father invokes the heavenly protection of this Holy Confrere and of Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, and heartily imparts to you, to the entire Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and to all who will participate in these celebrations his Apostolic Blessing, a pledge of every grace and renewed missionary commitment.
I unite my personal best wishes, and confirm my own feeling of religious esteem for Your Reverend Paternity,
Pietro Card. Parolin
Segretario di Stato