UNESER (Unión Nacional de Ex-Seminaristas Redentoristas / National Union of Former Redemptorist Seminarians) conducts and supports ERESER’s (Encuentros Regionales de Ex-Seminaristas Redentoristas / Regional Meetings of Former Redemptorist Seminarians) in several states of Brazil and even in Paraguay, and ENESER (National Meeting) in Aparecida, SP, in July.
On April 24-26, 2020, another encounter of former seminarians who studied at Holy Redeemer Seminary was to be held in the city of Sacramento, State of Minas Gerais.
The Organizing Team of this ERESER Sacramento analyzed the current situation caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic, considering together with the Board of Directors what would be the most appropriate determination to follow. With much tranquility and transparency, and considering the prudence, cooperation with the necessary social isolation, respect for life, supreme and most valuable gift, solidarity to the collective efforts in the fight against Covid 19, the Organizing Team chose to defer this meeting.
As it happens every year, there was a great expectation for the realization of the Meeting. UNESER holds its annual meeting in July in Aparecida and encourages the holding of Regional Meetings in various locations in Brazil. It is because UNESER values these meetings very much, both the national and the regional meetings. The objectives are a) to relive the good times of the seminary, with festivity and joy; b) to evaluate how our relationship with the God of Life is, through reflection and prayer; c) to look to the future, analyzing how to incarnate and live the Redemptorist charism inherited by Alphonsus de Liborio, of bringing abundant redemption, especially to the poorest and most abandoned.
All this can be seen in all the meetings that have taken place: for the celebration of fellowship, for the joyful sharing, for the reunion with former friends of the seminary, for the recollection of the events that have taken place, for the moments of prayer, for the reflection on the Redemptorist charism and its experience in the present day.
It was not possible to hold this Easter of 2020 in Sacramento, which would have happened on another occasion. Even without the face-to-face meeting, there was intense intercommunication among the people who would participate in the face-to-face meeting. This wonderful experience was characterized by the use of the technical resources of the Internet and the diverse applications used in social networks of relationship, with the exchange of messages, rounds of conversations, videoconference, videos, and texts, as well as the sending of images.
During these three days in which the Sacrament Meeting would take place, the fathers who were formators there and those who consecrated themselves or became diocesan, ex-seminarians and family members shared beautiful messages, posted a beautiful collection of photographs, and recalled the events experienced during the time of formation in the seminary, They reawakened their faith in the God of Life, recorded their gratitude to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in the figure of their formators, gave testimonies of their actions in community life inside and outside the Church, and ratified their affection for the Redemptorist charism of St. Alphonsus.
It is appropriate to recall that the intense intercommunication surprised everyone, leaving hearts reawakened, as happened to the Disciples of Emmaus when they heard the words of the Risen Christ. The Church reflected on this Gospel passage on Sunday, 26 April, when the Sacrament Meeting would be closed. As we gathered during those three days, albeit virtually, we had countless opportunities to revive our faith in the God of Life; increase our courage in building the Kingdom of God; recall the premises of the Redemptorist charism; remember that solidarity with people and the practice of charity.
We dream that former Redemptorist seminarians from all over the world will be able to hold these meetings, to remember and to revive the Redemptorist charism, carrying out as lay people, works and actions together with the Redemptorist Fathers, in this challenge to bring the abundant redemption to people, especially the poorest and most abandoned.
Luiz Silvério Silva, Financial Director of UNESER.
Vicente de Paula Alves, Social Director of UNESER.