(Belo Horizonte, Brazil) The Meeting of Advisors and Coordinators of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries (MLR) of the new Unit RJ-SP-BA (Brazil) took place from September 18-20 at the São José Retreat House in Belo Horizonte (MG). The group shared about the MLR Directory, enjoyed moments of conviviality, and celebrated the Eucharist.
Province of Rio was represented by Fr. Nelson Antonio Linhares, C.Ss.R. (Provincial Superior), Fr. Edson Alves, C.Ss.R. (MLR Provincial Assessor), and the lay missionaries Ângelo Faria, Marleide de Fátima, and Eunice Baeta. From the Vice-Province of Bahia, were present Fr. Gilson da Silva, C.Ss.R. (MLR Provincial Advisor) and the lay Eliene Nascimento. Fr. Francisco de Assis, C.Ss.R. (MLR Provincial Advisor) and the laity Fábio Pavanello and Fernando Pires arrived from the Province of São Paulo.
The meeting started with a Eucharistic celebration with the intention of praying for the lay vocation and with the official welcome given by Fr. Edson Alves. Fr. Nelson Antonio Linhares reflected on the importance of the laity, especially during the period of restructuring, in the invitation to live Redemptorist spirituality with creativity and audacity, following the example of St. Clement. At the end of the celebration, everyone turned their gaze to the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, consecrating themselves to Mary, mother of the Redeemer. Later, in the conference room, the group reviewed its journey, and representatives of each Province shared the work done in their units.
On Saturday, the MLR chairpersons and coordinators reviewed the Directory of the Redemptorist Lay Missionaries, doing appropriate scores, revisions, and discussions, to prepare a single document for the new Unit RJ-SP-BA. In the evening, Fr. Gilson da Silva presided over the mass in the chapel. In his homily, he made a reference to the seeds that will be sprout, pruned but will grow more vigorously. Fr. Nelson Linhares gave the participants a booklet presenting spiritual reflection inspired by the paintings and stained-glass windows that decorate the chapel. Later, there was a time dedicated to fraternal being together, with music and life sharing.
On Sunday, the work began in the morning with a re-reading of the document and evaluation of the meeting. The whole group expressed its satisfaction with the meeting and the collaboration of those involved to respond to the new times’ demands. As Father Nelson said, the mutual listening and harmony of the discussions, they did already promised the building of great achievements in the future, favoring the harmony in the process of reconfiguration of the Provinces. Then, Fr. Francisco de Assis presided at the closing Eucharist and spoke on the importance that all, lay and consecrated, have before God in the invitation to the mission.
Based on the material studied and discussed previously by various nuclei of the future Province of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Bahia, the participants advanced in elaborating the Directory of Redemptorist Lay Missionaries, organizing it according to the priorities of restructuring. “This meeting is a response that we are already making possible in the approach of our charism and the elaboration of our work. The studies were fruitful and intense. Now, with the document undergoing a second revision, we will prepare a more formal correction, which will be presented to the assembly of consecrated persons of the new Redemptorist Unit, which will be able to deliberate on the material and if approved, we will take it as a working tool for the new period to be lived by the Provinces,” said Father Edson.
For the lay person, Angelo Farias, of the Don Muniz/Belo Horizonte Nucleus, the meeting of the lay missionary coordinators and provincial councilors made it possible to move forward toward the process of restructuring and unification of the new Redemptorist Unit, which requires responsibility and involvement of all. “In this meeting, we breathed, from the spirit and missionary action of the current Provinces, hope and commitment towards significant and systematic changes. Aware of the importance of the restructuring process, the path we have pointed out for the new Province will require each lay missionary to be fully involved in this process, leaving the comfort zone and current reality to, together with consecrated persons, deepen missionary communion in plurality. We want to be in tune with the challenges and fruits of the Province, and we reaffirm how graceful it is in our lives to drink from the rich spirituality and share the mission and charism of the Redemptorist Congregation,” stated the lay missionary.
The next meeting of the group will take place in 2022 in São Paulo.
A journalist from the Province of Rio