“We have been a mission since 1972” – reads the theme chosen for the 50th anniversary of the St Gerard parish, located at Calle Maqueda, 45, in Madrid, Spain. Fr. Francisco J. Caballero, C.Ss.R, Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Missionaries; Fr. Damián Mª Montes, C.Ss.R, pastor of St. Gerard; Fr. David López, dean and pastor of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Aluche-Campamento; Fr. Álvaro Maldonado, pastor of St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori parish in neighbourhood, as well as the Redemptorist community and other confreres from other communities in Madrid took part in the inauguration celebration on January 29. At the celebration that began the Jubilee Year, were present all the parish groups. The jubilee celebrations will culminate in October.
In his homily, Fr. Francisco J. Caballero said that “St. Gerard was characterised by the search for God’s will” throughout his life” throughout his life”. And he added: “Do not forget that your parish community is like a building, whose foundation and cornerstone is Jesus Christ, and you are like the living stones that build the building. In this way, you can be a sign of God’s loving presence in the city”. Fr. Caballero highlighted the apostolic dynamism of the parish. It could be seen in these years, as the parish has been growing and maturing as a community of faith, hope and charity, especially towards the neediest, above all, through the work of the parish Caritas.
– “There are many of you who have received the Christian faith (Baptism), – Fr. Provincial continued – many of you who have known Jesus and his Gospel, who have met Him and have matured in faith by listening to and accepting the Word of God and have nourished your Christian life in prayer and the sacraments; and many others, who have discovered and followed the path of their Christian vocation here, have found in it strength for the mission and the testimony of faith, reasons for hope, comfort in affliction and help in need. It is a joy to see how generations of grandparents, parents and grandchildren continue it”.
Finally, Fr. Francisco J. Caballero encouraged the parishioners to look, pray and contemplate Our Mother of Perpetual Help. – “It is Jesus who invites us to welcome Her ‘into our home’, that is, into ourselves, into our families, into our society. Mary is our Mother, and she never ceases to tell us: Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5)”.
For his part, Fr. Damian Mª Montes assured the Redemptorist Communication Centre that “It is a real joy to serve in the community of St. Gerard and to bring our missionary vocation so that the merciful love of God reaches all the neighbours of this neighbourhood”.
Fr. Damian also talked about the involvement in the synodal consultation, and he explained how the parishioners could take part in it. He insisted on the interest of all to be involved in opening their groups and spaces to people who do not usually participate in the life of the community and to the poor.
After the celebration, a tree was planted in the parish gardens, and the new parish halls were inaugurated. For the first time, in the words of Miguel Ángel Moreno, head of Communications of the parish of San Gerardo, “the whole community was able to visit these spaces which are distinguished by their clarity and the careful details of the transparent panels inspired by the colours of the cross which presides over the parish church”.
At the ceremony, a plaque was also unveiled in homage to the people who have given life to the community for 50 years, which will remain, according to Moreno, “as a reminder of all those who contributed to the missionary history of the parish”.
website of the Parish: Parish of San Gerardo
source: Redemptorist Missionaries, Province of Madrid (www.redentoristas.org)