by Fr. Pete Schavitz, C.Ss.R.
The last phase of Redemptorist formation in the North American Conference is Transition to Ministry and Apostolic Community (TMAC), specifically for men in their first five years of full-time ministry after final profession or ordination. The latest session of the TMAC program was held at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, NJ, United States.
A total of 19 confreres participated, including Fr. Pete Schavitz and Fr. Bob Wojtek, co-directors of the program, and Fr. Thomas Ha of the Extra-Patriam Vice Province, who assists them. The Unit breakdown of participants was: 10 from the Extra-Patriam Vice Province, 6 from the Baltimore Province, and 2 from the Denver Province.
Unfortunately, there were 10 absentees for a variety of reasons. Eumir Bautista (Canada) was the Brother chosen to represent the Conference and was involved with Phase 1 of the General Chapter. Michael Cunningham and Ako Walker (Baltimore) had both tested positive for COVID-19. Thomas Hoang (Extra-Patriam) and AJ Riviere (Baltimore) were involved with studies. Loi Nguyen, Quan Nguyen, and Truong Nguyen (Extra-Patriam) are preparing for their priesthood ordinations on June 11. Royce Thomas (Baltimore) had visa difficulties. Huy Vu (Denver) is transitioning to his new assignment.
Monday was the travel date, with the majority arriving late due to flight delays and cancellations. Tuesday began with the usual check-in format. Dr. Patrick Hayes, Baltimore Province archivist, was the presenter for the Tuesday afternoon and evening sessions. He spoke about the history of the early Redemptorists in America.
Phase I of the General Chapter for the North American Conference took place at the same time at West End. Our free day was moved to Thursday so that TMAC participants could attend a special festive meal for Father General Michael Brehl.
Wendy Barnes, a Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer with the Denver Province, led a presentation about Partners in Mission (PIM) on Wednesday. Against a history of PIM in the Congregation and the Conference, Wendy excitedly shared what is happening throughout all Units of the Conference, and her great hope for the future.
TMAC participants expressed their appreciation for both presenters and topics.
At our final Eucharist together, we blessed our six “graduates” who have completed their five years in the program, including our own Fr. John Son Tran.
After prayer and breakfast Friday morning, the exodus began as everyone started the trek home for weekend ministries. The next TMAC session will take place on November 14-18 in Oconomowoc.