For Redemptorists, the month of June is marked by the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This year, the parish of Most Holy Redeemer in Madrid celebrated it with a link to the spirit of synodality that the Church asks of us.
We tried to contemplate Mary as THE WOMAN WHO WANTS TO HELP. The Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid, Msgr. José Cobo, who opened the Triduum, asked in his homily how Mary helps us. And he gave the following answers: by giving ourselves to Jesus Christ, building the Church at the origins of Christianity with the apostles, and walking at our side to enlighten the new times.
Over the next two days, the preaching was done by two women, Professor Guadalupe Seijas and Dr Prado Pérez from Madrid. Both were mothers of families. Their meditations were two testimonies of current faith and two proofs of the maturity of women to assume the service of preaching in our celebrations.
During the Eucharistic celebration, four adults placed at the foot of the Icon the Ukrainian flag, a gift made to the parish for sending a truckload of non-perishable food, days before the Triduum, for Ukrainians housed in Redemptorist communities in Poland.
The procession with the icon inside the church was silent, with only the sound of Haitian maracas played by children in front of the icon. In Haiti, Our Lady of Perpetual Help is called Notre Dame d’Haiti, the patroness of the country. On that day, remembrance and prayer were marked by the assassination in Port-au-Prince, a few days earlier, of the Italian Little Sister of the Gospel (Charles de Foucauld) Louise Dell Otto, who had served the poorest people of Port-au-Prince for 20 years.
To give the parish visibility in the life of the neighbourhood, we decorated the front of the parish with banners to suggest the spirit of the celebration and to set the scene for a couple of hours with all the neighbours of the neighbourhood at the end of the liturgy.
Music played an important role on all three days. On the first day, the choir of the Schola Gregoriana from Madrid sang; on the following day, the parish choir sang, and the Virgin’s medal was presented to the children. On the day of the Virgin, the ‘Brisas del Guadiana’ choir sang for the Eucharist, and for the street party, the musical trio ‘Aura Acústico’. At the Eucharist on Sunday and Monday, Armenian duduk master Hovhannes Karakhanyan played several pieces.
Throughout the week, an exhibition of photos of the neighbourhood before the buildings that characterise it today was set up in the windows of the Liguori Hall. It was a success because many adults came with their children or grandchildren to explain the evolution and creation of the streets, including the construction of the parish church.
The second cultural event was the presentation of Professor Marciano Vidal’s new book – Facing War: Building a Just World Order. Fr. Vidal offered a theological-moral reflection on the wartime invasion of Ukraine.
The third and final cultural event was the prayerful reading of the book of poems ‘INESPERADA LUZ’ (Unexpected Light), by Mari Sol Pérez Guevara. The author and Ana García Castellano gave the presentation and reading. Piano teacher María Fernández Dobao provided the musical accompaniment. Thus, praying and savouring the beauty of the Gospel, we completed this concluding act of the Triduum and the pastoral course.
Fr. José Miguel de Haro, C.Ss.R.