The RJ-MG-ES Province celebrates the 100th anniversary of Father José Luciano Jacques Penido, C.Ss.R.: A great moment of gratitude, joy and celebration! On this centenary, we also praise God for the eight decades of work as a Redemptorist Missionary, a path marked by fidelity to the Redemptorist charism, by dedication and perseverance in the service of the poorest and most abandoned, following in the footsteps of Saint Alphonsus, founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
The oldest Redemptorist Missionary in Brazil and the first centenary of the Province of Rio turns 100 years and is firm in his resolve to serve God and the Church. He reveals that the secret to achieving longevity is to do God’s will: “I have to thank God for this clarity. I feel sane, intelligent, open to the newness of life and, above all, in conformity with the will of God. This brings me peace, joy and fulfilment of my life not only religious but Christian.”
Father Penido was born in Belo Vale (MG), on 10/18/1922, together with his twin brother Paulo. son of Mr Henrique and Maria José, who received the sacrament of baptism on 01/28/1923. From an early age, he dreamed of being a priest. “In 1934, around the age of 11, his father sent him to Congonhas seminary because it was the closest school. He already wanted to be a priest, but he didn’t even think of a Redemptorist as such. When he arrived at the Juniorate, he got to know more closely the work of the Redemptorist Missionaries, in particular the eloquence of Father Ferreira, who awakened in him the enthusiasm for the missions and for the religious life. It was a great stimulus for studies and, later, for the religious experience”, reveals the priest.
After his vocational experience in Congonhas (MG), Father Penido moved to Juiz de Fora (MG) to make the novitiate. It was there that he lived with Father Gregório, who guided him to remain faithful to his Redemptorist vocation and formation, following the example of Father Ferreira, a missionary who inspired him so much. After a year he went to Tietê (SP), where he studied philosophy. He continued his theology studies and was transferred to Floresta Seminary, in the city of Juiz de Fora, whose land was donated by the Penido family.
On 2/2/1942 Father Penido made his religious vows in the Redemptorist Congregation and on 20/7/1947 he was ordained a priest in the Parish of São José, in Belo Horizonte (MG). He passed through some Redemptorist communities in the RJ-MG-ES Province and held some positions, including that of Provincial Superior from 1962 to 1967. In Rome (Italy), he studied Journalism at the International University of Rome and Moral Theology at the Alphonsian Academy, from 1967 to 1969.
Since 1975 Father Penido has resided in Rio de Janeiro, at the Redemptorist Community, where he works pastorally in the Parish of St. Alphonsus and celebrated Mass at 11 every Sunday, with timely and appropriate homilies. He is very dear to the parishioners, who consider him a priest with a big heart, caring, kind, humble and affectionate with people. As a spiritual guide at the head of various pastorals, he guided the faithful with zeal and with his missionary witness, always in the light of the Redemptorist charism.
From his entry into the Juniorate of Congonhas to the present day, Father Penido keeps many events in his memory. One of those that marked him the most was a missionary trip, in which there was a terrible accident with the bus he was on. “Once on a mission, the bus they were on had slashed tires. They had to get out of the vehicle and found, 4 meters away, a dying man who had been hit and was dying. I knelt before him, listened to his confession and gave him absolution. It was an extraordinary fact in my missionary life”, says the Redemptorist.
With all his experience, his example of life, vocational constancy and missionary zeal, Father Penido speaks of the feeling that every vocation must carry in his heart to become a Redemptorist Missionary: “First of all, it is necessary to have a great love for Jesus Christ! From this love derives the generosity of surrendering fully to the will of God, which is manifested in the acts of life, in the Holy Bible and in the example they have of so many people, such as the Redemptorist Missionaries!.”
He lived 80 years as a Redemptorist Missionary, 75 years of priesthood and 100 years of life! An inspiring vocational witness and a courageous example of a life rooted in the Redeemer! For all this, the Province of RJ-MG-ES gives thanks to God! CONGRATULATIONS FATHER!