How does St. Alphonsus inspire us today? How or in what way does he encourage us now? And does he speak to our hearts to respond to the signs of our times? – Using the following questions, Fr. Rogério Gomes, CSsR, Superior General praying at the tomb of the Founder of our Congregation, invited the Major Superiors of the Congregation to reflect with him about the Redemptorist mission in today’s world.
On Saturday, March 11, at the conclusion of their gathering in Rome, the Provincials, Viceprovincials and Regional Superiors and the General Council made a pilgrimage to Pagani and Ciorani, the first Redemptorist houses founded by St Alphonsus de Liguori.
Fr. Rogério Gomes, Superior General, presided over the Mass concelebrated by the Major Superiors in the St. Alphonsus Chapel in the Basilica of Pagani. In his homily, Fr. General pointed out some ways that the Founder of our Congregation inspires the Redemptorist today to continue living the charism and carrying forward the mission entrusted to the Congregation. – Fr Rogério insisted that as Redemptorists we should not be afraid of the challenging times in which we live in and we ought to keep alive our dedication to the Most Holy Redeemer; not forget the abandoned people; have trust in God and leave room for the Providence of God to act in our planning. He cautioned the Major Superiors, “we must be very careful when we have all the answers. Often, the answer is found on the way when we walk together. Often our answers are born on our Emmaus roads and not within our offices or temples. Walking and working together to be a missionary body with others is a constant learning process.”
The Major Superiors visited the Alphonsian museum in Pagani, guided by Fr. Ivel Mendanha, CSsR, who provided valuable information on the life of St. Alphonsus and explained interesting details about the house as the pilgrims walked through the rooms marked by the presence of St Alphonsus and prayed in the room where he breathed his last. They made note of the precious vestiges and artefacts of his life.
From Pagani, the pilgrims travelled to Ciorani, the Mother House of the Congregation where they were welcomed by Fr. Serafino Fiore, CSsR, Provincial Superior of the Naples Province and by Fr. Maurizio Iannuario, CSsR, novice master, together with six novices.
In Ciorani, the Major Superiors visited the Alphonsian museum and the “Chapter Room”, where St. Alphonsus and his first companions held the First Chapter after the approval of the Rule in 1749 and took their vow and oath of perseverance. It was a moving moment when the confreres kept a moment of silent prayer at Fr. Ivel’s invitation to renew their commitment to the Redemptorist charism and live with fidelity their vow and oath of perseverance.
At the end of the visit to Ciorani, the Major Superiors prayed Vespers in the chapel of Blessed Gennaro Sarnelli, where his relics rest. This was a fitting end to the one week formation course for Major Superiors of the English language.
Read the entire homily by Fr General at St. Alphonsus’ tomb in Pagani