58 Redemptorists, confreres and lay associates are meeting at the Marianella Retreat House – Atyrá in Paraguay from 7 to 18 May 2023 for Phase III of the XXVI General Chapter. Rogério Gomes, Superior General, and Fr. Jairo Díaz represent the General Government. There are two members of the General Curia, Fr. José Carlos Linhares, Procurator General and Fr. Vicente Soria, Econome General, and the Conference Coordinator, Fr. Marcelo Araújo. The other confreres and three lay associates came from all the units of Latin America and the Caribbean (Haiti, Cuba, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Central America, Bogotá, Caracas, Quito, Bolivia, Peru North and Peru South, Argentina, Resistencia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, the nine units of Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Goiás, Manaos, Porto Alegre, Campo Grande and the mission of Surinam), three lay associates from Argentina, Peru and Brazil.
Fr. Rogério Gomes, C.Ss.R., presented the opening message of the third phase of the XXVI General Chapter of the Congregation held at the Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean level. He started his address by explaining the so-called “Implementation Phase” objective: to communicate the message and orientation established by the Canonical Phase of the General Chapter, to define a simple, bold and effective Strategic Plan.
“This is not the time to discuss the decisions or why they were taken, but to study how best to implement them, according to our charism,” the Superior General said.
Pentecost was the inspiration for this third phase of the XXVI General Chapter. Father Rogério Gomes brings the text of the Acts of the Apostles to recall the crises faced by the disciples and the community after the death of Christ and how the same crises were fundamental to consolidating identity and determining the steps for the future. In the words of the Superior General: “The crisis is the possibility for us to rebuild. If we are here, it is because we went through the crisis of being expelled from the womb. If the crisis purifies us, the stagnation buries us because it makes us neither hot nor cold” (cf. Rev. 3, 15-16).
To overcome stagnation and absorb the lessons learned through crises, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer will be driven by five key elements, defined in the Canonical Phase in 2022. They are identity, mission, consecrated life, formation and leadership. Recalling these themes and the motto of the next six-year period, “Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer”, the Superior General raises questions and asks for reflections:
“How do these themes and the Chapter motto inspire us? What does this mean in this Pentecost experience of the third phase and for the sexennium? How does this resonate in my Redemptorist heart as a consecrated person and as a missionary animating the life of the confreres, in a leadership role and as a lay person associated with the Redemptorist mission?”.
Finally, Fr. Rogerio takes up the motto of the next six years to point out four dimensions of hope to ponder upon: theological hope, anthropological hope, hope in the world and hope in the Congregation.
“May Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, give us the courage to persevere, especially in times of despair, and may our saints, blessed, martyrs, and venerables inspire us in missionary zeal,” he concludes.