Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Every newborn child brings home to us the message that God has not given up his hope in humankind’. Perhaps it is true of every new entrance of candidates to our Redemptorist Congregation, that God still has a plan and purpose for us in the World of today. At present, there are thirteen candidates doing their noviciate formation program in our St. Gerard Majella Inter (V) Provincial Novitiate of the Conference of Asia-Oceania at Lipa, Philippines. They hail from the (V) Provinces of Manila, Cebu, Thailand, Singapore- Malaysia, Canada, Dublin and Colombo. (Incidentally, their Novice Master, Fr. George is from Bangalore Province, and the Socius, Fr. Mario Petyolus Tua, is from the Province of Indonesia!). The present Noviciate Community consists of 15 members of 10 different Nationalities. The restructuring of the Congregation is really taking shape!
In his homily during the Mass for the installation of the new Noviciate Formators, on 24th July, quoting Paul Hitz, Fr. Raymond, the Vice Provincial of the Host Unit, Manila, invited the Novices to enter the depths of their selves with the Lord, who entered even the place of dead, to discover the presence of the Risen Lord. It is, like Alphonsus, entering into the world of the dead in Scala, to announce and to bring to them, the plentiful Redemption that Jesus has accomplished for us. He warmly welcomed everyone present and appreciated the generosity of each one.
The formation in the Philippines, especially the Noviciate, is well known for its focus on Missionary Orientation, which is the hallmark of the Redemptorists from the time of its inception by Alphonsus. Along with the Biblical foundations of consecrated life, the Novices will be introduced to the Charism of our Founding Fathers and the Spirituality of the C. Ss. R., in the light of which they are enabled to read accurately the signs of the times and the needs of the people, especially the poor and the most abandoned, in order to be messengers of hope for them. The Novices also follow a formation program viz. ‘Exodus’ along with other Novices of this region belonging to other Congregations. It is a very well worked out program for integral formation by experienced persons, for the last 36 years. Our life in the Common Noviciate, with the support of a Missionary community and all the exposures, enables the Novices to overcome many of their inhibitions and break the barriers and boundaries, and cultivate a missionary attitude to be messengers of hope belonging to the Redemptorist Congregation.
We wish and pray that the good work that the Lord has begun in these young Novices may be brought to completion and fruitfulness in the days to come.
Fr. George Puthenpura C. Ss. R.