Dear Confreres, Formandi, Lay Associates of our Mission, Oblates, and Redemptorist Family!
Greetings to all!
We are celebrating the feast of Blessed Gaspar Stangassinger… Gaspar entered the Congregation with the intention of preaching the Gospel to the most abandoned. Instead, his superiors assigned him to train future missionaries.
Besides teaching, he always gave pastoral assistance in the churches of the neighboring villages, especially by preaching. Although very busy, he was always available, especially to the students, who saw him more as a friend than as a superior.
In his preaching, he invited everyone to have recourse to the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in times of need and distress.
On 26 September 1899, at the age of 28, he made his Passover to the Lord, due to illness. On this day I would like to remember and thank all Formators of the Congregation. Forming people and Redemptorist missionaries is a hard and beautiful task, an important mission that the Congregation asks of each one of you. Courage in this mission!
Personal formation, Redemptorist spirituality with its solid foundations, dialogue, listening, and discernment are important for this. Discernment is a very important word, both in formation and in our missionary and pastoral work.
On this day of Blessed Gaspar, I exhort each confrere in his different missionary works and the formandi to intensify their ongoing formation.
Ongoing formation is for life. It is a process that begins when we enter a house of formation and develops throughout our life from the personal, community, and (vice)provincial point of view, as a dynamic of personal conversion, of understanding and deepening of our consecration as a disciplic response to the Lord who calls and commitment to his mission in favor of the People of God.
Therefore, it goes beyond intellectual-academic formation. It touches all spheres of our life. If this is so, the quality of our initial formation depends on the quality of our ongoing formation. Lifelong learning is not an appendix for us.
In a world which is constantly changing and which presents us with new problems every day, we cannot continue to provide old answers to new problems. To cite just one example, in the field of morality and bioethics (new models of family, sexuality, etc.), if we do not keep up to date we are doing a disservice to the People of God. It is a question of personal and collective conscience as formators of conscience.
We all need to be formed and form ourselves!
Forming for so many things – mission, humanity, for the world, the Charism, our consciences, for freedom, for our interiority, discernment, Interculturality, – and forming ourselves for affectivity through our vows considering we are of the flesh, enables a sense of belonging and in so doing gives us the ability to create a culture of care – for others, our confreres and those who question.
Ongoing formation is for us Redemptorists a moral duty. We will not have magic and universal answers, but if we at least acquire the ability to dialogue and listen to our interlocutors, that is already a big step. In his preaching, Stangassinger did not resort to the threats of punishment that were common in the preaching of the time. Rather he was simple and direct, inspiring the faithful to trust and take the Christian life seriously. If we want to touch people’s hearts, we ought to follow Kasper’s example. We must prepare ourselves for this!
May Blessed Gaspar guide us on our path of holiness and our ongoing formation, as we, as Missionaries, try to serve the People of God.
Fr. Rogerio Gomes, CSsR.
VIDEO MESSAGE – BLESSED GASPARE STANGASSINGER