The new Province of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil was inaugurated on Foundation Day of Redemptorist Congregation.

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The Canonical Erection of the new Unit occurred in the National Shrine in Aparecida at Mass, presided over by Fr Rogério Gomes CSSR, Superior General. 

On Thursday, 9 November, the National Shrine of Aparecida witnessed the first chapter of the history of the new Redemptorist Province of Our Lady Aparecida.

At the Central Altar, on the day when the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer celebrated its 291st anniversary, the Redemptorist family gathered to accompany the Canonical Erection of the Province that will proudly bear the title of the Patroness of Brazil.

The Holy Mass was presided over by the Superior General of the Redemptorist Congregation, Fr Rogério Gomes, CSSR, and concelebrated by the first Government of the Province of Our Lady Aparecida, as well as the diocesan bishops Msgr Orlando Brandes, Archbishop of Aparecida (SP), Msgr José Eudes, Bishop of São João Del Rei (MG), and the Redemptorist bishops Msgr Darci José Nicioli, Archbishop of Diamantina (MG), Msgr Joércio Gonçalves Pereira, Bishop Emeritus of Coari (AM) and the Msgr Carlinhos, Bishop Emeritus of Rubiataba (GO).

Before the homily, Fr Dalton Barros de Almeida, CSSR, proclaimed the decree creating the Province of Our Lady Aparecida, confirming the suppression of the Provinces of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the Vice-Province of Bahia and the Mission of Suriname. From that moment on, all these former units, comprising the Brazilian states of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Suriname, will be part of the new Province.

The Image of our Lady Aparecida, with a map alluding to the states of the new Province.

The Redemptorist Superior General, Fr. Rogério Gomes, began his reflection by recalling that on 9 November 1732, Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori founded the Redemptorist Institute. In 291 years, the Congregation has expanded its missionary presence to more than 82 countries, with 4,580 confreres, including priests and brothers. He then celebrated the creation of the Province that carries the protection of the Virgin Mother Aparecida:

“If we are God’s construction, the Province that is being born today is also God’s work because it is made up of concrete people, men of faith, consecrated people who have given their lives to Christ the Redeemer to proclaim his Gospel to the most abandoned and to God’s holy people. Therefore, the Province of Our Lady Aparecida is a Sanctuary of God, a dwelling place of the Spirit, because it will be a sacred place where each confrere will spend their days in favour of the Plentiful Redemption.”

One of the priorities of the Province of Our Lady Aparecida will be vocation promotion, helping young people to make mature responses to the Lord’s call. Another focus will be the ongoing formation. On this topic, Fr Rogério turned to the holy founder of the Congregation:

“Let us not forget that we are formators of conscience, that our founder is a Doctor of the Church, Patron of moralists and confessors. We must invest in ongoing formation if we want a quality initial formation. The responsibility for formation lies with each one of us”.

Fr. Rogério Gomes, CSSR, presided over the Mass and said the homily.

Finally, the Superior General asks that the new Redemptorist Unit be “bold in mission and creative”:

“The richness of the Dutch, Polish and German missionary traditions of the three units of yesteryear must be an important element in broadening the horizons of the mission. Where should we really be? Where are the poorest and most abandoned? What places should we abandon? Missionary zeal helps us to see those realities that no longer correspond to our charism. In a world with so much social inequality and poverty, our witness of life in this sense is fundamental. (…) Go ahead, sow the seed. Don’t be afraid to throw seeds because the Spirit will fertilise each one. If we don’t sow, the seed will die. May Mary, Our Lady Aparecida, our heavenly Mother, help us and give us perseverance in this mission, amen!”

After the homily, the Government of the Province of Our Lady Aparecida made its “Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity”, which was pronounced by the Provincial Superior, Fr Marlos Aurélio da Silva, CSSR, who is in charge of directing and organising the Province following the Congregation’s constitutions and statutes.

The government of the Province of Our Lady of Aparecida makes a profession of faith and an oath of fidelity in front of the Superior General.

In his first speech with the Province of Our Lady Aparecida canonically erected, Fr Marlos Aurélio thanked his confreres and devotees for their presence at the Aparecida Shrine and for following the Aparecida Communication Network, which he called a great Redemptorist and missionary family. Addressing his message to the priests and brothers of the new unit, the Provincial Superior emphasised the need for a ‘missionary disposition’:

“If you are a good priest, if you are a good Redemptorist Brother, you will be helping us in the mission. The world is crying out for a significant presence of Redemptorist missionaries. There are countless challenges, which is why, as Pope Francis reminds us: ‘Let us not let them rob us of hope. Let us not be robbed of the joy of the Gospel’. There’s no need to be complacent, no need to seek accommodation in our old Provinces. We have a new Province, it’s a new time.

This new journey, the Redemptorist Missionaries, we start under the maternal gaze of Our Lady Aparecida to announce, together with Jesus, that Redemption is abundant and plentiful. May it be so, amen!

Mário Pereira/ A12.com
fot. Thiago Leon