With Gratitude to Fr. Jack Kingsbury, CSsR., the former Coordinator for the North American Conference

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(Pictured: Fr. Jack Kingsbury {Left} and Fr. Jerome Chavarria-- the new Coordinator for the North American Conference of Redemptorists)

Fr. Jack Kingsbury ended his long tenure as Coordinator for the North American Conference of Redemptorists on January 1st of this year. The creation of the Conference led to many accomplishments as the Provinces of North America looked to the future, knowing that there would eventually need to be a merger of provinces into one Unit.

Among the first mergers under Fr. Jack’s time as coordinator were:

1. The merger of Novitiates into one. The Provinces of Baltimore, Denver, Canada, Ex-Patriam and Mexico now send their novices to Mexico for Novitiate.

2. The merger of Theologates into one. Provinces now send their students to Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. There is also a new Board of Provincials that oversees the Conference Formation Programs.

Under the Conference, the Annual Student Gathering was expanded to include all Units. The gatherings focus on Preaching, Moral Theology, Redemptorist Spirituality, Redemptorist History, and Sacred Scripture. As more provinces joined, the Transition to Ministry and Apostolic Community program was also expanded. In addition, the Mentor Program was expanded, and various topics were presented based on participant feedback.

Although there were shared ministry assignments prior to the Conference, especially in Hispanic or Shrine ministry, there is more emphasis on sharing personnel across province boundaries now, especially for new initiatives. Recent sharing of new initiatives has included Canada’s Unite Young Adult program, the Mexican/USA Border initiative, and the Caribbean Extraordinary Preaching initiative.

The Conference also witnessed the merger of three provinces into one Canadian Province, with three separate territories. In addition, the vice provinces of Richmond and the English-speaking Caribbean merged back into the Baltimore Province.

Fr. Jack’s tenure also focused on the development of a Conference Assembly Apostolic Plan, known as CARP. A Conference Communications Office was also established to help confreres, Partners In Mission and the public to understand the life and ministry within provinces through a website, Facebook page, Instagram page and YouTube page.

A Unification Commission was also formed, beginning with a dialogue between Denver and Mexico. It expanded to include Baltimore and now includes Extra-Patriam and the focus is now on merging of the Units.

The original Spirituality and Historical Commissions were also taken under the Conference structure, respectively creating retreats and workshops for spiritual growth, and merging the historical meetings into the Annual Student Gathering.

A major accomplishment for the Conference under Fr. Jack’s term was the creation of a Secretariat for Partners In Mission. Redemptorist lay associate groups had existed before in various provinces. Those groups were merged into one across the Conference and the new Partners In Mission have a fulltime Director.

In working with the various Units across North America, Fr. Jack says he experienced differences and similarities between the personalities of the various provinces. “There is a commonality that I found between the confreres that gave me great comfort to visit different communities and feel at home.” He believes that commonality is what made the merger of units in Canada possible and is what will make the future merger of the USA and Mexico possible.

We thank Fr. Jack for his dedication and hard work toward making the future bright for the Redemptorists of North America.

Fr. Charlie Wehrley, C.Ss.R.

(Courtesy: North American Conference of Redemptorists)