Brazil: The joy of being a Redemptorist – XV ERESER 2024 in Tietê

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On 25 and 26 May 2024, the joy of the reunion was renewed and brought into the arms of Santa Terezinha, in Tietê-SP, land of many stories, cradle of many Redemptorist vocations, of those who, in the Seminary of Santa Terezinha, they are imbued with the Alphonsian charism and, under the guidance of their formators, they have created and cultivated friendships that time will never erase.

This year’s 15th ERESER (Regional Meeting of Former Redemptorist Seminarians) Tietê had a purpose that sought to go beyond the physical and emotional limitations of our ever-welcoming home. Trying to interact with the lay people who are part of the community of the Church of Santa Terezinha, we went to meet the relatives of the Redemptorist priests of Tietê and also the former seminarians who live in the city. The welcome could not have been better. We contacted all the priests born there, many of whom were our formators in this house. We also contacted their relatives who have been in this beautiful church, so dear to the city and an indelible mark in our memory, as well as the former Redemptorist seminarians, Fr. Reinaldo Norberto das Graças Tristão, Fr. José Pereira, Fr. Antônio Maurício Brandolise, Fr. José Antonio Dal Bó Giovanetti, Fr. Alberto Pasquotto, Fr. Archimedes Zulian, Fr. Moacyr de Castilho Chagas, Vice-Rector of the Seminary Community of Santa Terezinha, and Fr. João Batista de Almeida, Spiritual Director of UNESER (National Union of Former Redemptorist Seminarians). Our celebrant was Monsignor Otacílio Luziano da Silva, Bishop emeritus of Catanduva, former Redemptorist seminarian in Tietê.

On Saturday afternoon we listened and interacted via videoconference with the Superior of the Province of Our Lady of Aparecida, Father Marlos Aurélio da Silva, CSsR, a deference that honored us greatly, creating bonds that will surely bear fruit. He underlined the importance that we can have in the newly formed Province of Our Lady of Aparecida, as well as strengthening the permanent inclusion of UNESER in it.

In the evening, at 7.00 pm, together with the community of Santa Terezinha, the Eucharist took place, a ceremony marked by much symbolism in thanksgiving for the XV ERESER Tietê, which expresses a milestone that we intend to establish in the coming years, strengthening the ties of event with the city. A concrete way to keep the flame of a particular vocation alive. If not as priests, then as heralds of the charismatic ideal of Saint Alphonsus. Our motto, conceived by Father Hélio Pessato Libardi and adopted since then, summarizes UNESER and its regional centers, in this case ERESER Tietê: ONCE REDEMPTORIST, ALWAYS REDEMPTORIST.

Organized by a cohesive team and, above all, happy and aware of their responsibilities, the former seminarians and their wives work hard so that, rather than working hard every year for the success of the event, they give priority to contact, to the invitation and, above all, to the dissemination of the reasons why the meeting is taking place. Our satisfaction lies precisely in the fact that, year after year, new friends show up for a hug. It’s not often that friends reunite after 20, 30 or even 50 years. And, with a few exceptions, after this reunion, they return every year, certain that the friendship, if it existed and its foundations have been laid on indelible principles and values, will never cease to exist.

This year, 2024, there were a total of 82 participants, including 30 former seminarians, 15 of their wives, 8 of their children, one grandson, 13 relatives of their families, 5 invited friends, 02 teachers who worked with us , a bishop, Monsignor Otacílio, and 07 other priests, formators and those born in Tietê. There were 10 concelebrants present at the Eucharist.

During the meeting, we collected participants’ opinions on their expectations and considerations about the event and, without a doubt, it is worth highlighting just some of the following reports:
“Meeting and hugging friends from the same course. A friendly hug creates an invisible energy that carries us forward,” I said Antonio Perdigão; “It is always beautiful to see those who were Redemptorists in the past and continue to be so today, especially in our hearts, and this shows us formators that the seed that has germinated is bearing fruit and that everything continues to be the work of Saint Alphonsus. An effort of the Church, a commitment of the Church. When we enter the service of God in the seminary, as has been the vocation of each one in particular, this vocation extends throughout life, this call to be someone within a community, within the Church, whether as a priest, as a brother in the Congregation, or as a family life of mission, as happens with former Redemptorist seminarians,” said Father Moacyr.

Jonival Ferreira Côrtes, president of UNESER, underlined that “a fraternal climate, which is our characteristic, a moment of fraternization, eminently missionary. Fraternizing with the families of Redemptorist missionaries and former seminarians is a welcoming movement that I see with great affection and hope. The strengthening of this missionary family life.”

Achiles Lezier, of the organizing team, said: “The joy with which we receive those who come is the same that we want to receive when the moment arrives. Every year there is someone different, someone who has never been here before. Today we have people here who passed through Tietê 47 years ago. Our doors are always open.

“Today I met Fr. Maurício Brandolise, who was one of my formators during my time in Tietê, in the Santa Terezinha seminary. It was a moment of sharing, of telling stories, of remembering what we experienced here.” Concelebrating today, as bishop, with my formators is a very important moment for me. The Eucharist will crown this meeting. The celebration with the community will also be equally important. The seminar is much loved here in Tietê. I realized this when I was here. The people of Tietê have always participated very actively in the life of the seminary,” Bishop Otacílio said happily.

On Sunday morning there was an interactive and productive moment with Mons. Otacílio and then, as is tradition in our events, we turned our attention to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Each year, a traveling cadre of the image visits the home of a former seminarian. It is a story full of symbolism that is worth telling separately on another occasion. This year the image travels to its eighth destination, inspired by the charisma and spirituality of Fernando Teixeira and Célia.

At the end of yet another face-to-face meeting, we are left with the certainty of having understood that every second of dedication to achieving all this was worth living. There is no price that can be paid to see good and worthy friends, who have met to travel the same path, share the same ideals and today, each in their own way, continue this path.

To the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, to Father Marlos Aurélio, the superior of the Province of Our Lady of Aparecida, to Fathers Pedro Paulo Dal Bó and Father Moacyr, of the Redemptorist Community of the Seminary of Santa Terezinha, to the Board of Directors of UNESER, and to organizational team, all our thanks for their unconditional and friendly support, which made everything more feasible and pleasant.

For the team,
Antonio Galvão dos Santos Ivo – ERESER