Fr Rogério Gomes met online with Redemptorist Partners in the mission

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Taking the theme of “The Redemptorist Family: Hopes, Dreams, Challenges and the Paths to be Followed”, on Saturday, June 15, 2024, Superior General Rogério Gomes opened up two remarkable spaces of online encounter with Redemptorist Partners in Mission worldwide. The first, at 2:00 pm Rome time, was attended primarily by professed Redemptorists and other members of the Redemptorist Family from the Conferences of Asia-Oceania, Europe and Africa, and the second, at 4:00 pm Rome time, was attended primarily by the Conferences of North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. 

In his address, Fr Rogério opened up and explored the idea of the Redemptorist Family saying, “When I refer to the Redemptorist family, I am not simply talking about a group of people with a shared heritage or bloodline. I am referring to a unique and strong community, a family of individuals who are deeply connected to the original source of our charism, St Alphonsus, or to an institute founded by a Redemptorist. This connection is not just spiritual, but also charismatic and missionary in nature, making the Redemptorist Family a unique and strong entity.” That family united online on Saturday, June 15, in inspiring force. Between the two Zoom encounters and those who watched on the YouTube feed, over 500 people from all five Conferences took part. As one scrolled through the screens, it was moving to see participants in their homes, offices or missionary centres, or cars, on trains, in airports and on patios. There were individuals glued to their screens, small groups sitting on couches, staffs and teams gathered around meeting tables, and large groups in meeting rooms, churches and halls. 

Fr Rogério shared his courageous hope: “I hope that the professed members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the other Institutes of our Family and the lay people who make up this Family will be able to begin to work together…I hope that the lay people who are associated with our mission and who drink from our spirituality will be able to participate more and more in our liturgical and sacramental life. From this profound experience, they will give their Christian witness in society, playing a fundamental role in catechesis, evangelisation, education, formation of conscience, religious and ecumenical dialogue, pastoral leadership and greater participation in our Redemptorist mission.”

This sharing of hope led naturally to Fr Rogério sharing his dreams, dreams that resonated in the hearts, minds and spirits of the participants. He shared “missionary dreams of a common mission in which the charism animates each of us and leads us to join forces in a missionary project.”

From there, our Superior General opened up and explored some of the challenges that face us as we walk this road together. He named the challenge to find a new language to communicate faith in a complex world, the challenge of working together as one missionary body rather than as “islands”, and of drawing on the gifts of lay partners in mission to animate and expand the Redemptorist proclamation of the Good News by witness and word to the most abandoned. Fr Rogério also talked about the challenge of common discernment and planning for mission. 

Father General concluded the structured part of his presentation by opening five directions to guide us on the road to a more effective partnership among all members of our Redemptorist family:

  1. We have an Office of Partnership in Mission dedicated to creating resources, offering workshops and retreats, and supporting you. You can use these resources.
  2. As a Redemptorist family, we can create initiatives based on your spirituality, such as meetings and missionary activities, which can also involve confreres and other Congregations linked to our charism. 
  3. The Congregation has a Directory for Common Mission. He encouraged us to know it, work on it in our groups and invite confreres to help us deepen your understanding of the themes.
  4. Identify Congregations and Institutes that are inspired by our charism and encourage online meetings through conferences and, eventually, face-to-face meetings. 
  5. Reflect on areas of missionary collaboration between the Redemptorist Family and our laity. What can you, the laity, contribute to making us a charismatic family?

Fr Rogerio concluded with an encouraging and visionary summary: “Lay people connected to our Congregation become multipliers of the spirituality and charism in their own families, workplaces and communities, helping to spread the charism and deepen our charism, identity and mission as a Redemptorist Family.”

In the dialogue that followed Fr Rogério’s presentation, he and the participants together explored some of his themes in greater depth. The questions and answers were challenging and thoughtful. Issues of clericalism, common discernment and missionary activity, and the need for suitable formation for all were raised. The openness and honesty of the searching bore witness to the commitment of all to be witnesses of hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer not only on our missionary endeavours, but also in our building of and living as one Redemptorist Family, a sign of hope in a world too often fragmented and divided.

We thank Fr Rogério for opening up this time and place of encounter, and we thank all who participated, whether on Zoom or YouTube, for walking this journey together.

Anne Walsh