Fr. Juventius: 150th anniversary of the guardianship of the Icon

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On December 11, 1865, Blessed Pope Pius IX entrusted the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to Fr. Nicholas Mauron, C.Ss.R, Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. He instructed that it was to be restored to public veneration in the Church of St. Alphonsus on Via Merulana, and challenged the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer to “make her known to the whole world”. The Redemptorists took possession of the Icon on January 19, 1866. It was subsequently restored, and on April 26, 1866, it was carried in procession to the Church of St. Alphonsus and placed for public veneration.

Thus, on April 26, 2016, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the procession and restoring of the Icon to public veneration in the Church of St. Alphonsus. The Congregation has embraced this anniversary as a special opportunity to renew devotion to Mary under the title of Our Mother of Perpetual Help as she accompanies us in the mission of evangelization – proclaiming in life and word the Gospel of joy. Fr. Juventius Andrade speaks to Scala News in detail about this great event.

OLPH

The General Government has set up a commission for the celebration. The Commission consists of 8 members, which includes one each from the five conferences. We are planning a three year process to engage the Congregation and those to whom we are sent in this celebration. Soon, the Commission members of the Conferences working with the Coordinators will spell out some concrete ways in which we can own and participate and be involved in this great Jubilee.

We trust that this event will be the occasion and impetus to deepen our love for Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This icon contributes to our Redemptorist identity. It offers us a sense of belonging –Mary to us and we to her, under this specific title. We are identified with her.

While we would like every confrere and lay associate to participate and to own this celebration, we also know that there are several other religious congregations, male and female, who are drawn to her under this title. Hence we wish that this great event is celebrated by this larger family. Then there are so many dioceses and parishes that bear this title as their patron. So many individual pilgrims come to our Church in Rome out of deep love and devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. We see this Icon as a gift to Church and to society (as there are devotees even among peoples of other faiths) and we have been privileged with this mission of making her known.

We aim that this planning and celebration will take place on different levels – the Central, Conference and Unit [meaning (V) Province and Region] level. It became clear that there is a need to have a Commission at both the Conference and Unit level. Recognizing that a Commission may not always be possible in every Unit, it is essential that there is at least a contact person in every Unit.

Already from 12 to 16 May 2014, the Province of Campo Grande will be holding an International Congress of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The Vice province of Manila, together with the Province of Cebu, plans to host a Congress in 2016.

The Centre of Spirituality will launch some reflections in the coming year to help deepen this reflection and love.

There will be a special edition of Spicilegium to mark the anniversary but it is important that confreres offer to contribute in terms of scientific articles.

We wish that confreres and members of the larger Redemptorist family will collaborate creatively with their artistic ideas and talent. In a short while, we will make an appeal to design a Logo for the celebration. We would also need persons willing and creative enough to compose a special hymn in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in this Jubilee Year. Then of course, the ever fruitful resource of preparing effective visual media programs as a catechetical means to ‘making her known and loved’ especially among children and youth.

Many Provinces have had a long history of the devotion, but it is not always known in the rest of the Congregation. We hear of places like Rock Church in the US from where the novena was diffused to many countries, Baclaran in the Philippines, and the various popular shrines in the rest of the Redemptorist world. Some Provinces are working on an updated manual of Novena Prayers in line with a better understanding of Mariology and popular devotion in today’s world.

There are Confraternities in some of our parishes and communities – groups based on the spirituality of OMPH, but this would be an area with which we could work a lot more.

Over the years, certain Provinces have chosen to also popularly promote this icon and devotion to it through gift ideas either through religious articles like medals, chains, pendants and the like. Others have also ventured into household articles like Tee Shirts, mugs, clocks, key chains, wall hangings, etc.

And then there are also pilgrimages to the shrine in Rome that should be fostered and organised as a means of preparing for this great Jubilee.

It is our hope that this Jubilee will lead to a greater love for our Mother of Perpetual Help who embraces not only her Son, but also her own Redemptorist missionariesfor it is only in knowing her better, can we make her better known!

Commission members:

General Consultor            Juventius Andrade                           jandrade@cssr.com

Napoli                             Serafino Fiore                                              seraflower@gmail.com

Baltimore                             Philip Dabney                                                    dpad1051@aol.com

Dublin                                         Brendan Kelly                                                        bkelly@cssr.com

Warsaw                                   Marek Kotyński                                            kotynski62@gmail.com

Manila                                           Joseph Echano                                                 joechano@yahoo.com

Campo Grande                         Dirson Ferreira Gonçalves                          ferreiracssr@hotmail.com

Afrique l’oest                                   Patrice Nyanda                                                   patarissi@gmail.com

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