Student Gathering in Canandaigua

By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

I am often asked by people in general, but especially by people who are inquiring into the Redemptorists, whether we have any students.  Yes, we do have students.

Every year at this time, we gather many Redemptorist students into one place for a week of prayer, meals, fun, and a workshop.  In the picture above, you see students who are from Canada and the United States, and one student who has come from Ireland.  Of course, not all the students were able to attend, including five students from Canada who had to miss out on this great experience that took place near Canandaigua Lake, New York this May.

Some of you know Brothers Eumir Bautista C.Ss.R. and Ivan Dzhur C.Ss.R.  These men are studying to become Redemptorists in Canada.  They renewed their profession of vows to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Seen from left to right are Fr. Charles Duval C.Ss.R. the newly elected Provincial Superior for Canada, and Frs.  Peter Hill C.Ss.R. and John Sianchuk C.Ss.R., who were witnessing the renewal of vows for Brothers Ivan and Eumir.

During the workshop portion of our week, Fr. Raphael Gallagher C.Ss.R., explained how to read his newly published book,  “Conscience, Writings from Moral Theology by St. Alphonsus.”    Fr. Raphael explained how people in the time of St. Alphonsus, very like our own era, were wondering how to find some certainty when trying to make good choices in life.  We learned the method that St. Alphonsus proposes to help us choose the Good.   In the picture below, from left to right you are Redemptorist Frs. Jack Kingsbury, David Louch, Raphael Gallagher and John Sianchuk.  Frs. Jack, David and John are members of our North American Spirituality Commission.  This Spirituality Commission along with Liguori Publications, helped to publish and distribute this new book. 

As usual, the food at these gatherings is fabulous and was certainly made more enjoyable by the company we shared at table.  Fr. Mark Miller our newly elected Regional Superior  and Fr. Ray Douziech are featured here.  Fr. Ray is the director of students at our Toronto student house.  We also have student houses in New York city, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas.

From this summer through to next August of 2020, our students at the stage of novitiate will be living at our monastery in Lima, Ohio.  Pictured here from left to right are Frs. Chuong Cao and Ed Eherer,  who will be the directors of novices for this coming year. 

Well I was too focussed on praying, during the prayer time, to get you a picture of that; however, I did mention above that in addition to prayer, workshop, and food, we also had fun…

If you would like to join in the Gospel friendship that we share in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; or if you would like to encourage someone to become a member of the Redemptorists, then please give me a shout.

Parish Lenten Missions

I am often asked by people:  What do Redemptorists do?

We serve in the new evangelization of the Church.  Like St. Alphonsus we use all kinds of talents including story-telling, music and drama.   https://www.cssr.news/redemptorists-2/alphonsus-liguori-our-founder/

In Canada during Lent, we proclaimed the Gospel through what we now call “parish missions.”

Bishop Jon Hansen, C.Ss.R. preached a mission about Faith, Hope and Love during the 100th anniversary year of St. Mary Parish in Saskatoon.  Present also were Redemptorists, Frs. Ciro Perez and Steve Morrisey and Graham Hill (not present in the picture).

Like St. Alphonsus, who dedicated himself completely to the service of the poor and most abandoned; we too reached out to especially rural communities who often have less financial and other resources available to nourish their faith life.  Redemptorist Frs. Jean Claude Nadeau, Jacques Fortin, and Joseph Manh, invited a guest preacher (second from left) to preach in a parish of six churches we serve along a rural stretch called the Côte-de-Beaupré, in Québec.  

Fr. Doris Laplante C.Ss.R. led a mission in the parish of Mary, Star of the Sea.  This parish is comprised of four churches in different small communities in eastern-central New Brunswick. 

Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer, Deacon Bob Williston and Joan Williston, along with Fr. David Purcell C.Ss.R., journeyed to a small town in the mountains of British Columbia, to preach at Sacred Heart Parish in Kimberley, British Columbia.  Over four evenings we focussed on Being Receptive to, Giving Thanks For, Celebrating the Sacrament of, and Sharing God’s Mercy.   The same themes were also preached at Holy Spirit parish in Saskatoon.  Then, Deacon Bob and Joan (seen in this picture on the far left) also teamed up with Fr. Babu Matthew C.Ss.R. at a small town of Carstairs, Alberta where they led a mission in St. Agnes Parish.

St. Alphonsus., a gifted musician and composer, wrote many popular hymns and taught them to the people in parish missions.  Across Canada and into the United States, Deacon Bob Williston, and Fr. Eugene O’Reilly are well known for evangelizing people through their music.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbbnehQduMk  and http://redemptorists.ca/redemptorist-music/

Here you see some people who attended a mission at St. Paul’s Basilica in Toronto.  Included in the picture you might recognize two of our students, from the Toronto house of studies, and a man inquiring into the Redemptorists.  We heard through Fr. Eugene’s stories, humour, and songs, how God created us and looks upon us as “very good.”  God always welcomes us with open arms, and helps us to live the Beatitudes in our ordinary everyday life so that we can be truly “Happy”.    Fr. Eugene is truly dedicated to this ministry as he led missions for nine weeks during Lent, in Alberta, in Ontario, and in Florida.  https://redemptorists.ca/missions/

Although, recently ordained as a bishop (22 February), Bishop Guy Desrochers C.Ss.R., continued with his schedule of 5 Lenten missions.  He preached missions in New York state, Ontario, Québec, and in Alberta. 

These pictures witness to the importance of team work, music, drama as we preach the Word in our ministry of evangelization.  Our evangelization spans different languages and cultures in Canada.  Fr. Larry Kondra C.Ss.R. (last picture, on the right) led a mission at Blessed Virgin Mary church, for a Ukrainian Catholic parish in Winnipeg Manitoba. 

Khrystos Voskres!   I pray that your Easter celebrations bring many blessing into your life.  Voistyno Voskres!

Announcing the Gospel Across Different Cultures

As I travel the country, I am impressed by the way the Gospel is announced across Canada through so many different languages and cultures.  In November, I visited a young adult group that meets at Holy Spirit Parish, the Montréal Chinese Catholic mission.  This celebration of the Catholic faith, in this spot and through this culture, has continued for over one hundred years!

I also attended a meeting of Chinese Catholic Pastors in the Toronto Archdiocese.  The meeting was hosted by Fr. Peter Chin C.Ss.R. (second from right) at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.  Bishop Robert Kasun (second from left) was dialoguing with the priests about their mission and ministry within the ever-growing Chinese Catholic population.    Fr. Augustine Chan (far left) has been appointed as chaplain for the Chinese university students in the Toronto Archdiocese.  He recounted his experience of leading a delegation of Catholic students in August to meet others at Pearson International Airport, who were arriving from China.  Of the half a million international students who arrive in Canada each year, 132,000 (the largest group)  are from mainland China, meaning that most of them would speak Mandarin.  If you are interested, Indian students, then Korean, make up the next largest cultural groups arriving in Canada for studies.

Very remarkable at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, I recommend you see inside the church a statue of Mary, Our Lady of China.  She is dressed to reflect the culture of the Ching dynasty.  Outside the church to greet you is a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel who reflects the dress of a woman from the Ming Dynasty.   Here she is seen behind Fr. Peter Chin along with members of the Knights of Columbus Council based at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish. 

On the recent Family Day weekend a group of Chinese Catholic university students organized a retreat.  This retreat  was attended by students from Western University, London,  University of Waterloo, McMaster in Hamilton, and various campuses from the Toronto area.  ‘Fiat!, Let it be done,’ was the theme.  I was inspired by the dedication of this group to their Catholic and Asian heritage.  Although the music was very similar to many other youth groups in Canada, noodles for snacks and  Mahjong as the ‘card’ game were quite different from the other youth groups I encounter.   

We included in our retreat, the Mother of Perpetual Help Icon.  We found that despite the image coming from a non-Asian culture,  prayer using this Icon, helped nurture our spiritual growth and also stimulated good discussion in our small groups.

At the beginning of January, Noel Bustillos (Redemptorist candidate at the student house in Toronto) and I were able to celebrate Bishop Steven Chmilar’s levee, which was held at Holy Eucharist parish.  After vespers in the church we were treated to Ukrainian food and music, in the parish hall.

Through the invitation of a Redemptorist  enquirer,  I was treated to a concelebration of the Divine Liturgy in St. Katherine of Alexandria Parish.  This is a relatively new community, situated in a small rural area north of Toronto called Bond Head.   A testament to the appeal of the Divine Liturgy, was the fact that the English language Liturgy attracted people who were not brought up in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. 

Some  First Nations Peoples still gather with the help of the Holy Cross Fathers for mass every Sunday, in the city of Toronto, at St. Ann’s parish.  Fr. Wilson Andrade, a Holy Cross Father, at the end of November,  invited some young adults to give a slide presentation  (see picture) after the Sunday mass, describing their mission experience this past summer in Fort Resolution.   Ten young adults had helped to repair the church in Fort Resolution.  As you know, Bishop Jon Hansen C.Ss.R.,  invites groups of people to come north and help him to repair and refurbish aging church buildings in his diocese.  Also pictured here are two of the elders, John Robinson and Christopher Spanish, who help to lead the mass which includes some First Nations rituals. 

As you may know, these stories are representative of the different Churches, cultures, and languages in which the Redemptorists serve across Canada.   ‘I will give you as a light to the nations,  that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’  (Is. 49.6) 

Rise-Up 2019 in Calgary

By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

I again represented the Redemptorists at Rise-Up, which is a yearly conference of about 800 primarily university students.  This year, Mark Suezo was on the team who hosted the event in Calgary. 

The organizing committee also invited Bishop Brian Bayda, to share his experience of the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.  He used a meditation on the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to summarize the movements of the Spirit in the bishops and in the youth who gathered in Rome.  

Redemptorists a Godsend for Vietnamese War Veterans

Some people ask me what is the mission of the Redemptorists.  This story about the Vietnamese Redemptorists is a good example of how Alphonsus asked us to reach out to the abandoned and the poor.

Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

Church gives homes, prosthetic limbs, Christmas meals to losing soldiers from civil war who have been abandoned for decades

ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City 
Vietnam

December 22, 2018

The Vietnam War left many scars. (Photo: Pixabay)

Vietnamese war veterans who lost their limbs and loved ones over four decades ago are getting a dose of Christmas this year from the charitable endeavors of Redemptorists active in the country.

They are helping these former soldiers in southern Vietnam restore some of their dignity and self-respect more than 40 years after the Vietnam War left many of them facing a financially crippled and emotionally scarred future.

"We will hold Christmas celebrations and offer gifts to 6,375 elderly, battle-scarred soldiers throughout southern Vietnam from Dec. 26-28 and on New Year’s Eve," Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh, head of the Redemptorist-run Justice and Peace Office, told ucanews.com.

Many of the veterans suffered greatly during the nation's civil war, which later spilled out into an international conflict with China backing North Vietnam and the United States throwing its support behind the South.

American war vets have given hundreds of bicycles to poor Vietnamese children in rural areas this year to ease their plight and show their empathy despite suffering atrocities during the war at the hands of the Vietnamese.

Father Thanh said the elderly Vietnamese would assemble at the Redemptorists’ headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City and talk about the situation they now find themselves in, as well as the state of their health and other subjects.

As part of the healing process, and at a time of year when many elderly feel alone, they will review their shared past, sing carols and traditional Vietnamese folk songs, play games and eat together.

"We are trying to bring some Christmas joy to those neglected soldiers because Jesus was born into the world to save all people, especially the marginalized," Father Thanh said.

Such events are not something the communist government generally endorses, but social welfare groups say they serve a crucial role.

While Christmas decorations grace the lobbies of five-star hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at this time of year, the country is still officially atheist with gaps yet to be plugged when it comes to taking care of the elderly and others who exist on the fringes of society.

This year, the veterans will receive travel expenses of around US$65 each. The Redemptorists were able to raise enough funding from domestic and overseas-based benefactors to cover the costs of the activities scheduled for December, which the church estimates will end up costing a total of 14 billion dong (US$603,000).

Father Thanh said volunteers would visit the homes of elderly soldiers who are too frail or otherwise physically unable to make it to the church’s headquarters, bringing them gifts and giving them comfort.

He said this year his office has offered nearly 5,530 injured veterans food, money, healthcare insurance, medical checkups, treatment costs, reading glasses, wheelchairs, walking sticks, crutches and prosthetic limbs.

The more fortunate, or most in need, may be given somewhere to stay or have their homes repaired at the Redemptorists' expense. All of the veterans whose relatives have passed away are given basic shelter in the city.

“Our activities aim to help these soldiers regain their self-esteem and gain public recognition for their sacrifices so that they can feel proud of their service,” the priest said.

Fear of reprisals

After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, soldiers in southern Vietnam who had been made invalids by the fighting were forced to live in remote areas. Most were abandoned, treated like enemies, and lived in constant fear of reprisals at the hands of the triumphant communist regime.

Most continue to live in extreme poverty and have no land or houses. Many eke out a subsistence living as beggars or lottery ticket sellers.

Some depend on their children and are prohibited from talking to their former comrades in arms.

Father Thanh said very few veterans receive benefits from U.S.-funded projects for people with disabilities in Vietnam or from the government's welfare services.

He said the majority are not aware there are programs designed to help them. One example would be the Redemptorist-led Gratitude to South Vietnamese Injured Veterans Program, launched in 2013.

This year some 528 elderly war veterans who have been debilitated by illness or injury have registered with the program, he added. However, the church estimates there could be four times as many who are eligible to benefit but don't know the scheme exists.

Father Thanh said the Redemptorists helped to organize funerals for 140 veterans this year.

"We urgently need to support as many of these war veterans as possible as many are now in their 70s and 80s and may not have much time left,” he said.

Vo Hong Son, a veteran who sells lottery tickets for a living, was given shelter in Ho Chi Minh City. He expressed his profound thanks to the Redemptorists for paying for his wife’s funeral and hosting it in the monastery compound.

She died in a nearby province in November but their landlord refused to consent to the funeral being held at their rented apartment, which was all they could afford.

Son, who lost his left leg in 1974, said the church has "brought us [veterans] together like a family and given us opportunities to live with dignity. We feel loved and respected here."

"We are proud to have fought for Vietnam and sacrificed our bodies for the motherland," said the father of two.

In the past, police threatened and prevented veterans from receiving the Redemptorists’ gifts. Some had their gifts taken away and were summoned to police stations.

The Redemptorists were accused of receiving funds from reactionary groups abroad to support the veterans, who, it must not be forgotten, fought for the losing side and are still eyed with suspicion in some government quarters in Hanoi.

"Now the government is slowly becoming more open to the work we are doing," Father Thanh said. "They are starting to understand that the goal of our services is to promote veterans’ self-respect and dignity, not fight against the government.”

https://international.la-croix.com/news/redemptorists-a-godsend-for-vietnamese-war-veterans/9134

Please Pray for Those in Redemptorist Formation

Canadian Redemptorists & Redemptoristines

Formation 2018

 

 

 

Talents and Interests of Our Students

Psalm 40.5

You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
   your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
   none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
   they would be more than can be counted.

One of my delights in vocation ministry, is getting to know the interests and talents reflected in the men who have a desire to become a Redemptorist.  Some of you have already delighted in the musical talent of Andrew Phillips.  A few years ago he serenaded us with bagpipes, in

 

the backyard of our Toronto house.  He is back at Fort George for his summer work, and showing off some historic instruments used by British soldiers in the 1800’s.   Many of you know Luis, who is studying philosophy and living at our student house in Toronto. What you may not know, is that to help him relax between assignments and exams, Luis takes up his electric guitar to belt out some “heavy metal” music.   Recently I cheered on Noel, who competed at a fencing tournament at the University of Toronto sporting complex.  Here he is with his coach.

…. et sur la piste….en garde!!

I want to thank all of you who have put up our new display to promote the Redemptorists.

And for example,  I know that in May, Fr. Santo Arrigo, St. Patrick - Toronto, arranged for all those preaching at the Masses on Good Shepherd Sunday to speak about vocations.  I heard from Fr. Steve Morrisey,  St. Mary  - Saskatoon, who before Easter, was speaking to a number of classrooms in the schools affiliated with St. Mary’s parish about vocations.    Once again, the St. Patrick community, hosted a supper and spiritual direction evening, where quite a number of men in the Toronto area were in attendance.

 

Fr Jon Hansen, C.Ss.R. Appointed Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith

By MC Havey, Archivist

Since moving to Inuvik as pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish in 2015, Fr. Jon Hansen, the next Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese, has raised the awareness of the missions of western Canadian Arctic on many aspects.

Through superb photographs and captivating updates, he has chronicled lyrically about the mission territory, describing glimpses of daily life, the contrasts of scenery, weather and the culture, intertwining the contemporary social, environmental, political issues with spirituality.

From the July 2017 update, Fr. Hansen described the annual Great Northern Arts Festival, which encompassed painting, carving, music and dance performances, noting that the Inuvik church, known as the “Igloo Church,” hosts many music concerts due to the seating capacity and domed ceiling.  The arts scene in the north, he wrote, “truly is a multi-hued canvas influenced both by and in reaction to the extremes of nature found here. … Through creativity of our imaginations and the work of our hands we bless God through the beauty of our art.”

Besides Inuvik, he provided care for the missions of Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk. Of these communities, he wrote in Community Connections in 2015.

What these communities share is the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the people. While there is a real sense of independence and self-reliance, it does not hinder the desire for relationship and community-building. … There is also pain here. Social issues and addiction are evident. The legacy of the residential school system is a memory that is not very distant and although there is deep spirituality among the people, resistance and a cautious attitude toward the church is sometimes apparent.

 There, ministry here requires more listening and less talking, more time spent being present with and less presiding over, more consoling and less cajoling, taking the time to first listen, learn and discern what the Spirit is asking while I am in this magnificent land among these wonderful people.

His profound passion, appreciation and understanding of the North may be rooted in his Danish ancestry and a childhood in Northern Alberta. Although born in Edmonton at Misericordia Hospital on February 18, 1967, Jon grew up in Grande Prairie, where the family moved for his father’s work in commercial construction. His parents, Paul Hansen and Karen Falkenberg-Anderson, both immigrants from Denmark and Lutherans, converted to Catholicism in the absence of the Lutheran presence in their area.

The family attended the Redemptorist parish of St. Joseph’s, where Jon remembered a young Redemptorist Fr. Dino Benedet and Brother Leo Insell, visiting the school talking about vocations. Jon attended the local schools of St. Gerard’s, St. Patrick’s junior high school and St. Joseph’s high school before enrolling in a pre-med program at Grande Prairie Regional College and working at Sports World and the Olsen Construction Co.  In the spring of 1986, he attended a vocation retreat led by Fr. David Purcell at the Redemptorist Clement House in Edmonton.

For the next eight years, he experienced different aspects of life as a philosophy student at the University of Alberta while living at Clement House; a student and graduate of Building Construction Engineering Technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, an employee of the Flint Engineering Co. and of McLean-Young Construction (1990-1993), where his father also worked, and a traveller on a cross-Canada bicycle trip, where he decided on a Redemptorist vocation.

In the spring of 1994, Jon worked on the Redemptorist SERVE program in Edmonton and returned to Clement House and to the University of Alberta on a scholarship, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1997. A few months later, he entered the Redemptorist North American novitiate in Chicago, making first profession on October 16, 1998 in St. Patrick’s church, Toronto. While studying for a master of divinity degree at the University of St. Michael’s College, he also volunteered at the parish’s winter Out of the Cold program for the homeless in the inner city, at L’Arche in Richmond Hill, Ontario and on the SERVE team at Gerard House. Besides taking a unit of clinical pastoral education at Vancouver General Hospital in 2001, he also lived at Sarnelli House, Philadelphia, where the students worked with street people, living on the edge. After completing the graduate degree in 2003, a diaconal appointment followed at Holy Redeemer parish in Sudbury, Ontario. On April 24, 2004, he was ordained by Grouard-MacLennan Archbishop Arthe Guimond in his home parish of St. Joseph’s, where a day later he celebrated his First Mass.

 

Redemptorist assignments have been varied, including postings as associate pastor at St. Teresa’s, St. John’s (2004-2005) and St. Patrick’s, Toronto (2005-2009), where he also directed the Out of the Cold program and the formation program for Redemptorist students as well as participating in Becoming Neighbours, which assists immigrants.  Returning to Western Canada as pastor at St. Mary’s, Saskatoon (2009-2015), Fr. Hansen balanced the care of an ethically-diverse parish and its outreach initiatives with service on the Saskatoon diocesan Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Bishop’s council of priests and with the diocesan offices of migration and justice and peace.

 

Upon his episcopal ordination and installation in 2018, the new bishop will bring his wisdom and experience to guiding the second-largest diocese of over 1.5 million square kilometres with its boundaries from the Alberta border in the south with parts of northern Saskatchewan, Nunavut to the east, the Yukon to the west and north to the Canadian border.

 

The London Chinese Catholic Community, Couples for Christ and The Welcome Home

By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts.” (Acts 2:46).   “… to Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow-sol  dier, and to the church in your house…”  (Philemon v. 1-2)

The early Church consisted of small groups meeting within people’s homes or small public rooms or open air spaces.   I am so impressed by youth who commit themselves to these kinds of groups to this very day.  I am reminded of how St. Alphonsus gathered people in faith sharing groups at the butcher’s shop or in a courtyard in Naples.

Recently I was on the campus of Western University in London, ON.  The London Chinese Catholic Community (LCCC):  “welcome anyone interested in the Roman Catholic faith. It does not matter whether you are Chinese or not.  You do not even have to be Catholic, and we would still welcome you to our family!   We are a student group with over 30 years of history. LCCC’s goal is to create a safe haven that would allow Catholics and Non-Catholics to explore the Catholic faith and support one another.”

A big “shout-out” to LCCC for inviting me to lead the group in the prayers of St. Alphonsus while we meditated on the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  One of the group members had just come from a discussion with a friend who said to her, “...male and female are just social constructs.”  So we also discussed what the Scriptures have to say to us and what does out Catholic Tradition have to offer us with regard to this statement.  If you are in London and looking for support for living your Catholic faith please feel free to contact Brian, one of the leaders of the group at:  https://westernu.campuslabs.ca/engage/organization/londonchinesecatholiccommunity or on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ccc.london/ 

Recently in Winnipeg, meeting in a “Household” group, were the Couples for Christ-Youth.  We meditated on the golden slipper dropping from Jesus’ foot, as seen in the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  With the help of the prayers of St. Alphonsus, we looked at how much Jesus “gave up,” as he let go of his place in heaven to take on our flesh.  We also shared what we can give up for Lent, that helps us to better love and serve those around us, in our family, our community, and in our world.

 

This group’s ability to make sacrifices for their faith, and to look out for one another, impressed me deeply.  If you are in high school or in university and looking for support for your faith in the Winnipeg area, please feel free to contact  Rommel at rommel.arlegue@gmail.com; or Alyssa at:  eyylicsee@gmail.com.  Couples for Christ - Youth groups are found all across Canada.  If you are in other areas such as Toronto or Vancouver, you can find more information at  http://cfcyouth.ca/

 

While in Winnipeg, I was encouraged to see the strength of this “church in your house,” at work in The Welcome Home.  Sunday the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, then a men’s group or a young adult group takes place on Tuesday evening, food is shared out on Wednesday morning, followed by a women’s cooking skills group in the afternoon, a community evening on Thursday with vespers and supper, Saturday brings the “Sound of Music” as children attend piano lessons, plus many other events;  this is an amazing mission of St. Alphonsus.  In the picture at the right, I am standing in front of The Welcome Home where many people passed through to pick up groceries, a bag lunch, and some hot chocolate.  The warm drink was appreciated as some people stood outside in minus 13 degrees Celsius, for half an hour before the doors opened.

 

In the picture at the left, please meet (l.to r.) Guy, Noel, and Oleksandr.  They form the core volunteer team who live at and help run The Welcome Home.  Behind them you can see the pictures of the over 50 young adults and Redemptorists who have given witness to Jesus Christ during the past 25 years that The Welcome Home has been open.  If you know any young people who would like to be involved in a truly enriching missionary experience, where they can join this great tradition of evangelizing and being evangelized by the poor, please encourage them to contact Delores at coordinator@thewelcomehome.ca; visit their website at http://www.thewelcomehome.ca/

 

Rise Up 2017

 

By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.

“Dominion from sea to sea….”

These words, taken from the prophet Jeremiah and engraved on the tower of our Federal Parliament building, were a perfect title for our conference of over 800 attendees, associated with Catholic Christian Outreach.  A conference with representatives from every province of Canada, from over 70 college and university campuses, and held in Ottawa at the end of December, in honour of our 150th anniversary of Canada.    This is only one example of faith-focused conventions or conferences coming up across our country this year.  May I suggest for your next community meeting, you consider attending something like this in your area, in order to promote our Congregation and make invitations for people to come and join us.

At this RiseUp 2017 conference, I connected with other coordinators of vocation ministry.  For example,  on the far left is Fr. Mbugua William, S.J..  Since the summer of 2017 and through to this coming summer, he is working with two other Jesuits to get them “up to speed” as they transition into this ministry.  On my left is Fr. John O’Brien, S.J. and not pictured here is Deacon Edmund Lo, S.J..   On the far right, is Ms. Kelly Bourke, the Executive Director of Jesuit Volunteers, Canada.  She oversees the volunteers who live in the house next door to St. Patrick monastery in Toronto.

Fr. Mbugua, mentioned to me that the Jesuits have almost 20 people from Canada in their formation program at the present time.  He reported also, that one of the regions of Jesuits in the Unites States has assigned five Jesuits to their vocation ministry, and they are receiving five to ten candidates per year.  This is strong experiential evidence that supports conclusions of a research project done in the United States that concluded, if a community assigns people to work full-time in vocation ministry then they will attract more members to their community.  I mention this here, as we go through our own process of re-structuring for mission in Canada.  I believe, it will help our mission greatly, to assign three full-time Redemptorists to vocation ministry within the country of Canada.

Thanks to Fr. Remi & community and Fr. Santo & community for hosting Come & See suppers in January.