Rome, Italy
February 16, 2011


Disasters – natural and man-made
Redemptorist lay missionaries in Argentina
Mt. St. Alphonsus, Esopus, to close doors
World Day of Consecrated Life
Archbishop Ihor Wozniak, C.Ss.R.

Electoral News (continued).
Province of Rome participates in Diocesan workshop.
Iraqi Redemptorists mourn terrorist attack.

Archdiocese of Erbil, Iraq to build hospitals
World Youth Day preparations continues in Spain
Yorkton Province Redemptorists lead Christian Unity Week Services

The state of the Conferences

Professions, Ordinations, Deaths, Anniversaries

The Editor's World Notebook:

A SCALA reader told me last month that SCALA was filled with news about disasters – natural disasters and man-made disasters. When I asked him what he meant by "man-made disasters" he referred to the published results of the Province elections! Of course, he was joking as the confreres like to do.

Our Redemptorist units often send us news about their joyful moments - celebrations and achievements – because we are rightly proud of our achievements. I have noticed those confreres who are on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter tend to emphasize community – and the celebrations they share. They also like to keep us informed about their travels. But this may be perceived at times - by those who do not know us well - as religious life being a continuous party or world tour. This would be a misperception. Much more so than celebrating, oftentimes you will find Redemptorists in the midst of "natural and man-made disasters" because that is what we really do —we accompany God's people in their sufferings in some of the worst places and situations on earth. For example, in Africa and the Middle-East in general, and in Iraq and Lebanon in particular, there are great hardships being suffered by the Christian communities due to man-made tensions. In this issue of SCALA there is both bad news – the sufferings of our confreres and their people in Iraq – and good news – the effort to alleviate that suffering by the missionary efforts of our confreres.

…And those natural disasters seem to continue too! Father José Vidigal writes us from Rio about the recent flooding:

"In the second week of January this year, heavy and continuous rains battered the beautiful and mountainous tourist region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, causing landslides and floods that swept away everything in its path. The three cities most affected were at an average distance of 95 km from the capital, Rio de Janeiro: Teresópolis (163,000 inhabitants) Petropolis (315,000) and Nova Friburgo (182,000) . The death toll is 860 and so this becomes the largest natural disaster in Brazilian history.

Many agencies like the Red Cross, Civil Defense and countless volunteers have worked to rescue victims. The whole nation has mobilized to collect donations, especially drinking water, food, medicine and clothes. Our Redemptorist parishes and shrines have had strong participation of the people in these efforts. No Redemptorist community in the region suffered the disaster. We had a foundation in Teresópolis in the 1920's, but our presence there lasted only two years."

…And then there was the recent blizzard of snow in Chicago, IL USA that left people stranded in their vehicles overnight. This also affected our Redemptorist communities of St. Michael's Church, Villa Redeemer and the student theology residence.

Lake Shore Drive between St. Michael's and Lake Michigan

Br. Daniel Hall has served in the heat of equatorial Nigeria. Here he demonstrates his missionary dexterity in the opposite extreme!

Happier news comes to us from Father Andrej Żylak of the Vice Province of Resistencia, Argentina, who sends us this notice about the journeys of their lay missionaries:

"A group of 128 Redemptorist lay missionaries visited the Cruz del Cerro de Santa Ana. The missionaries, who came from various different regions of Argentina, as well as from some of the towns where missions were given, were accompanied by the Municipal Mayor Mabel Pezoa, who announced that this beautiful new pilgrimage and tourist site will be ready for its inauguration ceremony during Holy Week, at which Mayor Pezoa hopes to be able to welcome Argentinian President Cristina Fernández."


Anyone who ever taught, studied, ministered at or visited Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, NY, USA, will never forget the overwhelming granite castle with corridors large enough to drive a truck down them! Nestled between the Taconic and Catskill mountain foothills, you would also remember its magnificent views of autumn leaves changing colors; and the huge ocean-going freighters sliding along the blue expanse of the Hudson River to the east. The Province of Baltimore has announced that on Janaury 1, 2012, after 101 years of service, all ministries will come to an end at Mt. St. Alphonsus. Disposition of the buildings and property is still being studied.



Besides being the Feast of the Presentation, also called "Candlemas Day," February 2nd is also set aside by the Vatican to celebrate the Word Day of Consecrated Life – religious life.

The World Day of Consecrated Life is held on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In the words of the Holy Father this is because: "the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is an eloquent icon of the total offering of one's life for all those who are called to show forth in the Church and in the world, by means of the evangelical counsels, the characteristic features of Jesus - the chaste, poor and obedient one."

A group of Redemptorists from the General House led by the Rector, Luciano Panella, attended the evening Vespers Service presided over by the Holy Father. Following are videos in English and Spanish featuring our own Archbishop Tobin commenting on "nourishing the ecosystem of religious life" in an interview conducted that day by the news agency Rome Reports.

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Ihor Wozniak, C.Ss.R.
On February 10 it was announced that the Holy Father, in accord with the code of canon law of the Oriental Churches had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Lubomyer Husar of the Archeparchy of Kiev-Halyc, Ukraine, from the office of Major-Archbishop.

An electoral Synod of bishops of the Greek-Catholic Church will be convoked within one month to elect his successor as Major-Archbishop. Archbishop Ihor Vozniak (sic) C.Ss.R of the Archeparchy of Lviv, will be the acting Administrator of the Greek-Catholic Church until the election of Cardinal Husar’s successor.

Along with Archbishop Wozniak, there are four other Redemptorist bishops in the Ukraine: Stefan Menjok, Bohdan Dziurakh, Jarosláv Pryríz and Mychajlo Koltun.

Grace & Redemption for All!
Gary Ziuraitis, C.Ss.R.



Electoral News:

(Editor's note: Previous elections are noted in the previous editions of SCALA. Photos, if available, are of [V]Provincials and Regional Superiors only.)

Johannes Römelt, 50, elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Saint Clement.

Henricus (Henk) Erinkveld, 63, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Saint Clement. Confirmed on January 6, 2011.

Alphonse Peter, 72, re-elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Strasbourg.

Maurice Girardin, 71, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Strasbourg. Confirmed on January 7, 2011.

Ronald John McAinsh, 66, re-elected Provincial Superior of the Province of London

Gerard Patrick Mulligan, 67, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of London. Confirmed on January 7, 2011.

Eridian Gonçalves de Lima, 52, elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Fortaleza. Confirmed on January 7, 2011.

Pedro López Calvo, 48, re-elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Madrid.

Rafael Alonso Crespço, 50, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Madrid. Confirmed on January 10, 2011.

Josef Michalčik, 42, elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Prague.

Jan Sokulski, 48, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Prague. Confirmed on January 12, 2011.

António Marinho de Freitas, 62, elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Lisbon.

Fausto Sanches Martíns, 71, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Lisbon. Confirmed on January 13, 2011

Jaroslav Štelbaský, 43, re-elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Michalovce. Confirmed on January 13, 2011.

Yo Sep Joseph Kang, 42, elected Regional Superior of the Region of Korea. Won Soon Thomas Aquinas Joung, 50, elected Regional Vicar for the Region of Korea. Confirmed on January 13, 2011.

Patrick Goldwin Massang, 60, re-elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Ipoh. Confirmed on January 14, 2011.


Manuel Rodríguez Delgado, 65, elected Provincial Superior of the Province of San Juan.

Rafael Torres Oliver, 73, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of San Juan. Confirmed on January 14, 2011.

Jerome Lewis Chavarria, 53, re-elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Richmond. Confirmed January 15, 2011.


Ariel Lubi, 45, re-elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Manila. Confirmed on January 16, 2011.


Václav Hypius, 43, elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Bratislava.

Peter Slobodník, 39, elected Vice Provincial Vicar of the Vice Province of Bratislava. Confirmed on January 18, 2011.

Nicolas Issifi Ayouba Martin, 44, elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Burkina-Niger. Confirmed on January 19, 2011

Giovanni Congiu, 56, re-elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Rome. Confirmed on January 19, 2011.

Piotr Sułkowski, 38, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Rome. Confirmed on January 20, 2011.

Janusz Sok, 44, elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Warsaw.

Piotr Chyła, 41, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Warsaw. Confirmed on January 20, 2011.

Mario Boies, 46, re-elected Provincial Superior of the Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré.

Jacques Fortin, 62, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré. Confirmed on January 24, 2011.

Grimaldo Garay Zapata, 43, elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Peru-North. Confirmed on January 27, 2011.

Bento Katchingangu, 44, elected Vice Provincial Superior of the Vice Province of Luanda. Confirmed on Janaury 27, 2011.

Thomas Jayaraj Gnanpragasam, 60, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Bangalore. Confirmed on December 30, 2010.

Pedro Alejandro Irizar Irizar, 53, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Santiago. Confirmed on January 4, 2011.

Peter Pidskalny, 65, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Yorkton. Confirmed on January 6, 2011.

Crispin Mostajo, 44, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Cebu. Confirmed on January 6, 2011.

Henrique Aparecido de Lima, 46, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Campo Grande. Confirmed on January 11, 2011.

Brendan Samuel O'Rourke, 61, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Dublin. Confirmed on January 13, 2011.

Alfons Jestl, 54, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Vienna. Confirmed on January 20, 2011.

Peter Renju, 57, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Munich. Confirmed on January 24, 2011.

Raymond Douziech, 67, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Edmonton-Toronto. Confirmed on January 26, 2011.

George Thomas Areekal, 50, elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Liguori. Confirmed on January 26, 2011.

Joseph Cao Dinh Tri, 72, re-elected Provincial Vicar of the Province of Vietnam. Confirmed on January 27, 2011.


The Roman Province at the Congress of the Conference of Italian Major Superiors
Fadi Rahi, C.Ss.R

Members of the Province of Rome attended the Area Evangelization Congress of the Conference of Italian Major Superiors from January 11 to 14. The theme of the meeting was: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel."

The conference was held at the Carmelite Fathers´ facility in Sassone-Rome. The conference had the honor to have as guests and speakers His Eminence, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former Vicar of Rome, and our brother, Archbishop Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R. Secretary of the Congregation for Religious. Father Gianni Congiu, Provincial of the Province of Rome, was in attendance as well as five other Redemptorists and lay people from our Roman communities and members of many other religious institutes. Archbishop Tobin spoke on "Evangelizing Religious Institutes: difficulties and hopes." His presentation was well received by the participants.

Back Row: Father Antonio, Archbishop Tobin, Ms. Ilaria, & Fathers Vito & Luciano.
Front Row: Fathers Luis, Nicola, Gianni (provincial); Sitting: Students Fadi e Pietro

The conference was organized by the Area Evangelization arm of CISM, of which our brother Father Vito Lombardi, C.Ss.R., is a part. He helped bring together a very interesting panel of expert speakers on evangelization and the conference provided good opportunities for dialogue, discussion and fellowship.


Baghdad, Iraq
In the aftermath of terror
Vincent Van Vossel, C.Ss.R.

Editor's note: In Scala #61, Nov. 2010, we published an interview with Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, C.Ss.R. on the state of the Church in Iraq. In the same issue we included a news report on the subsequent terrorist attack that occurred at the Syrian Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in Bagdad on October 31, 2010. We recently received this account of how our Iraqi Redemptorists were personally affected by the tragedy but that their work continues. It would be good to call upon the leaders of our countries to ask the Iraqi government to do more to protect the Christian minority, which continues to be in mortal danger.

As Baghdad has been in the news these last weeks, because of persecuted Christians, it might be of interest to the confreres to know what is happening to the Redemptorist Fathers in Baghdad after the October terrorist attack. Here follows a description about one of their members and how the events affected him.

During the dark days of murder and attacks on Christians and their churches in Baghdad, Redemptorists shared the sufferings of their people. Just like the Italians, the Eastern Christians care for their relatives and keep close family relationships. They are extremely sensitive to what happens to each member of the clan.
On October 31, 2010, during the evening Mass, when the faithful were gathered in the church of Our Lady of Deliverance, the main church of the Syrian Catholic community in Baghdad, a brutal attack took place during the celebration of the Eucharist. Our Lady of Deliverance is a modern church, constructed by a Polish architect, is in the shape of a ship, with an open bow over the entrance, so high that it can be seen from all over the city.

The bishop was on vacation and his archdeacon, Mgr. Raphael Qoteymi, was assisting at the Mass celebrated by a young priest, Fr. Thaer Abdal. He was joined by an even younger priest, Fr. Wasim. During the homily the church suddenly came under heavy attack from two sides. From one side a car with explosives, and at the entrance side a group of gunmen destroyed the high wooden doors, and entered the church shooting and shouting their frightening religious slogans. The assembly was bewildered and afraid and began to crouch down under the pews. The priest who tried to reason with the invaders was shot immediately, and fell onto the steps of the altar. His friend, the younger priest, who rushed to protect him, was killed mercilessly also.

The archdeacon with a group of faithful fled into the sacristy and barricaded the door. A row of frightened youngsters were shot at and terrified women with children fell to the floor fearing for their lives. A baby boy was shot in front of his mother, before she was killed also. About 50 people were martyred that day and many wounded by the bullets and explosions. (All this in the name of the God of Mercyl.) Most of these Christians come originally from a village in the North, in the neighborhood of Mosul. It is actually the most famous Syrian Catholic village of the region.

The inhabitants all know each other, as if they all belonged to the same family. One of the Redemptorist fathers belongs to this village. He knew most of the people who were killed that day, and Fr. Wasim was his friend and close relative. This Syrian Catholic Redemptorist was ordained in his village on Christmas day some 3 years ago. After completing his higher studies in Rome, he came back and joined the Redemptorists in Baghdad. Because our people are Chaldean rite, he had to learn to celebrate in that rite. As the Fathers are taking care of the Melkite (Greek Catholic) community, which is without a priest, he served this abandoned flock for a while. At the request of the Chaldean Patriarch he was then appointed pastor of an important Chaldean parish in 2010. With all his energy and creative spirit he cared for this neglected church. There also he was appointed director of the Catechetical Institute, where the teachers are educated and prepared for their lessons to the faithful on Fridays. Besides that, he also teaches in the Redemptorist "Center for Eastern Studies" in Baghdad and at the Babel College in Erbil. This Redemptorist father was deeply shocked by the murder of his village people, and especially the two young priests who were his close friends, always working together and sustaining each other. Fr. Thaer was the director of the "Center for Eastern Studies", and Fr. Wasim used to teach Church History.

Many people from the North came for the impressive burial service through the streets of Baghdad, even the mother of this Redemptorist Father.

But the killing goes on. In the evening of January 2, 2011, a 48 year old woman, a teacher at the university, was found in her house, tied to a chair, slaughtered with a knife to the head, and then covered with a sack. This girl had written poems in remembrance of Fr. Thaer and Fr. Wasim. Her texts were posted on the walls of the ruined church. She also was a close relative of Fr.Wasim and the Rdemptorist Father from the same village.

During these horrible days, the Redemptorist Fathers have suffered and are broken by pain. In the ebb and flow of news, Baghdad is a forgotten place. But our place is with the most abandoned.



Redemptorist Bishop to Build Hospital, University
Seeks to Employ Skilled Christian Refugees

The Iraqi Archdiocese of Erbil, headed by Redemptorist Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, C.Ss.R., is moving forward with plans to construct a hospital and a university, providing services and jobs for thousands of Christian fleeing violence in the south. Aid to the Church in Need reported that the regional government gave the archdiocese a guarantee that it will gift two pieces of land in Ankawa, a suburb of Arbil in northern Iraq, for the building of these institutions.

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Arbil told the aid agency that the initiatives are expected to provide employment, training, and other opportunities for the thousands fleeing anti-Christian violence in the Baghdad and Mosul regions.

In particular, he noted that the projects respond to the fact that many highly-skilled professionals with expertise in education and medicine have relocated to the north. The prelate affirmed, "The plans we have been developing over the past few months are symbols of hope for the Christian presence in our country."

"The people arriving here from places of violence are receiving the gift of relative security," he affirmed. "They themselves are willing to offer the gift of their services in a region which cannot cope with the demands of an increasing population."

Open doors

The hospital and university will be owned by the archdiocese and run by the Church, but Archbishop Warda underlined the fact that the doors would be open to all people of all religions and beliefs.

The 100-bed hospital will have eight operating rooms, and will occupy a plot of land measuring more than 86,000 square feet. The university will be built on a piece of property larger than 320,000 square feet.

The archbishop appealed for economic support from governments, charities and NGOs for the accomplishment of these projects.

He noted that both institutions aim to open their doors within two years.
The prelate expressed the hope that these projects will slow the Christian exodus from that country. "We do not want Christians to leave Iraq," he said.

Archbishop Warda stated, "It is clear that our society here needs schools, universities and hospitals and this provides us with an opportunity to encourage the Christians to build a future for themselves here."

He added that he hopes to initiate similar projects elsewhere in the Middle East.

WYD: Spanish leaders Provide Visas, Security for World Youth Day

Editor's note: We remind our readers that the past two issues of SCALA have contained important information on the hospitality and events the Redemptorists of the Province of Madrid are planning for Redemptorist youth from around the world. Along with these notices, we remind all Redemptorists engaged in youth ministry to begin the processes necessary to participate in WYD Madrid along with the Holy Father, the Redemptorists, including Father General, and the Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry groups of the Conferences.

The Spanish authorities have agreed to issue free visas to pilgrims traveling to Madrid for World Youth Day, and to contribute the services of 6,000 security forces.

These were some conclusions of a meeting last week between Ramón Jáuregui, minister of the Presidency of Spain, and youth day organizers, including Alberto Gasbarri, coordinator of Papal trips outside Italy.

Some 240,000 young people from all over the world have already registered for the Aug. 16-21 youth day, 23,000 of whom are from outside the European Union (and therefore requiring special visas), with large groups from Latin America and Africa.

The government representative pledged to issue free visas to pilgrims, following the usual processing requirements.

As well, Jáuregui promised the support of 6,000 troops of the State Security Corps and Forces. Although the state leaders will not contribute financially to the event, they have collaborated in facilitating the venues and infrastructure.

Province of Madrid
World Youth Day preparatory event to highlight music, art and liturgy

Young followers of the spirituality of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, and any others interested in taking part, are invited to a Gathering of Music, Art and Liturgy, one of the events being organized by the Spanish Redemptorists in preparation for World Youth Day Madrid 2011. This gathering will take place at the Parroquia del Santísimo Redentor (Holy Redeemer Parish) in Madrid from 18th - 20th February 2011.

Speaking to Zenith from their Madrid communications office, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (better known as the Redemptorists) said:

"2011 will be an unforgettable year for the Church in Spain. World Youth Day is an ecclesial event of the highest order, and an impressive opportunity for young people to discover the joy of the Christian life, and of living it as part of a community. There is no doubt that music will be one of the key elements of welcome and celebration at World Youth Day 2011. Therefore this gathering represents a valuable and joyous preparatory occasion in the lead up to it."

Not only will training and resources be made available, but above all "a space will be afforded so that all pastoral workers charged with enlivening their communities through their artistic talents can grow through the mutual sharing of materials and ideas," say the organizers.

It is now over 25 years since Redemptorist Youth and Vocations Ministry (RYVM) began in Spain, in order to respond to the concerns of young people who want to commit themselves to some form of active and creative participation within the Church.

For the Redemptorist missionaries, young people represent "a challenge and, at the same time an absolutely top priority." The gathering's web page goes on to say:

"Young people challenge us because their response to the Gospel is spontaneous, and prophetic of a new form of Christian life. They are a top priority because they are so often abandoned when it comes to the pastoral work of many Christian communities. They need spaces for reflection, community and prayer. It is for this reason that the doors of the Redemptorist communities of Spain are always open to young people.

In the pastoral work of Redemptorist Youth and Vocations Ministry, music "plays an essential role because we are convinced that it really is an important means to both living and communicating the Faith."

In fact, this sensitivity to music and the arts in general comes precisely from St Alphonsus, the founder of the Redemptorists. Alphonsus cultivated his own poetic, artistic and musical abilities in order to put them at the service of his mission to the poor.

Take as an example his most important work, the 'Duet between the Soul and Christ,' the original score of which is in the British Museum in London, or the famous Christmas carol 'Tu scendi dalle stelle,' about which Giuseppe Verdi remarked: "without this carol of St Alphonsus, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas."

Over 5,000 Redemptorists work in mission communities in countries across the five continents, aided by many men and women who collaborate in the mission and make up the Redemptorist family.

'Our Mother of Perpetual Help' is the missionary icon of the Congregation. In order to learn more about this event, visit


Yorkton Province
Ukrainian Redemptorists lead Week of Christian Unity service
By James Buchok
The Prairie Messenger

WINNIPEG (CCN)--The Christian churches of Winnipeg gathered Jan. 20 for the tenth annual ecumenical gathering of church leaders and their chancery staffs to mark the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Ukrainian Archeparchy of Winnipeg hosted this year's gathering. Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, welcomed all to St. Andrew the First Called Ukrainian Catholic Church in the city's Point Douglas neighbourhood.

The metropolitan explained that St. Andrew is one of three of the archeparchy's 15 churches that follows the Julian calendar, and for that reason a nativity scene remained in the church, as did Christmas trees and other decorations that will be kept up while Christmas carols continue to be sung until the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which falls on Feb. 2.

"The liturgical life of the people in the church is extremely important," Huculak said.

Father Michael Smolinski, a Ukrainian Catholic Redemptorist priest, led the gathering in Vespers.

Father Smolinski is also director of the Welcome Home, a facility a few doors away from the church.

Father Michael Smolinski, C.Ss.R. and Archbishop Lawrence Huculak hosted Winnipeg's annual ecumenical gathering of church leaders and their staffs Jan. 20.
Photo by James Buchok

The Welcome Home was established by the Redemptorists in a large house in the inner city neighbourhood where people in the community are invited to gather for celebrations, prayers and worship. It was opened in 1993 and Father Smolinski has been director for the past six years.

The Redemptorists are an international Catholic religious order of men founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori with a mission to spread the Gospel to the poor and most abandoned.

Father Smolinksi explained that the Welcome Home is a "concrete response" to the needs of the people of the inner city. It hosts weekly family nights with a meal for 30 to 60 people. It also contains a chapel for Masses, baptisms and prayer services and provides a children's summer day camp and young adult ministry.

The staff, which includes a second Redemptorist priest and a full-time volunteer, all of whom live at the home, also work one-on-one with young people at risk.

The Redemptorists invite lay people to live with them in the community to experience their life and ministry. Over nearly three decades, Ukrainian Catholic young adults from across Canada have given a year of their lives to serve the mission of the Welcome Home.

"The inner city people long for freedom from the oppression of poverty," Father Smolinski said. "All types of people come here. The needs of the people in the inner city are real and their faith is strong," he said. "The heart of the ministry of the Welcome Home is prayer."

A different church hosts the annual ecumenical gathering each year. In 2012 the local offices of the Anglican Church will host the 11th annual gathering.


The State of the Conferences

Editor's note: It has been one year since the General Council was seated and began to implement the decisions of the XXIV General Chapter. SCALA sat down with Father General recently to receive an update on the progress being made in one of the major decisions of the General Chapter – the forming of the 5 Conferences of the Congregation:

SCALA: Father General, could you update us on the progress of each of the 5 new Conferences? What are their achievements? What are their continuing challenges?

FATHER GENERAL: I have been at all the first assemblies of the Conferences that have been held so far. I will also be attending the first assembly of the Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean, which has not held theirs yet, because they have been engaged in a great deal of preparatory work.

Let's begin with the North American Conference. In March 2010 they had a short meeting that set up a number of commissions to begin working on pastoral priorities, statutes and structures, and formation in the Conference. They met again in September. They had a draft of the Conference statutes prepared and they have provisional approval with more work to be done; their third meeting will be in September 2011. They are trying to make sure the reality of Redemptorist life in North America is reflected in the way they structure the Conference. They have included and will continue to include communities working in the Conference that are directly accountable to units outside the Conference; and because they are a small number of units, North America has increased the representation of the Conference assembly more than stricly necessary by the guidelines for broader representation that reflects their reality.

Conference of Europe: The European Conference had their first meeting in May 2010, another in October 2010 and will meet again in March 2011. Europe has the major struggle of translation of languages and a large number of units. They have the largest number of units in a Conference, which gives them a largest amount of delegates. At the moment, they have tried to find a good balance of representation that is workable and manageable. They have set up the same commissions that North America did, and in addition, one also on theology.

They have more work to do on the commissions concerning "mission", community and formation. They have their statutes about halfway finished. But they have a provisional approval on their organizational parts, which gives them a structure to move forward. They made a decision to reduce the number of languages for translation at their meetings. They chose Italian and English as their official languages.

Their meetings have been very productive, with a good spirit and good participation. They are excited about moving forward. Although they used to be divided into the sub-regions of northern Europe and southern Europe in pre-Conference times, they do not want sub-conferences at this time. They still want to work all-together. They are in the process of electing their vocals from the larger units for their next assembly in March.

Africa & Madagascar: Africa & Madagascar met the last ten days of August 2010. They held the longest meeting to this point. They came with a draft of statutes, which were re-worked at the meeting but they were not ready to vote on them. So they have not come to us for provisional approval yet. Their biggest problem is the distances and how to get people to assemblies. They are the smallest Conference in numbers, but travel is especially difficult. So they are going to plan long meetings to be held less frequently. They also came up with a working paper on pastoral priorities for the whole Conference that is to be circulated to all the units/assemblies/chapters etc. for further reflection.

They have also started to work on a plan for formation for all the Conference, which they hope will improve the quality of formation and bring together the diverse plans of formation and units. They are also doing some study on the vocation of the brothers. And they also did a lot of work on the fund for Africa and Madagascar. How do they assure that they have the resources necessary –financial, manpower, properties and buildings - to enable the pastoral priorities that are being worked on. One very interesting fact about formation in Africa: One out of 3 professed confreres is a student in initial formation. That is the biggest ratio in the Congregation so that is a great need.

Conference of Asia-Oceania: Asia-Oceania met the last ten days of September 2010. They had a lot of energy. They also decided to have a less frequent, longer meeting because of the incredible distances they have to cover to come together. They also came to the meeting with a draft of statutes, which were edited, modified and submitted for approval. The General Council, at this time, has yet to deal with them. So the statutes are in process. They also drew up a draft document on apostolic priorities to take back to the units to be shared and studied and returned to the next assembly with feedback for further work.

They also studied how the different units can make "connections" among themselves. How do you make agreements to support, share and collaborate with one another? Here we're talking about cooperation among a couple of units within a given area on various levels. They adopted English as their official language and are the only Conference that is, in that sense, monolingual. Of course the pastoral languages are quite diverse.

Asia-Oceania has still got pre-Conference structures such as East Asia – which is the two units in Japan and Korea; South Asia, which is the three units in India, along with Colombo and Sri Lanka; and Southeast Asia, which includes Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, These are not sub-conferences per se as they have in Latin America, but will continue to collaborate as they have in the past.

They talked about finances, as all the Conference assemblies have done also. Asia-Oceania also specifically devoted a whole session of how they can develop stronger ties with Africa-Madagascar in light of the priority the General Chapter gave to this. I found that quite exciting that this decision of the General Chapter would animate them to talk and think concretely beyond their own immediate needs.

Conference of Latin America & Caribbean: The process for Latin America and the Carribean is a bit more complex. They have been meeting and doing preparation for their assembly through the existing sub-conferences, URB (Union of Redemptorists in Brazil) URNALC (Union of Redemptorist of northern Latin America) and URSAL (Union of Redemptorists of southern Latin America). They decided at the General Chapter that they would have a meeting of the sub-conferences followed by a meeting of delegates chosen by each of the three sub-conferences to plan the assembly of the whole Conference and to hold the assembly as soon as is possible after the Quadrenniel elections. So this will be held at the beginning of March.

SCALA: What will be the roles the General Consultors and of the Coordinators?

FATHER GENERAL: The General Consultor from the Conference has participated and will participate in the assemblies of their particular Conference. As Superior General, I have gone to the first meeting of the Assemblies. In the future I will participate in those subsequent meetings as is possible and as requested. Each Conference is preparing their slate of official candidates for the position of Coordinator to be submitted to the General Council by March 15th. And we will appoint the coordinators at our spring extraordinary meeting by Easter. The Coordinators will have delegated authority from the Superior General. After they are appointed, we will have a meeting with them here in Rome with the General Council to take a look at what this means in the concrete for each Conference. Then it will be the Coordinator's prime responsibility to move the assemblies of the Conferences forward and to address the very real issues each Conference has raised and that need to be addressed by each assembly at large. Questions such as: "How do we implement the apostolic priorities? What are the next steps to take in formation? What do we do in terms of solidarity in finances and personnel?

This will take the Coordinators time as they will need to work with the Conferences and the General Council in a spirit of collegiality and co-responsibility. The blueprint for the next steps to be taken will be different for each Conference. But the first step will be that the Coordinator is in touch with, knows and appreciates the real concerns and reality "on the ground" in his Conference. Secondly, that the Coordinator knows, appreciates and understands the "vision of the whole Congregation" as represented by the General Council, his authority and the limits of that authority as delegated by the Superior General, and the concerns of the other Conferences as shared by the other Conference Coordinators. From that input each Coordinator can ask what is emerging as priorities in my Conference? That's how I see it unfolding. Editor's note: Father General concluded this part of the interview by explaining how the individual Conference assemblies would theoretically choose their ex-officio and elected vocals, which will be particular to each Conference's statutes.

SCALA: The first-ever Quadrennial elections are almost concluded. What is your impression of them so far?

FATHER GENERAL: There are significant numbers of new superiors in each Conference coming into office through the quadrennial elections. Many units, through the elections, are experiencing brand new leadership, which will necessitate the new superiors coming up to speed in the processes underway. Some have been vocals in their assemblies already and at least there is something they are familiar with; and because the statutes are underway, there is something for brand new superiors to study. It had been our custom in the past to invite new unit superiors to Rome for an orientation. It is our thinking now that the processes underway would be better served if we invite both new and existing superiors, in other words, all the superiors, to this meeting, which is being planned for the fall, so that all can come to know each other better for the sake of forming intra-Conference and inter-Conference networking. If we decide to do this, an official communication about it will go out to them.

SCALA: Father General, thank you for sharing your time with the SCALA readership to bring them up to date on the activities of the Conferences.

FATHER GENERAL: You are very welcome!



Recent noteworthy events in the Redemptorist Family. For a complete record of Transitions visit the Officialia site

First Profession of Temporary Vows:
Jacky Merilan, Region of the Carribean, August 15, 2010
Rafael Paul Ibañez More, Vice Province of Peru-North, January 9, 2011
Luis Abelardo Ramírez Sánchez, Vice Province of Peru-North, January 9, 2011
Ray Wigberto Rodríquez Arrieta, Vice Province of Peru-North, January 9, 2011
Daniel Augusto da Silva, Province of São Paulo, January 23, 2011
Luis Ovidio De léon López, Province of Paraguay, January 23, 2011
Antonio Sergio Andrades Pires, Vice Province of Manaus, January 29, 2011
José James Batista da Silva, Vice Province of Manaus, January 29, 2011
Manoel de Jesus da Silva Pereira, Vice Province of Manaus, January 29, 2011
Iuri Rogério da Silva Lima, Vice Province of Manaus, January 29, 2011
José do Nazaré Moura Ferreira, Vice Province of Manaus, January 29, 2011

Profession of Perpetual Vows:
Kevin Bellot, Region of the Carribean, August 11, 2011

Ordination to the Priesthood:
Marcelino Ferreira da Costa Neto, Province of Goiás, November 27, 2010
Valdir Benedito da Luz, Province of São Paulo, December 18, 2010

Rev. Robert Mathieux, 84, Province of Lyon-Paris, December 28, 2010
Rev. Léon Grégoire, 85, Region of Belgium-South, January 3, 2011
Rev. Maurice Becqué, 98, Region of Belgium-South, January 10, 2011
Rev. Lawrence Albert Patin, 73, Vice Province of Bangkok, January 11, 2011
Rev. Gérard Le Van Hoa, 62, Province of Vietnam, January 14, 2011
Rev. François Dondeynaz, 87, Province of Lyon-Parish, January 15, 2011
Rev. William Frederick Hogan, 87, Province of Denver, January 16, 2011
Rev. John P. Mullin, 89, Province of Dublin, January 19, 2011

Jubilees - March
70th Jubilee of Profession:
Benedikt Stein, Province of St. Clement, (Cologne); March 15, 2011

60th Jubilee of Profession:
Alphonsus Mary Doran, Province of Dublin, March 25, 2011

60th Jubilee of Ordination:
Ettore Santoriello, Province of Naples, March 10, 2011
Donald Kennedy, Province of Canberra, March 11, 2011
Wilhelm Pesch, Province of St. Clement (Cologne); March 31, 2011
Karl Siepen, Province of St. Clement (Cologne); March 31, 2011

50th Jubilee of Profession:
Gérard Gagnon, Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, March 15, 2011
Marie-Louis Lecours, Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, March 15, 2011
Gérard Rousseau, Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, March 15, 2011
Michel Nguyễn Vǎn Thiện, Province of Vietnam, March 25, 2011
Rudolf Matuszek, Province of St. Clement (Cologne); March 25, 2011
Wilhelm Schulte, Province of St. Clement (Cologne); March 25, 2011

50th Jubilee of Ordination:
Eduardo Arturo Meléndez Bandi, Province of Buenos Aires, March 18, 2011
Antonio Napoletano, Province of Naples, March 19, 2011
David Clancy, Vice Province of Manila, March 19, 2011
Bonifacio Flordeliza, Vice Province of Manila, March 19, 2011

25th Jubilee of Ordination:
Darci José Nicioli, Province of São Paulo, March 9, 2011



Translator: Charles Randall, Novice of the London Province
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