|S C A L A||
Giving our lives for plentiful redemption
|Redemptorist Information Service||Number 2|
December 9, 2004
From the Editor
Thank you for the enthusiastic response to our first edition of SCALA. We are continuing to evaluate what we present, how we present it and how often we can update you. Please spread the word about SCALA to confreres who may not have subscribed yet. Send them to http://www.cssr.com/members/scala to sign up!
Giving our lives for plentiful redemption is not just a slogan. Redemptorists featured in this issue of SCALA give ample testimony of what it means to live and minister among the most abandoned and to experience their marginalization, their pain, and even their death.
Later this month we celebrate one of Alphonsus' triad of devotions: The CRIB of Crib, Cross & Sacrament. More than ever we need the peace that only The Word can bring into our broken world. The General Government, the Translators and the Office of Communications wish you: Buon Natale! Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Bozego Narodzenia, Feliz Natal, Froehliche Weihnachten!
Gary Ziuraitis, C.SS.R.
News from the Provinces
In Spiritu Redemptionis
Redemptorists in the News
Monthly Picture Gallery (online only)
Featured Redemptorist Website
Reports from the Curia, Secretariat, Institutes, and Committees
Recent noteworthy events in the Redemptorist Family. For a complete record of transitions
visit the Officialia site
First Profession of Temporary Vows:
Agostinho Lumbanque Leao, Vice Province of Luanda, November 7, 2004.
Celino Ndulu, Vice Province of Luanda, November 7, 2004.
Ferriera Revoluçao Ngongo, Vice Province of Luanda, November 7, 2004.
Profession of Perpetual Vows:
José Hailton Leonardo da Silva, Vice Province of Recife, October 14, 2004
Badeea N´Butrus, Province of Sainte Anne de Beaupré, October 28, 2004.
Henrique Samba Katumba, Vice Province of Luanda, November 7, 2004.
Menezes Chipikungu Cardoso Chiseva, Vice Province of Luanda, November 7, 2004.
Joseph Pham Hong Tài, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004.
Matthieu Nguyen Huu Quang, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004.
Joseph Nguyen Van Hoi, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004.
Jean Vu Minh Sinh, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004
Joseph Tran Cao Chi, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004.
Luc Lê Viet Phuong, Province of Vietnam, November 8, 2004.
Ordination to the Priesthood:
Young-hoon Thomas Park, Region of Korea, September 15, 2004
Juan Manuel Solózano Bernal, Province of México, October 23, 2004
Euclides Medina Blanco, Province of Bogotá, November 20, 2004.
Jaime Alonzo Duarte Cavanzo, Province of Bogotá, November 20, 2004.
José Gabriel Tarazona Celi, Province of Bogotá, November 20, 2004.
Father Gómez Rueda, relected Provincial Vicar, Bogotá. Confirmed November 8, 2004.
Father Józef Slaby, Vice Provincial Superior, Resistencia. Confirmed November 12, 2004.
Father Henry K Józef Kaczocha, Vicar, Resistencia.
Father Fábio Bento da Costa, Provincial Superior, Goiás. Confirmed November 11, 2004.
Father Henrique Jacoby Strehl, Vicar, Goiás.
Father Antoni Niemiec, Vice Provincial Superior, Bahia. Confirmed November 12, 2004
João Batista Alves do Nascimento, Vicar, Bahia.
Father Francisco Cano, Vice Provincial Superior, Pilar. Confirmed November 16, 2004.
Father Roque Ríos, Vicar. Pilar.
Father Joseph Cao Dinh Tri, Provincial Superior, Vietnam. Confirmed November 19, 2004.
Father Euclides Pedro Cembranel, Provincial Superior, Porto Alegre. Confirmed November 20, 2004.
Father Danilo Bulegon, Vicar, Porto Alegre.
Father Geraldo Freire Soares, Vice Provincial Superior, Recife. Confirmed November 20, 2004.
Father Gabriel Hofstede, Vicar, Recife.
Father Patrick Francis Woods, Provincial Superior, Baltimore. Confirmed November 25, 2004.
Father Alfred Eugene Bradley, Vicar, Baltimore.
Father Ramón Rafael Valdez Caseneuve, Vice Provincial Superior, Asunción. Confirmed November 27, 2004.
Father Pedro Sergio Sanabria Galeano, Vicar, Asunción.
Father William Peterson, Regional Superior, Nigeria. Confirmed November 29, 2004.
Father Richard Thiele, Vicar, Nigeria.
Father Manuel Soares, Vice Provincial Superior, Manaus. Confirmed November 30, 2004.
Father Ronaldo Oliveira, Vicar, Manaus.
Father Joseph Apisit, Vice Provincial Superior, Bangkok. Confirmed December 1, 2004
Father James Thanu, Vice Provincial Vicar, Bangkok
Newly established house:
House of Studies, in Lublin, Poland. Canonically erected on November 8, 2004.
Father Edvaldo Manoel de Araújo of the Province of São Paulo successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on November 30, 2004 at the Teresianum, Rome. The title of his dissertation is: The Signs of the Times, Signs of God: To Evanglize in the Context of Injustice in the Theological and Anthropological thought of Dom Helder Camara.
Father Cyrille Perrin, 77, Province of Helvetica, October 29, 2004
Father Paul Gerard Doucet, 79, Province of Edmonton-Toronto, October 29, 2004
Father Julio Azpilicueta Roncal, 87, Province of Madrid, November 1, 2004.
Father John Edward Bellon, 90, Province of Denver, November 4, 2004.
Father Clemente Aparicio González, 95, Province of Caracas, November 5, 2004
Father John William Drum, 77, Province of Baltimore, November 6, 2004.
Father Gino Panizzo, 91, Province of Rome, November 9, 2004.
Father William L. Jacob, 84, Province of Baltimore, November 26, 2004.
Father Antoni Franczyk, 90, Province of Warsaw, November 28, 2004.
News from the Provinces
Dates Set for New St. Clement Province
Preparations are underway for the new St. Clement province in Northern Europe. The final provincial chapters of the participating units, Cologne, Flanders, Amsterdam and Helvetica will be held simultaneosly inTorhout, Belgium April 12 - 15, 2005. The new province of St. Clement will be established on August 1, 2005 in Matran, Switzerland. The first provincial chapter of the new St. Clement province will be held August 2 - 6, 2005 in Matran. We hope to bring you more news about this historic merger in future issues of SCALA.
Contributed by Father Jurgen Langer, C.SS.R.
New Vice Provincial
Rev. Geraldo Freire Soares was elected Vice Provincial of the Recife Vice Province on the first ballot on November 20, 2004. He is the first “nordestino” to be elected vice-provincial in the history of the northeastern Brazilian (vice) provinces. After Father Geraldo’s election, outgoing vice provincial superior Father Jose Luis remarked: não teremos mais o Ano [San] Geraldino, mas um Triênio Geraldino”. “We not only have the year of [St]. Gerard, but we will have a triennium of Gerard!
Rio de Janeiro
50,000 Attend St. Gerard Celebration
An “Octave of St. Gerard” was held at the Basilica of St. Gerard in Curvelo, province of Rio de Janeiro from August 28th to September 5th. It was marked by Masses and common penance services. The final procession on September 5th gathered a crowd of 50,000 people. From October 14th to 17th a Triduum in honor St. Gerard was held, attended by a great number of pilgrims. Until October 2005 there will be a special pilgrimage in honor of St. Gerard on the 16th of every month. On Mondays during the whole year, there will be the customary three masses and a perpetual novena of St. Gerard.
In addition to the year of St. Gerard events, Curvelo is also home to the novitiate of the Rio Province. On December 8th, three novices will make their temporary profession: Lúcio Marcos Bento, Ronaldo Sérgio of Faria and Maikel Pablo Dalbem.
Contributed by Father José Augusto de Silva, Master of Novices
The International Meeting of Brothers
September 22 to 26, 2004
Over fifty Brothers and four Provincial Superiors from twelve European Provinces joined together for the International Meeting of Brothers held in Torun Poland. They came from Ireland, England, Belgium, Flanders, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and the Ukraine. From this diversity a lived friendship and shared vision emerged. Brothers from the ages of 20 years old to 84 years old came together in mutual respect and loving conversation.
In the beginning time was spent getting to know one another. We began with a gathering on Wednesday evening to renew acquaintances and to get acquainted with the new people, especially the younger confreres from eastern Europe. Old and young shared the happiness of being together.
Wonderfully well-prepared evening celebrations, tours of the city of Torun and an all-day tour of Gdansk and Gdynia created an atmosphere of community. The exceptional presentations by Fr. Hans Schermann enabled a genuine deepening of, reflection on, and formulation of a common vision. Fr. Schermann gave a genuine, up-to-date and uniquely forward-looking perspective on “salvation” – which made it a truly Redemptorist perspective. Serving as translators were Richard Hajduk (German-Polish) and Stanislaus Wrobel (German-English).
Thursday morning gave us the opportunity to get to know several of the Brothers that were present -- Michael Duxbury, the former representative from the General Chapter and former President, Ulrich Küppershaus and Karl Elsasser, a former Secretary. Short but moving statements made the whole presentation very meaningful and gripping. A report from Herman ten Winkel on the process of working towards union among the Provinces of northern and central Europe followed. The confreres from eastern Europe listened to this with a great deal of interest and commented on how it might apply to their own situation.
Friday morning Fr. H. Schermann presented the theme: “Giving One’s Life for Plentiful Redemption. He began with a short introduction – Heinrich Schütz’s setting of Psalm 130. Schermann then laid out what being in need of salvation means, what the Saviour is and what it is to be a co-worker in the work of salvation; The afternoon left some time for information about the last General Chapter. Then Bro. Servatius described movingly the situation of the Church and the struggle to recognize and act on the signs of the times. Then there was a presentation by Brothers Michael, Karl and Ulrich, who sent the group, exhausted from receiving so much information, off to a well-earned time of fellowship.
Remembering the words from Hans Schermann’s talk, “Our saviour is not ‘on the other side where all saviours are.’ He is with us!”
Contributed by Father Hugo Heule C.Ss.R.
The Novitiate During War
A Sign of Hope for Others
(editor’s note: This is a brief account of our Iraqi novices who were making Novitiate during the war in Iraq.)
My name is Sameem Y. CSsR, I am honored to relate this experience. I don't know where to start, but I'll try to describe the essential circumstances we have lived during the war.
Our community in Iraq consisted of Fr. Vincent Van Vossel CSsR , the superior of the congregation in Iraq; Fr. Lucian Kop CSsR , our spiritual director; and Fr. Bashar CSsR, who is responsible for the student candidates. All of these Fathers were teaching as professors in The Babel College, which is affiliated to the Pontifical Urbaniana University - Rome. Furthermore, they were responsible for churches in Baghdad.. Fr. Van Vossel had charge of St. Raphael Latin Rite Church (The Roman Catholic Church which has been bombed) Fr. Kop ( St. Raphael Church and Spiritual Director for many congregations of nuns & monks in Baghdad. Fr. Bashar was in charge of St. Elia Chaldean Church.
We three students, Sameem Y. Balius, Meyassar B. Moussa and Ashour Y. Daood were students in this community, in our second year of Theology at Babel college. During 2002, we were accepted into novitiate in Baghdad.
Fr. Lucian Kop CSsR would be our Novice Master. We were happy about the decision to make novitiate in Baghdad. It would be a good opportunity for us to live the reality of our country. The suffering would ripen our vocations like the experience of the People of God in the Sinai desert. For us, this step was rooted in reality: becoming Redemptorists to serve the most abandoned in the middle of the war .
We started the Novitiate on October 13, 2002, with the celebration of Holy Mass, in the presence of Father Van Vossel, other Redemptorists and the other student candidates. The Novice Master gave each of us a candle to symbolize that our journey needed to be illuminated with the light of God and the Cross so we could walk the Way of Jesus Christ.
In Baghdad many vital and strategic military targets were near to our house. Everyday the bombing would shake the ground around us and we would go out during daylight to see what damage had been done during the night. Our Novitiate program continued despite the war. We had spent more than six months of the Novitiate under these conditions. One day, Father Van Vossel came to explain that a change of place was necessary because the situation was growing more grave and we might become victims of either coalition or terrorist bombings ourselves. So we traveled to another Iraqi province that would be more safe to complete the rest of the Novitiate period.
We arrived in Musol - KaraKosh on March 22, 2003. It was a “safe city,” populated with 25,000 Syriac Christians. They welcomed us, and provided hospitality. A debt of gratitude was due to Archbishop Basilius of Musol who allowed us to use the residence at the Cultural center of Karakosh to complete our Novitiate program. We saw the People of Karakosh trying to help the refugees from Baghdad, providing them food and shelter. We felt that the teachings of Jesus to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and give shelter to the homeless had been fulfilled in this place because the Karakoshian people shared what they had with the refugees from Baghdad. We saw it as a sign of faith and that God was pitching his tent among his people.
During this period, Syrian TV showed what was happening back in Baghdad with the occupation of American/coalition forces. We did not know what to think; we were happy and sad at the same time. We were happy because we thought that the Americans would liberate Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam's regime. But we were sad because we were witnessing many Iraqi victims as a result of this war. We shared the feast of the Resurrection of Christ with the Karakoshian people, gathering in the church, praying for peace. But I should be frank, we were afraid of civil war breaking out in Iraq because the feeling was increasing among the people that the American forces were indifferent to the problems of the Iraqi people and they were there on our soil to make Iraq a battle front of the war on terrorism so that they would not have to fight on their own soil.
On April 27, 2003, we returned to Baghdad, shocked by the destruction we saw there. Buildings were in rubble and many key civil facilities had been looted. The Americans soldiers, it seemed, were only guarding the Ministry of Oil. There was chaos in the streets of Baghdad. Nightime was very dangerous for us. Before his regime fell, Saddam freed all the criminals. You might be killed simply because of random violence by one of them. Accordingly we have lived in fear for our lives in another kind of way. Intervention by the American Army was expected, but they did not seem to care about the innocent Iraqi victims, but only the oil. Many died with no response from them.
At night these criminals tried to rob and kill people for no cause but for their money. Many of our people have been killed in this way. Then there are the abductions, even taking children from their schools or from the street and asking ransom to set them free.
In the middle of these circumstances we continued our Novitiate, trying to support the people with our prayers. Consequently, we lived our Novitiate as a symbol of Christian witness and as a sign of hope for our fellow Christians there.
The time of concluding the Novitiate approached, and we were ready for being disciples of Christ, to serve all the people in need and those who are marginalized and abandoned. So, in the presence of many Christians and religious, we made our vows of temporary profession in St. Joseph Chaldean Cathedral on October 13, 2003. It was an occasion of great joy for the Christians there because we would be for them a sign of hope and comfort in these horrible circumstances of war – the birth of workers sent into the vineyard of the Lord.
Whatever the stress of the War, the faith would be continued in this place, and we would respond to Jesus with a “yes,” like when he asked the disciples: “would the Son of Man find faith when he returns?” ( Luke 18:8).
Our work today in Iraq is to plant the hope of God in the hearts of the people. This is the work of Redemptorists as our Founder St. Alphonsus Liguori has said. It is possible to fight terrorism with prayer and love. With Him is Plentiful Redemption.
Yours in Christ,
Sameem Y. C.Ss.R.
Ivory Coast, West Africa
Living with Danger
One Confrere’s Account
This is an e-mail message sent by Redemptorist Missionary, Fr. Fernando Olmedo, C.Ss.R., from Tiébissou (Ivory Coast), on November 11, 2004.
How are things with you? We hope that all is well, although we already see that not all is tranquil. We have been without the internet for several days. Today, to our surprise, we are able to connect, but I don’t know for how long. I will take advantage of this opportunity to write you and let you know that I have received all the messages sent since the 4th of this month.
The air strikes on the occupied zone lasted several days. A bomb even fell on the French headquarters in Bouaké. The French retaliated with their ground forces, destroying two jet airplanes in the airport of Yamoussoukro. And just when we thought that things had settled down, they went on to destroy all the government's jets and helicopters, including the presidential jet. The French troops took a break in order to give time for the French fighter jets from Ghana to arrive. These fighter jets were the ones that made the attack and did serious damage to the airports of Yamoussoukro and Abidjan, and also to the presidential palace in Yamoussoukro.
In just a few hours the aspirations of the Ivory Coast people were squashed. They believed they could win the war easily. The people’s feelings of frustration and humiliation were expressed in a series of public manifestations and widespread protests, as well as in attacks on French interests, properties and businesses in Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. Last night there were protests in Tiébissou, but without damage to property. On Sunday, when French vehicles were going down to Abidjan, there were several incidents, culminating in the burning of a French car. Several people from Tiébissou were hurt. French troops opened fire. When we were leaving Mass there was general alarm about the gunshots heard in the city.
The tension soon transferred to Abidjan. There the French barricaded themselves in the Ivory Hotel and cut access to the bridges to the city. It was believed that they were going to attack and depose President Gbagbo. One column of French troops ended up going to the presidential residence (but they immediately denied this, saying that they had mistakenly gone the wrong way……and naturally, we all believe this!). The opposition leader, called Ouattara, arrived in the country in order to lead a new government. Also, the military Chief of Staff was proposed as the new president. Anyway, the French military personnel would not or could not depose President Gbagbo. The popular reaction was immediate, and thousands of people encircled the supposed targets of the French armed forces: the presidential residence, the television station and the Ivory Hotel itself. The government forces attacked the French in the airport, but could not penetrate their defenses. It is impossible to compare the armed forces of Ivory Coast and France. The surprise effect was lost and now it seems impossible that the president will be changed. The international community entrusted the work of negotiation to the president of South Africa, but three hours of conversation with President Gbagbo resulted in nothing. It seems President Gbagbo rejected all the proposals.
The rebels, for their part, are more confident. They have said that they will never again negotiate. They have repositioned their military equipment and readjusted their strategies. One of their generals has even gone to the west of the country, to the city of San Pedro, taking advantage of the fact that the French have regrouped in Abidjan. Perhaps the French are leaving them alone so as to pressure Gbagbo.
The situation in Tiébissou is tranquil now. Sometimes conflicts in the capital are reported, but nothing serious. In the beginning we opted to not go outside the mission compound, but then, little by little, we could go out without problems. They do not attack white people here. We don't take the cars out, to avoid the Rebel army who would confiscate them -- before in order to attack, but now to escape. The city is full of government troops who regrouped to attack Sakassou and Bouaké. UN forces are also here, working to stabilize the situation and not allow combatants to pass through. Our fear in Tiébissou is that the rebels might attack the city now that they have the advantage, but, for the moment nothing seems to indicate an imminent attack, and the UN and French forces have given serious warnings. They are quite fed up with the rebel forces.
In Bouaké the situation seemed bad, above all because José María (a confrere) was all alone there, and the telephone in his neighborhood was cut off. He managed to call us from downtown to say that he was alright, but in the city there was no electricity, lights or running water and beyond all that the rebels had stolen the car, both his and those of all the parishes. After this, we were without news, because the telephone was cut off permanently. Two days ago the highway to Bouaké reopened, so brother Hervé offered to go to Bouaké (in fact he told me, jokingly in Spanish: “Adiós, I am going to Bouaké to look for the old man”). He returned at noon today with comforting news, although the aforementioned old man, Fr. José María, didn't come with him.
The city is now so much better than one would believe. The majority of the bombs did not explode (it was not a miracle of the Virgin, but rather what happens when you buy leftovers, in this case from the war in Angola), thus the city did not suffer damage. The parish community has supported José María, in such a fine way that he lacked no food or water. For their part, the priests have agreed to help one other and they have spoken with the rebel leaders, reproaching them for their lack of respect for the Catholic missions, especially for the stealing of cars. As a result, they have returned our car to us, which is no small thing. The most important thing is that José María is well. He can count on the people's support and the rebels are not going to attack him or steal any more from him. He can even come to Tiébissou if necessary.
One last story: we already know what really happened in the attack that cost the lives of the eight French and one American. A rebel general gathered his troops all around the French barracks so that the fighter jets would attack there. The government troops took the bait, the result of which we already know. Unfortunately this was one bomb that did actually explode. Anyway, since the air attack was unable to drive away the rebel forces, we feared the rebel forces would make a ground attack on Bouaké, which could have degenerated into a massacre of the government troops.
This is the present situation. We are now just waiting. For the moment we have no intention of leaving the country, something altogether complicated for sure, even if the airplane promised by the Spanish government does arrive -- due to the difficulties white people could run into on the highway into Abidjan. Before we do that, in case of any grave danger, we will leave for Yamoussoukro by a road through the jungle, which would allow us to arrive in the city close to the airport, which is controlled by the French, and we could seek asylum in the Basilica (we have already spoken to those who are responsible), which is a territory belonging to the Vatican.
Before we go we want to thank you for all your e-mails and your telephone calls (by the way, today I cannot receive but I can send messages). Thank you very much for your support and your prayers.
A warm hug,
Fernando and the community of Tiébissou
In Spiritu RedemptionisSouth Africa
At the heart of all Christian renewal is the continual rediscovery of the reality of Christ. Called to give our lives for plentiful redemption means that we allow ourselves to be seduced by God’s love in Christ. It means that a personal relationship with Jesus is absolutely central to our lives and it implies that Jesus is the unifying centre of our personal and community lives. It means, in fact, that the call to restructuring is a conversion call to plentiful redemption. We are hearing that call in a country which has already experienced a “miracle” of transformation and in which religious sensitivity is still acute.
When the General Chapter speaks of restructuring it is not concerned with a purely administrative issue; it is not a quick-fix for situations where there are no Redemptorist vocations or where there seems to be no future; it is not a device to save certain houses or ministries. Restructuring concerns our freedom to be faithful to our mission. All our structures must serve our mission. Hence restructuring as a call to conversion must look at issues of life-style, it must examine our mentality and it must review our organizational traditions. Do our ways of living, our attitudes and our practices help us to fulfil our charism? The supreme criterion for us is always the following of Christ in the evangelization of the poor and most abandoned.
Fr. General has drawn attention to four areas of our lives in which the question restructuring is already clearly seen.
Initial formation. We already have some experience of the benefits of a new structure in the Inter-Unit novitiate at Rustenburg. We are acutely aware of our limitations in sustaining a complete formation programme ourselves.
Migration of peoples. How do our structures help or hinder the facing of the massive issue of refugees and displaced peoples even in South Africa? Communicanda 1 suggests that Africa has been abandoned “by the Church and Redemptorists” (35). How do we read this and what response are we free to give?
Defeatism. Is the Congregation to throw in the towel in certain parts of the world and do nothing to meet the challenges to our Mission? Should the rest of the Congregation stand by and let many historic Units die off? Or should we search for new ways of being redemption in a post-Christian milieu?
Financial structures. Do the present structures help or hinder our mission? Is the current economic disparity between Units written in stone or can we imagine other ways of sharing the financial burden?
It is fascinating to go back a little into history and see how our structures have been constantly evolving. In the early days we had no Provinces as such. In our first century the focus was more on international communities as we grew. After the erection of distinct Provinces, rapid growth led to Vice-Provinces and Missions. In the 20th century Regions were introduced and there was a trend to new international communities again. We are now being challenged in each Region to establish at least one international community during this sexennium.
None of this will make sense unless it springs from our missionary mysticism: from our personal relationship with Jesus and our insatiable desire to give our lives for plentiful redemption.
As we head into a new triennium in our own Province it is not difficult to appreciate the urgency of the call to conversion expressed in terms of fresh ways of living our mission. We are part of a vibrant international community of missionaries, graced with a call to let nothing separate us from the love of Christ –no alternative, no structure, no difficulty.
We are already part of the most radical restructuring of all – the mystery of redemption. May the spirit of the Redeemer be with us in the years ahead.
Redemptorists in the NewsIreland
(Editor’s note: On September 27, 2004, Fr. Alex Reid, C.Ss.R. was conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council at a ceremony at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin. The award was in recognition of his life time of work in promoting peace. The following are excerpts from the introductory address delivered by Mr. Seán O Foghlú, Chief Executive, National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, at the conferring ceremony, and as published in Copiosa, the newsletter of the Irish Redemptorists.)
Fr. Reid has been acclaimed nationally and internationally for the crucial role he has played in the peace process in Northern Ireland. He was the key person in ensuring that dialogue was initiated between various parties at critical stages in the development of the peace process. It has been said that the peace process would not have been what it was without him.
The driving force for Fr. Reid in all of his action is his belief that the role of the servant of Christ in a situation of conflict is to be the pastoral agent of the Holy Spirit. He believes that there is a crucial scriptural guideline for the serving Christian in a situation of conflict: that the Christian must, like Jesus, become personally involved in full humanity until he knows it by heart in all its flesh and blood reality. In a desperate situation, Fr. Reid was known to proclaim “we will need the grace of God to get through this.”
His conviction is that it is the role of the church to take the conflict off the streets and onto the conference table – for it is only there that a solution would need to be one that would enable all the people involved to live together in friendship and mutual cooperation for the common good of all.
When he was often asked who did he represent in undertaking his role, he would simply say that he represented the next person who was going to be killed or injured in the conflict or the next person who was going to be emotionally shattered.
In undertaking his work, therefore, Fr. Reid recognized the complexities of the situation and the need to ensure that solutions would be found which respected the principles of all sides. He did not see it as his role to engage in any of the actual negotiations but rather to support the bringing about of a solution which was fair to everyone.
It has been said that the manner in which Fr. Reid has developed this mission for peace provides lessons for organized religion everywhere.
Among the key actions that Fr. Reid undertook was the arranging of a series of meetings between Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and SDLP leader John Hume. This courageous initiative paved the way for the peace process. Following this, Fr. Reid acted as their contact person, inter alia, with the Irish government, and a series of events was put in play which led to the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998. Fr. Reid was relentless in pursuit of the main objective. He never let anyone rest, especially not himself.
Fr. Reid is currently using the experience he has gained from his work in Ireland to try and promote the bringing about of peace in the Basque [Spain] country. In addition, he is in the process of setting out the lessons he has learned from his experiences of the Irish conflict over many years. He refers to these as lessons from the streets.
Monthly Picture Gallery ( for online viewing only)
1) Vice Province of Recife Electoral Assembly
2) Newly Elected Recife Vice Provincial Government
3) Recife Electoral Assembly Members Pose for Scala
4) Alex Reid, C.SS.R.
5) St. Joseph’s, Torun, Poland
6) Brothers’ Meeting in Torun, Poland
7) Vice Province of Bangkok, Electoral Chapter
8) Father Edvaldo Accepting congratulations
9) Father Edvaldo with the Teresianum Professors and Advisor
10) Father Edvaldo Receiving Congratulations from Father Serafino Fiore, Vicar General
The Tragic Death of Fr. Macrino Nájera Cisneros, C.Ss.R.
A Disturbed Young Man Leaves Three Victims
This past October 16th was a tragic day for our confreres in Mexico. Here is the official version of what happened:
A Short Biography
Fr. Macrino Nájera Cisneros, C.Ss.R. was born on January 9, 1962 in Irapuato, Guanajuato, the son of Justino and María Soledad. He was the fifth of fourteen siblings. In August of 1978 he entered the Redemptorist Minor Seminary in San Luis Potosi. He made his first profession on August 1, 1981. He received the sacrament of Holy Orders on August 1, 1988. He lived his religious life in the communities of Torreón, Irapuato and Carichí. He was a member of the Mission Team from 1999-2004.
According to the Mission calendar of the Province of Mexico, the Mission Team was to realize the pastoral work of, “Ecclesiological Days for Lifting Up,” in the parish of Tazumbos, Jalisco. The pastor of the parish had received the Redemptorist missionaries. They had agreed on what was to be done and distributed the various tasks among the priests, religious and lay people.
Fr. Macrino and Sr. Julieta Blanco (MPS) were assigned to a small village called Rancho Nuevo. On Saturday afternoon, the 16th of October, there was a celebration of First Communion. Fr. Macrino was then invited to participate in the family gathering that was offered according to local custom. Among those invited was a young man, 22 years old, who appeared to be drunk or had taken some other substance. The young man was well known by the father of the house and another man who had participated with Fr. Macrino in the Mass and in the homily. This young man suddenly went outside the house and within seconds of his return, he opened fire with a pistol, hitting the father of the girl who had made her First Communion, another family friend and Fr. Macrino. It was about 9:30 p.m.
On Sunday, October 17th, about 9:15 p.m., the body of Fr. Macrino arrived at our church in Irapuato and at 10:00 p.m. we celebrated the Eucharist. Just a few minutes before, Bishop José de Jesús Martínez Zepeda had expressed his sympathies to the Redemptorists, embraced the family members of Fr. Macrino and said a funeral prayer.
The wake was held at the Romeral ranch, where his family is currently living. On Monday, at 1:00 p.m., the Solemn Funeral Mass began, presided by Fr. Provincial. Some 15 priests concelebrated. Also present were some Missionaries of Perpetual Help, Carmelite Sisters and Sisters Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Poor. Lay people from the Redemptorist Family of Irapuato and some others from other communities in the Republic of Mexico also accompanied us. The church was filled to overflowing.
After the celebration of Eucharist, the funeral procession made it’s way to the local cemetery where the mortal remains of Fr. Macrino were laid to rest.
Contributed by NER, November, 2004, Fr. Tirso Cepedal Román, C.Ss.R.Index
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Reports fom the Curia, Secretariats, Institutes, and CommitteesROME, ITALY
From November 2-5, 2004. the General Secretariat for Youth and Vocation Ministry (PJVR) met in Rome. It was the first meeting in the current sexennium (2003-2009). Two members of the current Secretariat were already members of this Secretariat in the preceding sexennium: Serafino Fiore, General Consultor and President (email@example.com) and Ariel Cesar Cattaneo (Province of Buenos Aires – firstname.lastname@example.org) for Latin America). The other five members are new: Santo Arrigo (Edmonton-Toronto – email@example.com) for North America), Jens Bartsch (Munich – firstname.lastname@example.org) for northern Europe, Raymond Mupandasekwa (Zimbabwe – email@example.com) for Africa, Alfonso Amarante (Naples – firstname.lastname@example.org) for southern Europe and Willy Ngongo Pala (Indonésia – email@example.com) for Asia-Oceania.
The diversity of languages was one of the first challenges encountered in this meeting. But thanks to help from Fr. Félix Catalá (Director of the Center for Redemptorist Spirituality) who participated in the whole meeting, the difficulty of translating from English and from Spanish was faced and overcome without much difficulty.
Another challenge was far more substantial: how to make Youth and Vocation Ministry a “priority” in the Congregation, above all in those Units where the signs of giving up, if not death itself, are more evident?
As the work of the Secretariat progressed during this initial meeting, other, more specific problems emerged, for example: the frequent re-assignment of those responsible for Youth and Vocation Ministry a the (Vice-) Provincial level, with the consequent discontinuity in the work; the little communication between local animators and the (Vice-) Provincial, regional or central representatives; the absence of a definite plan in many Units, that too often limit their efforts to promoting events and initiatives; the lack of a vocational dynamic in many plans for Youth Ministry; the lack of familiarity with the guidelines and directives for Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry emanating from the preceding Secretariat.
Obviously these problems do not make us forget the good and great work done in many Units of the various regions, whether at the level of ordinary ministry, or at the level of extraordinary or special events (it is enough to remember the periodic meetings of our youth and the leaders).
Rather than throwing itself into new projects, the Secretariat has preferred to dedicate the next months to becoming more familiar with the principal guidelines of Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry, first by means of personal study on the part of each member of the Secretariat, and then by verifying to what extent these guidelines are known and used at the regional level. Another high priority task is to update the “database” of the animators, which will hopefully be completed within the next year, once it is clear who the (vice-) provincial superiors will be for the next triennium; connected to this is also the task of making contact with the animators and looking at their formational needs. In any case, the President of the Secretariat will send a letter to the (Vice-) Provincial Superiors, informing them about the meeting of the Secretariat.
We also want to cultivate a good relationship with the other General Secretariats, and most especially with the Secretariats for Formation and Collaboration with the Laity; and also to facilitate communication with the whole Congregation, maintaining a page on the CSSR web site. Other projects are considered to be middle to long-range and should, by all means, arise from previous work done at the regional level, as for example: an international Symposium on Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry or the publishing of a “youth” version of the Guidelines.
Naturally, behind the reflection and the commitments assumed by the Secretariat, was the theme of restructuring, in which the Congregation is especially occupied in this sexennium. There are two questions, above all, that seem in need of an urgent response: what feature will the mission of the Congregation assume in the next years? What does “redemption” mean to men and women today? These are two questions to which this Secretariat would like to give a response, approaching them, obviously, from the point of view of youth and vocations.
The climate of fraternity and of work lived during this encounter was very good. We hope it will help us face the challenges and problems outlined above.
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