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A Holiness for Everyone


How to be a good Christian? St. Alphonsus offers ways and means to enable even the most “distant” to realize the baptismal vocation. As long as they take Jesus’ words seriously and live them, with fidelity and creativity, in the name of a true and profound love towards Him.        


In the recent apostolic exhortation “Gaudete et Exultate”, Pope Francis speaks about holiness as a possible path for all. It is his popular vision of holiness that is reflected in the answer to the question “How do you become a good Christian?”.

Well, the path that Pope Francis indicates is that of the “saint next door” who is, in hiding and in anonymity, realizes his baptismal vocation in “living with love and giving witness to Jesus in the works of every day. Are you a consecrated woman or a consecrated man? Be a saint by living your gift with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and taking care of your husband or wife, as Christ did with the Church. Are you a worker? Be holy, fulfilling your work in the service of your brothers with honesty and competence. Are you a parent or grandmother or grandfather? Be a saint by patiently teaching children to follow Jesus. Do you have authority? Be a saint fighting for the common good and renouncing your personal interests.”

Therefore, the saint is not a superhero, but a man who takes seriously the words of Jesus and lives them with fidelity and creativity, even in its limits: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you dressed me, sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to see me.”

Therefore, there is a sanctity that is possible for everyone. St. Alphonsus was convinced of it in an era in which certain approaches to holiness were not considered for everyone. On the contrary, he turned to the distant ones, announcing a possibility for everyone to be saints and offering means and ways to get there. In the practice of loving Jesus Christ, he thus synthesizes the path to perfection: “He who loves Jesus Christ flees the tepidity and loves perfection. There are five means to get out of the tepidity and move towards perfection: 1. Desire. 2. The resolution. 3. Mental prayer. 4. Communion and 5. Prayer “.

Regarding the first of these “means”, St. Alphonsus explains “it is a great mistake, then as some say: God does not want all to be saints. No … God wants all to be saints, and everyone in his state from where he is called; the religious, the secular, the priest, the married, merchants, the soldier etc.” And, citing St. Therese of Lisieux, his great advocate, Alphonsus continues: “Our thoughts are great, that our good will come from here… God does not let us pay any good desire in this life, while he is a friend of generous souls.” Therefore, on this journey, everyone is welcomed, and everyone has the same chance to become saints! This theme was also espoused by the Second Vatican Council which, in the Constitution Lumen Gentium, was expressed as follows: “It is clear that all Christians, in any state or life commitment, are called to the holiness of the Christian life and to the perfection of love”.

Some might think that a sanctity can or should be verified by particular signs. Nothing could be more wrong: “Holiness,” says St. Alphonsus in Two Unpublished writings on quietism, “consists of three things: Faith without signs, Hope without pawns, Charity without prizes. Enlightenment lights, miracles for faith; the gifts and promises for hope; caresses and unions for charity. But such things should not be demanded of them but founded on the veracity and goodness of God.”

Even other forms, which for many are revealing of sanctity, are questioned by Alphonsus, in his work “Practice of the love of Jesus Christ” who warns, “Oh how much is deceived” says St. Francis de Sales, “who puts the sanctity in other than in loving God! The saint writes “others put perfection in austerity, others in wealth, others in prayer, others in the frequency of sacraments. For me I know no perfection other than to love God with all my heart; for all the other virtues without love are just a pile of stones. And if we do not fully enjoy this holy love, the defect comes from us, because we do not end up giving ourselves all to God.”

Let’s now take a step forward. Alphonsus introduces us to love for Jesus and always in the “Practice of the love of Jesus Christ” states that whoever loves Jesus Christ wants nothing but what Jesus Christ wants. Thus, we enter a theme very dear to the spirituality of Alphonsus: conforming to the Will of God. In his works, there are many references to this indispensable attitude. In the “Practice of the love of Jesus Christ”, Alphonsus writes: “… all the holiness and perfection of a soul consists in denying oneself and following the will of God … because the substance of all the divine precepts and counsels is reduced to making one suffer for what God wants and how God wants it … Here is therefore what should be the sole purpose of all our thoughts, actions, desires and our prayers, the taste of God… “.

And at this point, how can we forget the figure of Saint Gerard Majella, a worthy son of Alphonsus? Often in his letters, he speaks of the “beautiful Will of God” and just as often affirms: “I want, I want, I want, not what I want but what God wants.”

St. Alphonsus always warns those who live the Will of God: “Many say: Lord, I give you all my will, I want nothing but what you want; but when the contrary things happen to us, we do not know how to quiet ourselves with the divine will. And here arises that lamenting to have bad luck in this world, and l say that all misfortunes are ours, and to make a life unhappy “.

Now, perhaps, we can better grasp the meaning of the phrase that St. Gerard, certainly recalling the experience of Jesus at Gethsemane, wanted on the door of the room where he lived during the painful illness that led him to death at a young age: ” He is doing the Will of God, as it pleases God and as long as He wants God. “


(The article is from the magazine “In Cammino San Gerardo, September 2018”)



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Meeting of Inter Provincial Formation Secretariat in Bangalore


(Bangalore, India) For the first time ever, a Joint meeting of members of the Formation Teams from the 3 Units in India (Bangalore, Liguori, and Majella) met at Mt St. Alphonsus in Bangalore on the 17th September 2018. The meeting was called for by Fr General at the Joint EVPC meeting of the 3 units with Fr. General, Fr Sebastian and Fr. Jovencio Ma, the Coordinator of Asia Oceania held in the month of May this year.

The meeting chaired by Fr. Ivel Mendanha, the Vice Provincial of Majella was to look into a possibility of Joint formation for the stages of Novitiate and Philosophy that will involve all 3 units in India. At present, there is a Joint Novitiate and Joint Philosophy for Bangalore and Majella only. The members present were (Fr. Sahaya and Fr. Christopher Louis from Bangalore; Fr. Baby Cherian and Fr. Tony K. from Liguori; and Fr. Theodore D’Souza and Fr. Shane Varghese from Majella). The Meeting concluded with a resolution to present a proposal to the forthcoming chapters of the 3 units to have a Common Novitiate and Common Philosophy for the 3 Units in India. There already exists a Common Theologate for the 3 units in Bangalore. This would be a concrete means of restructuring in India for the mission.


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Solemnity of St. Alphonsus: Message from the Superior General



Superior Generalis

August 1, 2018

Solemnity of St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Prot. No 0000 115/2018


In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”

(Matthew 9:36)

Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Missionaries and Associates,

Once again, we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, C.Ss.R. in a spirit of joy and gratitude for the great gift of our Missionary Charism which we received through his faithful following of Jesus the Redeemer.

One year ago on this feast, I wrote you to announce the Extraordinary Visit of the General Government to the whole Congregation. In the spirit of the 25th General Chapter (Decision 44), this Extraordinary Visit has gathered Confreres, Sisters, and lay Redemptorist Associates from different (V) Provinces, Regions, and Missions for Assemblies in every Conference and on every Continent. As we celebrate the feast of St. Alphonsus this year, I would like to share with you some reflections on this extraordinary event in the life of our Congregation.

As I write to you, the General Government with the Conference Coordinators has already conducted over 80% of the Assemblies of this Extraordinary Visit. The Assemblies of the Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean and of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar have been completed. The remaining Assemblies will be completed before November this year. It is already clear that the large majority of confreres, of all ages, have participated in these Assemblies, along with many Sisters from affiliated Congregations and lay Redemptorist Associates. In addition to the Assemblies, we have also met with most of the Major Superiors and Councils in the Congregation. As well, the Conference Commissions for the Apostolic and Restructuring Plan have been meeting regularly and carefully considering the reflections, recommendations and suggestions which you have contributed at each Assembly.

Once the whole Extraordinary Visit has been completed, the General Government will evaluate the experience, taking into account the evaluations we have received from you during each Assembly. At this time, I would like to offer you some reflections on the experience so far as we begin the Conference Assemblies at which the first draft of the Conference Apostolic and Restructuring Plan will be presented.

First of all, the General Government would like to express our gratitude to all of you who have participated in this Visit. Confreres of all ages, from novices to seniors, engaged fully in the Assemblies. Others who were unable to attend an Assembly sent their contributions through the community preparation. Many who could not attend supported the Visit in their prayer, especially our infirm confreres, as well as many Sisters and lay associates. Thank you for your generous and enthusiastic response to the invitation contained in my letter of August 1, 2017!

Every Assembly affirmed the value and importance of this Visit. Many confreres and lay associates thanked the Consultors and Coordinators for their closeness and availability, and they also expressed the conviction that they went home from the Assemblies with a much better understanding of the process of restructuring. More importantly, the majority of participants made concrete personal commitments to continue to engage fully in this process of renewal and revitalization of our Congregation.

The Assemblies strongly affirmed the importance of the day of retreat on the Theme of the Sexennium. I urge you to continue your reflection on this theme in each local community, and in your personal prayer. As we move forward with the work of the Commissions and the Conference Assemblies, we recognize that we are in a process of discernment, attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit and the call of the ‘signs of the times’. May St. Alphonsus, an expert in discernment, continue to accompany and guide us in this process!

Recognizing the reality of the Congregation at this time, many Confreres expressed a greater openness to the reconfiguration of their (V) Provinces and Regions in order to create stronger Provinces more capable of carrying out the mission to which we are called. At the same time, you expressed your concerns and fears, as well as criteria and concrete proposals for this reconfiguration. Each Conference Commission has found this information very helpful, and these Commissions will continue to pay close attention to your reflections and further contributions after you have received the first Draft of the Plan for your Conference. This Draft will be sent to each Unit once it has been approved as a working document by your Conference Assembly. This should be received in time for consideration in local communities, as well as in Assemblies and Chapters as we prepare for the next quadriennium.

As we continue this process of preparing the Plan in each Conference, we are also beginning the discernment of the kind of leadership we need for the next quadriennium. As you know, this discernment relates not only to the choice of Superiors, but also their Councils. This leadership will be very important as we continue the process of restructuring and renewal of the Congregation. We need leaders with the courage to face the risks involved, and to animate the (V) Provinces and Regions for the sake of our mission.

The ongoing participation of every confrere will continue to shape this process. As we celebrate the feast of St. Alphonsus this year, it is our hope and our prayer that we remain faithful to his vision and attentive to the ‘signs of the times’ today, so that we will continue our mission to “follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the word of God to the poor…” (Const. 1).

We are living in an extraordinary era, a time of great challenges and great opportunities. In communion with the whole Church, guided by the leadership of Pope Francis, we commit ourselves once again to the theme of this sexennium: WITNESSES OF THE REDEEMER: In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World.

As genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus may God bless us with the grace to follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy. Denying ourselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, may we share fully in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that we may bring to people the gift of plentiful redemption (cf. Cons. 20)

May our Mother of Perpetual Help accompany us always.

Your brother in our Redeemer,



Michael Brehl CSsR

Superior General

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Meeting of the General Commission for Partnership in Mission


(Rome, Italy) – The newly-constituted General Commission for Partnership in Mission met at the offices of the General Curia from July 2-5, 2018. Working closely with Fr. Pedro Lopez, CSsR, Chair of the General Secretariat for Evangelization, and General Consultors Fr. Sebastian Ani Dato, CSsR and Fr. Nicolai Ayouba, CSsR, the members of the commission are: Anne Walsh (Edmonton-Toronto), Chair, Sinay Tovar (Venezuela), Rafael Junquera (Madrid), Fr. Rui Santiago, CSsR (Lisbon), Roksan Latorre (Manila) and Victor Zabre (Burkina-Niger). These members represent the five Conference of the Congregation, and all are members of the Working Group or Commission established in their Conference to advance the fundamental priority of Partnership in and for Mission.

The task set before the commission is two-fold:
* to create a Directory to guide and support Partnership in Mission across the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and
* to develop a Ratio Formationis for Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer and Lay Redemptorists (Redemptorist Associates)

After personal introductions and initial explorations of the forms of Partnership in Mission in each Conference, the Commission members then discussed the structures in place in each Conference to support it and move it forward. The next task was to begin the process of outlining a Directory and a Ratio Formationis. For the next three days, working in plenary and in small groups, they began the process of drafting three chapters of a Directory that will eventually serve the entire Redemptorist Family as a resource and guide for Partnership in Mission. Members were offered a tour of the library and archives by Frs Beco and Lage. Side trips to the sites of Rome were also taken.
The work accomplished was monumental. From the laughter heard in the meeting rooms, in the hallways and at the table, a great sense of camaraderie and joy permeated the process.

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28 June: Feast day of the Ukrainian Martyrs


On June 27, 2001, Pope John Paul II beatified a group of modern martyrs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Among them were four Redemptorists: Bishop Mykolay (Nicholas) Charnetsky (1884-1959), Bishop Vasyl (Basil) Vsevolod Velychkovsky (1903-1973), Father Ivan Ziatyk (1899-1952), and Father Zynoviy (Zenon) Kovalyk (1903-1941).

All of these men endured sufferings and torture inflicted either during World War II or after it, during the era of Soviet control prior to the independence of Ukraine in 1991. Bishop Nicholas Charnetsky and his twenty-four companions represent a glorious era of martyrdom for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and their stories give great witness to the strength of their Catholic faith.

read more: http://www.cssr.news/oldnews-en/?p=1341


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Meeting of the Commission for preparing a strategic plan for Communications and Media


The meeting of the Commission for preparing a strategic plan for Communications and Media for the Congregation was held in Rome from 28 to 30 May, 2018.

The meeting started with a talk given by Fr Michael Brehl, Superior General, to the 13 participants: 4 out of 5 Commission members nominated by the General Government from the conferences, 3 General Consultors, the Secretary General, the secretary for the evangelization of the Redemptorists, the secretary for the formation secretariat and the 3 members of the  office of communications of the General Curia of Rome.

The conference of Mons. Paul Tighe Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture on the theme “The Church in Digital Culture: Challenges and Opportunities” opened an interesting dialogue and was attended by other Redemptorist confreres and even students of the Alphonsian Academy, where the meeting took place.

The group worked under the guidance of Fr Brendan and Fr Biju, who presented a manual and a kit for Communications and Media so that the participants use them as a tool in the discussions in small groups. The manual stated the importance and necessity of a strategic plan for the Congregation and gives the guidelines in preparing a strategic plan that engages the Congregation in three levels: central, conferences and units.
The three days of meeting was almost like a workshop that helped the participants to understand different phases of Strategic Planning, giving light to the reality of the existing digital culture the challenges and opportunities that offer as. After three days of intense work, the group agreed upon the main guidelines of the Manual.


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Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy


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