Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer
Today we wish to share with you a special Redemptorist feast that will be celebrated on Sunday, July 18: the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer. This feast day is an expression of the joy and gratitude we feel for the great gift of the Redemption. It is celebrated in Venice as the Festa del Redentore. It is also celebrated by the Redemptorists in Rome and throughout the world.
The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, better known as the Redemptorists, solemnizes this feast as a double of the first class with an octave on the third Sunday of July. The congregation also keeps the feast as a greater double on 23 October and 25 February, and has, besides, the privilege of reciting once a month the votive office of the Most Holy Redeemer.
In Rome Pope Pius VIII also introduced the feast and by a Decree on May 8, 1830, the Sacred Congregation of Rites assigned it to 23 October. The characteristics of the Mass and Office are joy and gratitude for the ineffable graces and benefits of the Redemption.
As a young priest the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, gathered a group of companions around him in November of 1732. He was passionate about reaching out to people who were abandoned, socially and religiously, in the countryside all around the city of Naples, in Italy. They were, he said, ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. He eventually gathered a group of like-minded men around him, who had the same passion, to go out to people, to share the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth with them, to show them the divine dignity that was in each human being and to share with them, the wonder of being redeemed, being set free, by the blood that Jesus shed for all people, everywhere. This continues to be the mission of Redemptorists all over the world. ‘Caritas Christi urget nos’ –Christ’s love drives us.
Please join me now in a prayer by our founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori:
“Yes, my gentle Redeemer, let me say it,
You are crazy with love!
Is it not foolish for you
to have wanted to die for me?
But if You, my God,
have become crazy with love for me,
how can I not become crazy with love for You?”
— St. Alphonsus Liguori from “The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ”
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