Widening the Circle with Redemptorist Associates
Redemptorists are aware that their mission for the church cannot be realized without the laity who support them. They are our Partners In Mission.”
By Fr. Greg May, C.Ss.R.
Redemptorists since their founding have embraced the spirituality of Jesus the Redeemer. We see the importance of restoring people to a good relationship to God and others. This is modeled after the example of Jesus and His desire to bring people back to God especially sinners, those abandoned, and the poor.
Redemptorists are aware that their mission for the church cannot be realized without the laity who support them. They are our Partners In Mission (PIM). A wonderful example of this is now underway at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tucson, Arizona where a group of people have opened themselves to the spirituality of the Redeemer.
Lee Morrison, a member of this community, attended a retreat in October 2017 for PIM conducted by the conference at Crooked Lake in Wisconsin. She learned about Redemptorist Spirituality and Charism and the possibility of becoming a Redemptorist Associate. When she returned to Our Lady of the Desert Community, she received support from Fr. Paul Coury, C.Ss.R., in starting a Redemptorist Circle.
It began with a retreat in the winter of 2018 for those interested in knowing more about the Redemptorist. Throughout the year, the group gathered several times a month to explore in greater depth who the Redemptorists are. Many also realized a desire to work on individual and group activities that were an expression of the Redeemer’s Love. When they were given an opportunity on January 20, 2019 to enroll as Redemptorist Associates, 30 men and women made a commitment to be a part of the Circle for the next four years. They also committed to a personal ministry of their own choosing for the upcoming year. There was also five people who received certificates for participating in the program.
Jesus brought hope to all people. Redemptorists from their beginning have strived to pay attention to those most in need of hearing the Good News of Jesus. St. Alphonsus and his companions in 1732 saw this need in the people of Scala, Italy who were spiritually abandoned in an impoverished rural area. Later Redemptorists have continued this practice of proclaiming the Good News of Redemption throughout the world. They attempt to see those that society or the church have forgotten. The good works of Jesus continue through their dedication to His Mission in a wounded world.
Partners in Mission is the umbrella term that Redemptorists use to describe the many ways lay people can collaborate in the Redemptorist’s mission. It includes:
- Redemptorist Associations: those that are oblates; Co-Redemptorists who financially support our vocations work and the men in formation; those who are a part of confraternities; those that have a devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help; those that participate in the St. Joseph Mass League; and, among other programs, those that participate in The League of St. Gerard.
Redemptorist Associates, like our new Tucson Circle, are also men and women who have studied the Redemptorist Charism and spirituality. They have chosen to make a temporary commitment to live this spirituality of the Redemptorist, to participate in C.Ss.R. Circles for ongoing support and formation; and have chosen a personal ministry as a manifestation of God’s Redeeming Love.
- Lay Collaborators: those that pray for the success of the mission; those who volunteer their time and talents including in Redemptorist parishes; those that financially support the ministry, and those that work with Redemptorists in a multitude of ways.
- Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer: men and women who have participated as a Redemptorist Associate, but seek to be active in the Ministry of the Redemptorists. While continuing with his or her participation in a C.Ss.R. Circle, this person will begin a two-year program of formation which focuses on a deeper understanding of Redemptorist Spirituality and formation in preparation for an active ministry in the Denver Province. A commitment to the Redemptorists can be accepted after the completion of the program.
Redemptorists are not alone in this task; truly, many men and women have been moved by the example of Jesus the Redeemer. The desire to imitate the compassion Jesus showed to others especially the least in society is the inspiration of such people’s spirituality. Even though they might not be aware of their connection to the Redemptorist Family, they share with us this fundamental desire to make Jesus the Redeemer felt today by words and deeds.
Those who have made this their baptismal calling can benefit by having contact with the Redemptorist Family. We share the same charism and spirituality that speaks to their hearts and ours. The professed Redemptorists are called by the Catholic Church to proclaim this message in the church and to the world. This is the mission that the church has bestowed on the congregation. Being a Redemptorist Associate is now an opportunity for those who want to be supported in their personal calling by Jesus the Redeemer and our congregation. The laity who become Redemptorist Associates will embrace this calling by participating in a C.Ss.R. Circle in order to grow with us as we strive to mature in this charism. The Redemptorists see the participation of the laity as a blessing since more people are involved in this particular mission based on the Gospel message of Jesus.
The opportunity to be a Redemptorist Associate in the Denver Province is still being developed by the working group for PIM. This group recently presented guidelines for the process to the Provincial Government of the Denver Province. These guidelines have been approved and are being sent out to Redemptorists for implementation in local communities. There are virtual circles also being developed which can bring people together who have been a part of a circle or those who do not live near a Redemptorist Community. The opportunity to become a Redemptorist Associate did not exist until this year. There is excitement as the Denver Province moves forward with the creation of new circles and invites the laity into our spirituality and mission.
If you would like more information on Partners in Mission, please contact Fr. Greg May, C.Ss.R., at PIM@redemptorists-denver.org.