1 - The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded by Saint Alphonsus, is a clerical missionary religious Institute of pontifical right, enjoying the privilege of exemption, and having members belonging to various rites. Its purpose is to "follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the word of God to the poor, as he declared of himself: 'He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor'."
In this way the Congregation shares the mandate given to the Church, which, since it is the universal sacrament of salvation, is missionary of its very nature.
It does so by responding with missionary thrust to the pressing pastoral needs of the most abandoned, especially the poor, and by devoting itself entirely to evangelization.
The Redemptorist Congregation truly follows the example of Christ in the apostolic life, which comprises at one and the same time a life specially dedicated to God and a life of missionary work.
77 - The apostolic purpose of the Congregation must inspire and penetrate the whole formation process of its members. This process includes the selection of vocations, the different periods of training and the formation which must last throughout the whole of life.
78 - The aim of formation for both candidates and members is to lead them to such a degree of human and Christian maturity that, with the help of God's grace, they will be able to dedicate themselves intelligently, willingly and wholeheartedly to the service of the missionary Church in Redemptorist community life, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor.
They should learn progressively what the following of Christ demands of them, required as it is by baptismal consecration and confirmed by religious profession, and thus become true missionaries.
Directors of Formation
Purpose of temporal Goods
A Community of Work
037 - In each community the superior must be the one who gives impetus to continual adaptation. Consequently, at times laid down by (vice)provincial statutes, he will arrange to have meetings of the members for the discussion and review of those theological, pastoral and similar branches of knowledge which bear more directly on their activity. These meetings should result in the members being strengthened in the hope of their calling, and in acquiring a fresh approach to their ministry (cf. CC 38, 73, 90, 103, 136, 139; St. 048).
In such study sessions they should always give consideration to the needs of the local church and keep its pastoral programme always before their minds (cf. CC. 18, 135; St. 04).
When some apostolic work has been completed, or when they come to the end of a period of community living, the members will make a review of it in a suitable way to try to discover the designs of God, and look to the interests of the Church more effectively.
Training of Candidates
The Seal of the Redemptorist Congregation.
Saint Clement Hofbauer, Missionary and Propagator of the Congregation
They proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language.
That they may bring to people plentiful redemption.
Belongs above all to the groups among whom they work.
They really share with all the joy the Gospel.
2 - In carrying out its mission in the Church the Congregation unites members who live together and form one missionary body. These dedicate themselves to God by profession, and so devote themselves to their mission as a living unit, each contributing through the ministry that belongs to him.
THE REDEMPTORIST MISSIONARY
A Community of Persons
34 - Christian community truly exists in every personal relationship which is formed between the members: "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). This gathering together in the name of Christ brings into being that Gospel friendship which gives life to the apostolic community even in its juridic and administrative dimension; it is this Gospel friendship which also maintains and gives growth to the community life of the members.
35 - Therefore, in community all the members are of themselves equal. Through the exercise of co-responsibility each in his own way plays his part in living the life and carrying out the mission to which they have dedicated themselves.
36 - The community must further the personal growth of its members, develop interpersonal relations and build up genuine brotherhood. This will demand that persons, with their values and qualities, be highly esteemed. Moreover, opportunities must be given the members to make their own personal decisions, in order to promote real development of maturity and responsibility.
37 - In this way the life and vigour of the community is maintained and strengthened, whether it be its internal life as a community or the work of evangelization entrusted to its members. There is, moreover, continual and fruitful interaction between the community and its individual members, by which the community supports and enriches each one's vocation.
38 - Gathered in unity of purpose in Christ and in a spirit of mutual respect, they will readily reach a decision on what the common good of the entire group requires, both in regard to the practice of brotherly charity and the exercise of their missionary work. In their efforts to reach the common goal the individual members will then contribute all that is in them to the actual carrying out of whatever has been decided in the community in a spirit of complete self-sacrifice and moved by their love for each other.
In community all the members are of themselves equal.
This gathering together in the name of Christ brings into being that Gospel friendship.
43 - For the members, the religious community is their first and basic community. Nevertheless, it must be open to the world in such a way that, through contact with people, it may learn to understand the signs of the times and of places, and adapt itself more fittingly to the demands of evangelization (cf. C. 19). For, in a certain sense, the members belong to other communities also, above all to the groups among whom they work.
This does not mean that they withdraw from their own religious community, but that they really share with all the joy the Gospel has brought into their lives. Thus they become like a leaven in the world and are a living witness of hope.
An Open Community
An Organized Community
The Mission of Christ the Redeemer, the Reason for their Dedication
46 – The members of the Congregation confirm their personal and community life by religious profession, so as to bind themselves totally to the work of the Gospel and to the perfect practice of apostolic charity, for this is the very purpose of the Congregation.
49 – The members, set apart for the work to which they are called (Acts 13:2), are prepared to remain steadfast for life in their vocation. They renounce themselves with all they possess to become followers of Christ, and to be all things to all (cf. 1 Cor. 9:22).
52 - Apostolic charity, through which the members share in the mission of Christ the Redeemer, is the principle that unifies their entire life. For it identifies them in a certain sense with Christ, who continues to fulfil the will of his Father by carrying on the redemption through them.
53 - Since the glory of God and the salvation of the world are one, and since love for God and love for people are the same, the members live their union with God in the form of apostolic charity and, through missionary charity, seek his glory.
54 - In this way pastoral charity gives soul and unity to the life of the members. Community life is really at the service of the apostolate. Continual conversion, the result of their total surrender to God, increases their availability for the service of others. Indeed the very religious bonds, by which the members dedicate themselves to God, necessarily involve commitment to the apostolate and strengthen that commitment.
Religious profession, therefore, becomes the definitive act of the whole missionary life of Redemptorists.
The Scope of Formation
79 - The vitality with which the Congregation pursues its apostolic mission depends on the number and quality of the candidates who seek admission to the Redemptorist community.
For that reason, all the confreres, out of love and appreciation for their own vocation, should zealously engage in the apostolate of fostering vocations to the Congregation.
80 - It is the Spirit of Christ himself who raises up missionaries in the Church. But ordinarily he makes use of human contacts and relationships to make Christ's invitation known to his apostles. Therefore every member, through his contact with people in the course of his apostolic ministry, must be ever alert to discover and evaluate the gifts which the Spirit imparts to so many young people. In addition, let each one remember that the best and most successful ways of promoting vocations are his own apostolic zeal, the example of his life and constant prayer (cf. Matt. 9:38, Luke 10:2).
The Fostering of Vocations
82 - All the members share responsibility in the work of formation. They share it not only for those who are beginning life in the Congregation, but for all the confreres. For the whole Congregation is continually in process of formation and development, to be ready to meet the needs of the people to whom its members preach the Gospel.
But the chief responsibility in this matter rests on major superiors whose duty it is to provide for formation, particularly by appointing a team of qualified personnel. For those in charge of formation must be prepared by special training, and have adequate missionary experience in the Congregation.
83 - Those directing formation, in mutual harmony of mind and purpose, will follow a well thought-out programme which is of genuine service to those who look to them for assistance.
With the help of experts let them try to exercise discernment regarding vocations. They should so arrange conditions for the young men, that the choice they make will be free and deliberate. Let them look upon themselves, not so much as teachers imparting knowledge, but as servants of the truth, searching for it with patience and humility together with those committed to their care.
Let the candidates co-operate humbly and generously with those directing them. In the light of faith nourished by meditation on the word of God, let them learn from them how to seek God at all times, interpret the signs of the times, see Christ in all people and have a proper appreciation of human values. They will so saturate their lives with the wisdom of the Gospel, that they become faithful witnesses and heralds of the Good News.
II. Spiritual Formation
056 - The candidates are to be thoroughly trained in how to seek Christ the Redeemer through constant meditation on the word of God, especially the Gospels, through prayer and the celebration of the sacred liturgy. Imbibing the spirit of the evangelical counsels and the beatitudes and drawn to their practice, they will follow Christ with an ardent love. They must be penetrated with a sense of the mystery of the Church and learn to share its total life. Let them love and venerate with great trust the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles, Saint Alphonsus and the other saints of the Congregation.
III. Formation for Community Life
20- 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; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share
All Redemptorists, urged on by the apostolic spirit, and imbued with the zeal of their founder, continue the tradition developed by their confreres in the past, and are ever attentive to the signs of the times. "Sent as helpers, companions and ministers of Jesus Christ in the great work of redemption:
to preach the word of salvation to the poor (Chapter 1)
they build up an apostolic community (Chapter 11)
specially dedicated to the Lord (Chapter 111)
sustained by adequate formation (Chapter IV)
and by suitable forms of government (Chapter V).
44 - Each community needs suitable organization and a way of life in common determined by certain norms, if it is to manifest and further the development of persons who have committed themselves as a body to pastoral charity.
The members will lay down for themselves opportune rules of life, to be decided according to the norm of the general statutes, which are in keeping with the human conditions of the community. These they will select from Christian and Redemptorist tradition, from social life, and in accordance with the rights which are inseparable from the human person.
45 - 1° Every member should accept these norms as binding on him. They must of their nature be adaptable to the requirements of the missionary work. They should be capable of being modified, too, according to what the Church, circumstances of time and place, and the particular culture and character of a nation require.
2° Through common dialogue let all collaborate in creating a climate which is favourable to prayer and work, to solitude and review of life, to rest and relaxation.
144 - a - The members of the Congregation must use temporal goods for the purposes to which it is allowed to direct them, namely, to support themselves in a becoming way, to carry out works of the sacred apostolate or of charity, especially in favour of the poor, and to meet the expenses connected with divine worship.
b - Let them procure what is necessary for their sustenance and work, but without worrying too much about it, entrusting themselves to the providence of their Father in heaven.
c - The right to dispose of temporal goods belongs to superiors, councils and chapters according to the norm of the constitutions and statutes, always saving the common law.
054 - The candidates should be given an integral training throughout the whole course of formation. It should be one that takes in every aspect of human and Christian life.
If, however, there are some who are not suitable, they should be told in good time, so that they can withdraw from our life, and with full awareness of their Christian vocation, be helped to enter readily on the apostolate of the laity.
I. Attaining Maturity
055 - The psychological maturity which the candidates must achieve consists in that stability of mind which is required for the dedication of oneself to God through celibacy as a charism, and for the living of the other evangelical counsels. It is also required that they be able to make balanced judgments concerning people and events, and be capable of coming to well-considered decisions, so that they can live the life of the apostolic community.
Each community needs suitable organization and a way of life in common determined by certain norms.
50 – The members walk the same way as Christ himself, the way of virginity, poverty and obedience, the way of service and sacrifice of self unto death from which he ascended victorious through his resurrection. They do this within the Church which continues and unfolds the mission of salvation.
Thus, they participate in a special way in the mystery of the Church, and are drawn to share more intimately in the paschal mystery.
They renounce themselves with all they possess to become followers of Christ, and to be all things to all.
Apostolic charity is the principle that unifies their entire life.
The formation must last throughout the whole of life.
The best and most successful ways of promoting vocations are his own apostolic zeal, the example of his life and constant prayer.
Those in charge of formation must be prepared by special training, and have adequate missionary experience.
Let the candidates co-operate humbly and generously with those directing them.
Our Congregation promotes higher studies of the sacred sciences, in order to attain its missionary purpose more successfully.
Entrusting themselves to the providence of their Father in heaven.
They should always give consideration to the needs of the local church and keep its pastoral programme always before their minds.
Should result in the members being strengthened in the hope of their calling, and in acquiring a fresh approach to their ministry.
The candidates should be given an integral training throughout the whole course of formation.
057 - They shall be trained also in the practice of the virtues necessary for the apostolic community life. These are: brotherly love, self-denial, availability to all, especially the lowly and the poor, the ability to work in close co-operation with others in the labours of the apostolate, daring and firm confidence, simplicity and sincerity of heart, tolerance and kindness, the ability to suffer cheerfully in want, in labours, in trials and affliction and in persecutions for the sake of Christ (cf. C. 20; 2 Cor. 3-7; 10-12).
IV. Pastoral Formation
058 - The pastoral orientation of the whole course of training is a distinctive feature of missionary formation, and this must be clearly in evidence. Everything relating to formation - both studies and spiritual life - must be combined with practical apostolic exercises and experience, in order that the candidates may be able to renew and increase their own faith in the mystery of salvation and so be prepared to preach the Gospel with confidence to others.
059 - Lest they prove unequal to their task, as members of a religious institute dedicated to the apostolate, they should be properly instructed, according to the intellectual gifts and personal talents of each, in the prevailing behaviour patterns of contemporary social life and in its characteristic ways of feeling and thinking.
The pastoral orientation of the whole course must be clearly in evidence.
THE MISSION OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE
MOST HOLY REDEEMER IN THE CHURCH
in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption.
90 - Redemptorists will become more efficient as missionaries the more they are able to constantly adapt their skills in a suitable way in the work of the apostolate. With this adaptation they will unite continual self-renewal in spiritual, scientific and pastoral matters.
Therefore every member should eagerly try to give new life to his ministry. He should endeavour to make it more fruitful by constant study of the sacred and human sciences, and by fraternal sharing with his confreres.
The (vice)provincial superior, moreover, must make provision for the continual and progressive formation of all the members. This should be done by means of theological and pastoral courses or institutes, by availing of courses in colleges and universities, or by attending regional or national conferences.
In addition, following in the steps of our holy founder, our Congregation promotes higher studies of the sacred sciences, in order to attain its missionary purpose more successfully.