In a speech to the participants of the Redemptorist General Chapter, Pope Francis called on the members of the religious community to break new ground. Vatican Radio also spoke to a participant about the issues currently affecting the Order.
Hannah Krewer – Vatican City
The General Chapter of the Redemptorists has been meeting near Rome since early September and has already elected a new Superior General, Father Rogério Gomes from Brazil. On Saturday, the participants had an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Don’t hold on to old certainties
“Don’t be afraid to explore new ways of dialogue with the world in the light of your rich moral theological tradition. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in the service of those who are most in need and those who don’t count,” encouraged Pope Francis de assembled members of the Order in a speech he delivered to them.
One should not hold on to old certainties, Francis continued, because that hinders the Spirit’s work in the human heart: “Instead, we must not put any obstacles in the way of the Spirit’s renewing work, especially not in our own. hearts and lifestyles. Only in this way can we become missionaries of hope!” It is about rethinking the community’s charisma in light of the signs of the times.
Redemptorist Europe Coordinator: “What does faith mean in practice?”
Also present at the General Chapter is the coordinator of the Redemptorists in Europe, Johannes Römelt. Even before the General Chapter began, he spoke to Vatican Radio about the great questions and challenges that will be discussed in the General Chapter. Working for the vulnerable and being trustworthy in a secular world is also important to him: “What is the relationship between preaching the gospel and social commitment? That is our job as Redemptorists,” said Römelt.
“In a secular world, the question is being asked more and more: what does faith mean in practice? So in what, in what actions, does it have an effect? Not only in explicitly religious acts, but also in what lifestyle? The whole environmental issue comes in there, but also the handling of migration, with minorities or with the disadvantaged. For us as Redemptorists, this is also part of our DNA: We are sent to the disadvantaged.”
the perspective of the universal church
When members from all parts of the world meet, of course very different traditions meet. Nevertheless, similar issues are important to everyone, Römelt says: “At the moment we don’t have the strong ideological battles that were in the 1970s, when very conservative and liberation theological trends worked against each other,” he says. “It’s actually more of a collective effort: How can we speak convincingly and credibly about Jesus Christ, live the gospel, everything that is close to our hearts in a secular world? And this applies worldwide, not only in Western Europe, not only in North America.”
In addition, it is an important task for the general chapter to improve worldwide cooperation: “We are a religious community that is organized in a relatively decentralized way. The provinces are mostly responsible for deciding finances and personnel matters. But we realize that we are just reaching our limits. We need more cooperation, it’s not an easy process for us.”
The General Chapter does not end with the Redemptorist assembly in Ciampino. Next year it will be a matter of concrete implementation at the level of the various continents, says Römelt: “How do we do it now in Europe, in South America or in Asia? Because our situations are really very different. Then we have to leave again with the general chapter’s impulses, so that we can really make a difference locally.”
Pope: Never forget the poor and abandoned
In all processes of reorganization and renewal of the congregation, as Pope Francis pointed out in his written address to the Redemptorists, three pillars should not be forgotten: “The central importance of the mystery of Christ, community life and prayer. Saint Alfonso’s testimony and teachings call you again and again to remain in the Lord’s love. Without him we can do nothing; abiding in him we bear fruit.”
He wished the new general management “humility, unity, wisdom and judgment to lead your institute in this beautiful and challenging time in our history”. “I pray to the Lord that you will be faithful and persevering in your mission and never forget the poorest and most abandoned to whom you serve and to whom you proclaim the good news of salvation,” the Pope concluded his speech.
(vatican news – hk)