ROME, NOV. 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Canadian Father Michael Brehl was chosen to lead the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the Redemptorists, accepting the position as the 16th successor to St. Alphonsus Ligouri.
Father Brehl, 54, who has been serving as the provincial superior of the Edmonton-Toronto Province of Canada, was chosen as superior general by the group of 107 Redemptorists currently meeting in Rome.
A communiqué from the congregation noted that he will lead some 5,300 Redemptorists working in 78 countries worldwide.
The priest succeeds Father Joseph Tobin, who has served as superior general for the past 12 years but was ineligible for re-election as stipulated in the order’s statutes.
Father Brehl was born in Toronto in 1955. He professed his first vows as a Redemptorist in 1976, and was ordained a priest in 1980.
He has served on the congregation’s General Secretariat of Formation, and has traveled around the world giving retreats to other Redemptorists on themes of their spirituality.
The priest has also been a novice master, a prefect of studies, a member of the extraordinary provincial council, and the vicar provincial.
He has served on the Theological Commission of the Canadian Religious Conference and on the Board of Directors of the Joint Apostolic Ministry of Ontario, Canada.
The priest noted that he was drawn to the order by “their warm hospitality and commitment to preaching the Gospel,” an article on the congregation’s Web site reported.
He continued, “I was also impressed by their dedication to issues of justice and peace, and their involvement with the poor.”
In the positions he has held over the past years, Father Brehl mentioned that a highlight has been “getting to know Redemptorists all over the world.”
He affirmed, “It’s been an exciting life.”