ROME, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Redemptorists are holding their 23rd general chapter, and for the first time members of the laity are participating in the event, which is focused on the mission and moral formation.
The general chapter opened on Sept. 15 with the motto “To Give One’s Life for Abundant Redemption.” Father Pedro López, provincial vicar in Spain, told ZENIT that the mission continues to be a priority for the Redemptorists.
“The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1732 to proclaim the Gospel to the most abandoned of the kingdom of Naples,” he said. “And the founder was very clear from the beginning that the best means to reach them was the popular missions.”
Father López is aware that “new methods and new movements have arisen, but the Redemptorists continue to be known for the popular missions renewed both in Europe as well as in the other continents.”
“Men and women of today have a need to feel loved for what they are and not for what they have; a need to experience quality relations with other persons; to find answers to the fundamental questions that are in their minds and hearts, such as the meaning of life,” he added.
This need for salvation is not obvious, the priest said. “What happens is that the society in which we live does not allow these questions to surface because it drives us at a mad pace and offers us substitutes which seem to answer, in a superficial but immediate way what we most long for.”
“What can we do then?” Father López asked. “I think our first mission, as Christians, consists in being close to the men and women of our time, because it is these men and women whom God loves today.”
“From such friendship, we can try to offer, with out testimony, a style of life that challenges those around us because it humanizes us and helps us to humanize others, because it helps us to transform the surroundings, because it transmits happiness,” he said. “And when questions arise in others, then we must be prepared to give an account of ourselves and of our way of life: Jesus Christ. And all as an offer, not as an imposition.”
The Redemptorists number 5,701 religious and novices, including 4,185 priests.