Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another "Little Christmas" Celebrating the Incarnation

Celebration of On-Going and Newly Created Ministry

A special element was added to our monthly A A A special element was added to the feast of "Little Christmas", the Redemptoristine tradition of honoring and remembering the great gift and mystery of the Incarnation on the 25th of each month. We honored Fr. Eugene Grohe on the occasion of his 85th birthday. We saluted his 70 years of Redemptorist life and his service, first as missionary in Brazil, later in parish work stateside and, for the last forty-one years, as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Esopus, NY. We also wanted to offer our thanks and blessing in sending off to new mission Fr. Ronald Bonneau, gifted Redemptorist missionary in Paraguay, pastor stateside, now heading for work among the Hispanic population in the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ. It is also our custom to renew our vows each 25th of the month and have the Prioress, Sr. Paula Schmidt, offer a little "ferverino" for encouragement for the journey. The following are her remarks on this occasion.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.

And that is what we celebrate today: the variety of the gifts of the Spirit, the different forms of service of the same Lord, the different workings of God in each one of us. Different as we may be from one another, both as individuals and as communities, we in fact form one Body, in Christ.

Our Eucharist, our thanksgiving feast was offered precisely to celebrate that oneness, and that uniqueness.

Today we want to single out for special blessing and thanksgiving Fr. Gene on his 85th birthday and Fr. Ron, as he leaves to take up his Spanish ministry in Metuchen . Fr. Ron follows the directive of the Lord Jesus who appointed disciples to go ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.

Surely that sums up the Redemptorist vocation which all Redemptorists share, which Fr. Gene has lived for 70 of his 85 years, and which they continue to fulfill daily. We wish you God’s special blessing, and many a year more!

And you, Fr. Ron, who embark on your new work tomorrow with Fr. Jim (James Gilmore), we know that Jesus missions you—and we do too.

The Gospel story I spoke of also speaks to us, your Sisters: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” We do ask, and will continue to ask that you may always have the helpers you need to do God’s work, to reap that harvest for God.

Another occasion we want to mark is the arrival of the Missionary Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to form part of the community here at Mount St. Alphonsus. The spread of the Gospel is their work and their joy too. I know the Redemptorists feel very blessed by their presence.

Today being the 25th of the month, in our Alphonsian-Celestian tradition, we gratefully celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation. It is our custom to renew our vows as a community on this day each month, renewing the gift of our lives in gratitude to the God who has given Himself so totally to us. Today we will use a very simple formula for this renewal, hoping that we can say it together thus cementing our relationship with God and our unity with one another in the ongoing work of Redemption.

We also had the great joy to share a festive meal all together. In short, a day of great blessing to us all.

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