It is a pleasure to be back at Holy Redemer, and with my Redemptorist community again, after my 12-day break in Simon’s Town. It was very relaxing to spend my days just reading, and walking, and of course I did not forget to eat either! So, now it is good to be back among you all, feeling refreshed and ready to serve the needs of the parish in every way I can. I want to thank Fr Sean Wales and Fr Scott, in particular, for all they did to help the parish function smoothly in my absence.
We are now into the month of June, and I would like to see this month as an opportunity for all of us to experience the grace of God as a parish through two special events. As we are all aware, throughout this year the whole Church has been asked to have a special focus on the Year of Mercy. Indeed, during Lent we preached the Novena services as a Novena of Mercy. At the same time, in all our Redemptorist parishes and Churches throughout the world, the 150th anniversary of our being given the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, with the call of the Pope at that time to make this Holy Icon known throughout the world.
One of the practical ways in which the Redemptorists in South Africa have tried to combine the Year of Mercy with our special services in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, is by conducting, all over the country, special Mission weeks of prayer and services. By all accounts, these Mercy Missions have been most successful, and bringing down countless blessings on families and on parishes.
I am delighted to announce that we will be holding Our Year of Mercy Mission here at Holy Redeemer from Monday 20th June until Thursday 23rd June. Each evening there will be a Mission Service at 7.30.p.m. It is of course our hope that all of our parishioners will take this opportunity of grace and to commit themselves to attending the Mission Service each night. On the last night of the Mission we will hold a solemn Mass to celebrate the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. I am also asking that all of the normal evening meetings in our parish be cancelled for the Week of Mission. Each day too, there will be Mass at our usual times of 6.15.a.m, and 8.30.a.m. These Masses will also focus on themes of Mercy and Reconciliation.
The mission will be led and preached by Fr. Larry Kaufmann, who is presently the Mission Director of the Redemptorists in South Africa. I am sure already that he will be made most welcome amongst us, and that we can look forward to a very large attendance throughout the Mission week.
There are times in our personal lives and in our family lives too, as well as in our life as a parish community when we need to focus in a spiritual way on the meaning of our faith, and on our call to bear witness to the Mercy of God to one another, and to the whole world. The Mission of Mercy will offer each of us a chance not simply to become more aware of the fact that we live each day in the merciful love of God, but that we also need to become disciples of mercy in a world that is troubled by so much hatred, violence and indifference to the needs of those around us.
As we prepare for this Mission of Mercy and Grace, let each of us already begin to pray that our forthcoming Mission will bring forth a great outpouring of love and mercy and joy in the hearts of each of us.
Fr Gerard, CSsR