Today marks a special feast for the Redemptorists and all our parishes throughout the world, as we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Redemer. For those of you who may be unaware, the formal name of the Redemptorists is the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. As this is also the name of our parish here at Bergvliet, today marks the patronal feast of the parish, and therefore a day of great spiritual significance. It is my prayer that each and every one of us is given the grace to experience the deep love of Our Most Holy Redeemer on this special day of grace.
Today is also a special one in our parish community because this afternoon we will experience the great joy of celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation for 20 of our young people. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been involved in their spiritual journey, especially to the leaders of our Life Teen group. Let it be our prayer that those being confirmed today will experience the real joy of their faith, and continue to grow more deeply into the love of God, and in a commitment to bear witness to their living faith through their service to the parish community. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not meant to be an ending, but rather a beginning of faith and love and service to others. We pray today for those to be confirmed, and ask God’s blessing on their families and loved ones.
Talking about young people, there are other significant things happening which will bestow graces on all of us. On the 19th July, three of our young people will leave to attend the World Youth Day, in Poland. There they will join hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world, in the presence of Pope Francis. Those who will be attending are Leo da Silva and Monica Goemans, who are both leaders of our Life Teen group. It was also intended that Joseph Goemans, a member of our Young Adult group, would also participate in the pilgrimage. Unfortunately, Joseph was recently and suddenly diagnosed with leukaemia and is presently undergoing treatment at Constantiaberg Clinic. His place will be taken by his younger brother, Thomas. Let us all pray for our three pilgrims that they will have a wonderful experience of the universality of the Church at World Youth Day, and come back to us with an even deeper commitment to serving the young people of our community.
I would also urge each of us to add Joseph, and the whole Goemans family to our prayers of petition, that they may be given the strength to cope through this very difficult period, and that Joseph will make a full recovery and be restored to good health.
I would like to add a final word on the topic of the many young adults who faithfully attend our parish each week. Very soon after my arrival here as parish priest I began a Young Adult Group. My reason for doing this was because I passionately believe that our young adults are an important part of our parish community. They are being called to deepen their understanding of their faith, and also to find ways of serving the community in a variety of ways. Many of those who attend our Young Adult Group meetings are teachers and students. Because of this the number attending our meetings tend to fluctuate, dependent on times of exams and other commitments. Our group will start to meet again on Tuesday, 2nd August at 7.15.p.m. I would like to offer a heartfelt invitation for more of our young people to join the Young Adult Group, so that we may all benefit from their faith and commitment to God, and to a real call to serve the parish community in their lives.
Fr Gerard, CSsR