PARAÑAQUE City, August 3, 2014—Priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R.), together with affiliated communities sharing their spirituality, renewed their vows Friday, August 1, at Baclaran’s National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help with hundreds of devotees as witnesses.
The event coincided with the feast day of their founding father, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, in whose memory a special mass was concelebrated.
Humbly kneeling before the miraculous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Marian picture entrusted to their care and whose propagation made them famous worldwide, Baclaran Shrine rector Rev. Fr. Victorino Cueto, C.Ss.R. led his fellow Redemptorists in the solemn recitation of the formula for the renewal of vows.
Serving the poor
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Dave Clancy invited his confreres and the faithful to draw inspiration from St. Alphonsus, his life and virtues, particularly his love for the underprivileged, and to follow his example of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Reiterating the Redemptorist motto, he exclaimed, “With Him is Plentiful Redemption.”
Founded in 1732 by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787), a star lawyer from Naples, Italy, who had given up his lucrative practice to dedicate himself wholly to Christ—“The Most Holy Redeemer”—the Redemptorists, then as now, have been known for their ministry to the poor, especially in the rural areas.
In his letter asking Pope Benedict IV’s permission to form what became C.Ss.R, St. Alphonsus expressed his desire to serve, “… the most in need of spiritual help, as frequently they have no one to administer to them the Holy Sacrament or the Word of God; their plight is such that many, for lack of (apostolic) laborers, reach death’s door without knowing anything at all of the necessary truths of the faith. This is because the number of priests…is few.”
The first of their Congregation to come to the Philippines were from Ireland, setting up missions in Compostela, San Francisco and on the Camotes Islands in Cebu in 1906.
Their shrine in Baclaran, Parañaque City, dedicated to their patroness, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, has become a center of pilgrimage since it opened in December 5, 1958, attracting hundreds of thousands of devotees during her Wednesday novena. (Raymond A. Sebastián)