Winter 2018 Denver Province Snapshots
Dr. Otto Weiss: Many Redemptorists in the Denver Province and the North American Conference met or knew of Dr. Otto Weiß (Weiss); he passed away on August 3, 2017, at the age of 83. He was a former confrere of the Munich Province, who dedicated himself to the study of our history for more than 30 years in his Province and at the Redemptorist Historical Institute of the General Government in Rome. He published many articles on Redemptorist history in our periodicals and in those of scholarly German journals. He also lectured on Redemptorist history in the context of European history. Dr. Weiß was a well-known and respected scholar of German Catholicism. He was recognized at the University of Freiburg by the presentation of a Festschrift in his honor on his 80th birthday in 2014. He was made a C.Ss.R. Oblate for his work on our history in 2009. He also took over the editorship of The History of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and published the original Italian text of the third book of the series. He had almost completed the fourth and final volume when he was diagnosed with cancer several months ago. The last of his works is being published posthumously in Germany. May Otto rest in the peace of the Redeemer.
Celebration of the Life of Father Pat O’Brien: Br. Daniel Hall and the Oakland Cursillo movement hosted a Celebration of Life for Fr. Patrick O’Brien, who served as director of Holy Redeemer Center from 2005 until shortly before his death on October 19, 2017. Many different groups associated with Holy Redeemer Center shared their memories and reflections. Fr. Pat was well known for his work as a theology teacher, financial administrator and provincial in San Francisco. In over 50 years of priesthood he served as Assistant director of students, Holy Redeemer Seminary, Oakland; Professor of Moral Theology, Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary, Esopus, New York; and Director of Marriage Encounter, Oakland. In addition Fr. Pat served at the Redemptorist Retreat Center, Tucson, Arizona; as Foreign Mission Office, Glenview, Illinois; as Province Treasurer Redemptorists, San Francisco and as Provincial Superior Redemptorists, San Francisco. He is particularly remembered at Holy Redeemer Center for supporting many Cursillos movements and other ministries – both Catholic and ecumenical – which could not have been accommodated in a more expensive setting. A native of Great Falls, MT, Father Pat is remembered for his joyful, upbeat style by the many people he served and by his Redemptorist family and his brother and two sisters.
Bishop George Yod Phimphisan, C.Ss.R.: Redemptorist Bishop George Yod Phimphisan, who led the faithful in the Diocese of Udon Thani, Thailand for 34 years, died on December 18. A naturally gifted communicator, Bishop George served on the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications and in leadership for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. He was president of the Catholic Commission for Health Pastoral Care, Catholic Commission for the Bible, and Episcopal Commission for Social Communications. He served the Diocese of Udon Thani for 34 years before Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation on November 14, 2009. In the 1906s he become actively involved in translating the Bible into Thai. He was asked to form a Catholic Biblical Commission of Thailand and became its General Secretary. He was responsible for laying the foundation for close cooperation between Catholics and the Bible Society of Thailand in the areas of translating, printing and distributing the Bible. After retirement, Bishop George continued to write meditations of the weekly Bible readings. Three volumes of his meditations, The Signs of the Times, were published. He also translated more than 50 books and Vatican documents.
Vocation Prospects Introduced to Redemptorists: The joint vocation teams of the Baltimore and Denver provinces hosted a Come & See Weekend October 26-29 for six young men interested in the Redemptorist way of life. Spending a weekend at the St. Alphonsus Formation Residence in the Bronx was a great opportunity for them to experience community life, pray with the brothers, and share in some service at a local Redemptorist parish. Participants included (left to right, above) Fr. Luong Uong (Denver), Won from Seattle, Huy from San Jose, Fr. Matt Allman (Baltimore), Nam from San Jose, Tai from Sacramento, Fr. Lamar Partin (Denver), Jeffery from Boston, and Duy from San Jose.
Two Brazilian Confreres Ordained: Bishop Zenildo Luis Pereira da Silva, C.Ss.R. of the Prelacy of Borba in Amazonas presided at the recent ordination of two members of the Vice Province of Manaus: Deacon Kennedy Picanço and Deacon Leandro Romaine Simão. Fr. Tom (Miguel) McIntosh, our special correspondent in Brazil, graciously shared highlights of the December 9 ceremony at Our Lady of Nazareth Church in Manacapuru, which is about 90 kilometers from Manaus. Congratulations to our newly ordained Redemptorist priests!
Upcoming Ordination: Redemptorist Deacon John Son Tran will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 6921 Chetwood Dr. in Houston. The newly ordained Fr. John Son Tran will then preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, February 4, at Vietnamese Martyrs Church.
Visiting our Vice Province of Manaus:
Provincial Superior Fr. Stephen Rehrauer undertook a whirlwind three week tour last November of the far-flung communities throughout the vast area of the Vice Province of Manaus, arguably the largest of the entire Congregation. In addition to visiting with children, teachers, seminary students and confreres in the city of Manaus, Fr. Steve also traveled to seven parishes in the city of Coari, as well as some of the more than 100 river communities in the parish. Also on Fr. Steve’s travel itinerary was the State of Acre in the extreme western part of Brazil where he hosted a gathering with the local clergy and the bishop, who would like the Redemptorists to build and staff a shrine there.
Ground Breaking: Vietnamese Martyrs Church broke ground for a new church and center at 14603 Santa Gertrudis Road in San Antonio on June 25. Fr. Francis Hau Pham offered the opening remarks and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS of San Antonio blessed the land.
Fr. Aaron’s Brew: With a little help from a parishioner, Fr. Aaron Meszaros contributed two baskets featuring “St. Ale” by St. Al’s Brewing Co. to the Fall Fest at St. Alphonsus Parish in Minneapolis. Fr. Aaron said his two beer baskets brought in $250 – not bad! Luckily, the beer turned out pretty well, too.
In the Silence of Our Hearts: Fr. Ronald (Ronnie) McAinsh, Provincial Superior of the Province of Scotland, led the annual retreat of the Redemptoristine community in Liguori last month. Enveloped in an atmosphere of prayer, silence and solitude, Fr. Ronnie defined a contemplative vocation as a special calling to be a vessel of love – an audible silent witness of Jesus with the Blessed Mother as our model. He stressed that Jesus is at the heart of a contemplative vocation, and urged us to engage in a new way of living by rethinking our lives in a truly relational and intentional way.
Mission Evangelization: Fr. Steve Nyl, pastor of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish in Whittier, has formed a parish council–the first since about 1995. Members have drawn up a Mission Statement and Goals & Objectives. They have identified evangelization as a priority, and will lead the initiative to transform St. Mary’s into an evangelizing parish.
Alphonsian Spirituality Series: We are happy to announce the completion of Reflections on Advent: A Child Is Born, the first phase of a three-part series celebrating Redemptorist prayer and spirituality by Fr. Ken Sedlak. He intends to use the 20-page tract in his upcoming RCIA classes this Advent. The project represents an important model for collaboration between the Redemptorists and Mission Advancement. The Redemptorists continue to innovate, both evangelizing and fundraising in the fastevolving world of social media. The tract is a collection of inspirational aphorisms taken from Fr. Ken’s writings and spiritual exercises presented with reproductions of Old Master paintings. Tracts on the Beatitudes and Lenten reflections also are being produced, and the final project is scheduled for release early in 2018. This series will become the cornerstone of a new online fundraising initiative that will highlight the continued relevance of Alphonsian spirituality in the digital age.
Leadership Lauded: Congratulations to our own Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who recently received the St. John Neumann Award! A true son of St. Alphonsus, he follows in the footsteps of St. John Neumann, who worked tirelessly among immigrants to the United States. A fierce advocate for human rights for those most in need—especially immigrants, refugees and the marginalized—he currently serves as Archbishop of Newark and is responsible for shepherding one of the most diverse regions in the country.
Parishioners Receive Faith in the Marketplace Awards: St. Alphonsus / St. Mary Assumption Parish in New Orleans celebrated Faith in the Marketplace Sunday at the 10:30 am Mass on December 10. This award recognizes those people who have embraced the most challenging beliefs of our faith and given expression to them in the circumstances of their lives, where they live and work. Congratulations to the three recipients – Dennis Waldron, Marco Balducci and Peggy Wilson – who were nominated by parishioners. Fr. David Caron, OP, director of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, was the guest speaker.
Choir Debuts at Children’s Mass: St. Alphonsus Parish in Grand Rapids celebrated the debut of the brand new Children’s Choir on December 17, 2017. Children have been volunteering at the Children’s Mass at St. Alphonsus for almost five years. Preschoolers stand alongside older elementary school students as greeters, high schoolers usher with middle schoolers, and the readers may need a stepstool, but their voices are strong and steady at the Children’s Mass on the third Sunday of each month! The parish is blessed to have so many children interested in participating because it highlights the youth and helps introduce them to the various ways they can participate in the Mass as adults.
Fun Fest: St. Alphonsus Community in Minneapolis recently celebrated Fun Fest, a festival of community and culture. This diverse parish serves as a model of inclusion for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Significant Upcoming Dates:
January 24: Our Lady Queen of Peace
February 2: Presentation of the Lord
February 14: Ash Wednesday
March 15 St. Hofbauer Feast Day
March 28: St. Neumann Birthday
March 30: Good Friday
March 31: Holy Saturday
April 1: Easter
April 6: St. Majella Birthday
April 9: Annunciation