Home' Aurora : Aurora November 2013 Contents The story of the Redemptorist order
of priests and brothers can be traced
back to the poorer communities in
Naples, Italy, in 1732 and its founder, St
Alphonsus Liguori. The order first came
to Australia in 1882 and to New Zealand
in 1898. Its long history and worldwide
reach is due to a universal message and
the important work of Redemptorists.
The website for the Australian and New
Zealand order of Redemptorists, www.
cssr.org.au, is a wonderful place to seek
information about the lives and works of
these very community-based individuals.
One meaning of 'redeem' is to carry out
a pledge or promise. The Redemptorist
vocation to live and work in community
with the poor and marginalised of society
certainly makes visible the promise to
better the lives of others and spread the
message of Jesus. There is such a need
for redemption throughout our world and
in all societies.
The motto is from Psalm 129:7, "With
God there is plentiful redemption."
Redemptorists are living this trust each
day and bringing it to the people with
whom they work. Lay people can also
work with those in the order to further the
message of Jesus. The majority of those
in the order work in overseas missions,
mostly within Indigenous communities.
They also work in parishes, with
Australian Indigenous communities and
in academia, chaplaincy, adult education
and publishing. Other points of interest
from the website include current news and
articles, movie musings and the calming
and thought-provoking daily prayer and
meditation opportunities. Why not spend
some quiet time on the prayer verandah?
There is a free app 'Bread4Today' to give
you these daily prayers -- a very modern
way to ponder the age-old message of the
According to the website, the
Redemptorists are "called to where the
Church is not and where the Church is
least". It is quite a remarkable mission.
"How gross!" was one reaction to the relic
of St Francis Xavier, his 500 year-old right
arm; the arm which in one month baptised
ten thousand in South East Asia.
It was not a common reaction, however.
Not by a long shot.
It was the exclamation of a security
person inspecting the arm of the saint
in its reliquary for the flight from Perth to
Broome in November 2012.
Overwhelmingly, the relic was received
with reverence and awe, with curiosity and
This was the case especially when those
in the presence of the relic were treated
to Fr Richard Shortall SJ's recounting of
the saint's life and exploits. The words of
the saint's travelling companion put flesh
on the bones and spirit into the hearts of
those drawn to Francis.
Fr Richard states that having the relic as
travelling companion around Australia
was for him "a privileged moment of
grace" in which he experienced feelings of
deep affection for his brother Jesuit. On
their flights together, where the reliquary
was strapped into the adjacent seat,
Richard found "occasions of rich prayer
and intimate conversations with Francis
himself". If only we could access the riches
of these exchanges.
What we can access in this colourful
76 page book is Richard's lively
"Introduction to the Relic and Reliquary"
(the introduction at Sacred Heart
Cathedral, Hamilton); a typical homily
Richard delivered at Pilgrimage Masses;
a "Prayerful Encounter with the Person of
Francis Xavier" which Richard narrated as
if he were Francis; three moving prayers
and a diary of the 15,000 kilometre
pilgrimage by hearse and plane, especially
the personal, human elements.
Locals will find special interest in the
pilgrimage's Maitland-Newcastle stopover.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral and the
churches of St Francis Xavier at Abermain
and Belmont have their colour and flavour
It's an engaging read. I know Francis
Xavier better for Richard's lively
introduction of his brother. I am edified by
the examples of reverence and genuine
interest of 'religious' and 'non-religious'
Australians alike. I am heartened by the
'incarnational' -- the earthiness of our
religion. And I am thankful for the relic's
reminder that we are a 'communion of
saints', a community of those in this life
and the next who are sisters and brothers
as we journey to where one of us, Francis,
is now at home.
BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
BY MARGARET WALKER
Aurora on tour
If you have a photograph
that you would like to be
considered for Aurora,
please ensure it is high
Aurora visited Stratford-upon-
Avon, the home of William
Shakespeare and so many
CONTRIBUTED BY SR LOUISE GANNON RSJ
I must keep alive in myself the desire
for my true country, which I shall not
find till after death; I must never let it
get snowed under or turned aside;
I must make it the main object of
life to press on to that other country
and to help others to do the same.
C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity 1952.
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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