As a newly professed member of the congregation, you will begin or further your studies in preparation for the Redemptorist mission. Those preparing for priesthood and those who are brothers study together with lay people and with seminarians from other congregations. Most of these studies will be at the Yarra Theological Union (YTU) in Melbourne.
Disciplines covered include philosophy, theology, scripture, church law, and missiology. And there are opportunities for specialising in sociology, psychology and other disciplines either at YTU or at other institutes. Some men who join us have already done studies that can be credited to their preparation. Others have done studies worth pursuing further in their preparation for mission.
It is a complex and changing world and academic preparation for mission is essential. St Alphonsus said of the Redemptorists: “they shall spend their lives among books”. He knew full well how a thorough grasp of issues and events played out in effective mission.
The studies enable us to focus our mission on key areas for justice and reconciliation. At the same time, Redemptorists have traditionally worn their learning lightly. We love to translate our deepest understandings into simple, popular language that is available to all kinds of people anywhere at any time. The joy is not just in the learning, but in sharing the God it reveals. So the years of study, which can be up to six, are usually a labour of love. They are also years of joy as the import of learning opens up a vision for the Gospel in our age.
Within the time of studies, one year is usually given to full-time ministry. During this time, you will continue to be accompanied by Redemptorists skilled in helping you face and negotiate life and the challenges which arise.
Sometime after three to five years in temporary vows, you will know if the Redemptorists are for you. In conjunction with those responsible for your care, you ask to become a fully committed member and to be admitted to Final Vows. This is a life defining moment; the fruit of a long process of prayer, reflection, study and experience. It is a high point in your life which takes time and preparation. It’s the time when you will say, “By God’s grace, the Redemptorists and their mission are for me”.
After final vows, those choosing life as a Redemptorist brother enter into their full-time mission from within the community in consultation with the Redemptorist Family.
After final vows, those choosing life as a Redemptorist priest will prepare for ordination, first as a deacon, then as a priest. After ordination, it is time to enter into your full-time mission from within the community in consultation with the Redemptorist Family.
While the initial stages of the Redemptorist journey may now have finished, the next stage begins. It is important that once you embark on a life of mission, you find the support and encouragement you need from among the community. Each new brother and priest is given a mentor with whom he can share his triumphs and struggles in being a minister of the Gospel.
Throughout your life as a Redemptorist you will have the opportunity to continue developing your skills and updating your knowledge. This may be in areas such as pastoral care, scripture, counselling and theology. The Redemptorist journey is a life-long process. Along the way it is important to find the peace that energises you, and the learning that empowers you. With them, your life and gifts are underpinned in the service of people and the Gospel.
In the end remember, it is all God’s work. And that is the joy of it!