While a significant proportion of Redemptorists have been engaged on overseas missions and in the world of academia, the Australian and New Zealand Redemptorists are best known among the people as ‘parish missioners’.
Almost from the day the Redemptorists stepped off the ship in Australia they have been preaching parish missions throughout the nation and across the Tasman in New Zealand. Each foundation the Redemptorists made became a centre for reaching out to the surrounding areas for the sake of preaching parish missions.
Speaking of those first missions in 1882, Redemptorist historian, Fr Samuel Boland, recalls:
One meets over and over in the reports of those first missions unmistakable evidence of how much the Fathers preferred these lonely bush centres to the excitement of working in the cities with their larger crowds and their more flattering figures in the record books.Samuel Boland, C.Ss.R.
Faith of Our Fathers – The Redemptorists in Australia, 1882-1982
The style of parish missions has changed over the years but not their character or purpose. The parish mission is a chance for a more specific evangelisation. The peoples’ faith is renewed, their hearts opened to God and to one another, their minds fed with understanding for the Christ-life, and their resolve deepened for the journey of justice and charity.