The Redemptorist congregation
is made up of priests and brothers. Although the priests are ordained
and the brothers are lay they are all united by a common religious vocation/profession
and they are all equal in dignity.
Since the founding of the Redemptorist
congregation, the brothers have always been an essential part of the congregation.
St. Gerard, the second Redemptorist saint was a brother.
Traditionally, the brothers played a supporting
role to the mission work conducted primarily by the priests. In recent
times their role expanded and they have become more active in mission
work. As a result most people are able to see how the brothers are
able to contribute to the realization of the Redemptorist missionary thrust.
PCP II states "brothers affirm by their
choice of lay religious life that many are the ways other than ordination
or matrimony that the Lord calls mature men to serve the Kingdom of God."
They no longer need to think that only those who are ordained to the priesthood
have a dominant role to play in the work of evangelization.
By their witness the brothers manifest
that it is possible to take religious vows and remain lay persons.
The brothers are then able to convince the laity that they can take on
very important roles in the evangelization work. By such witness, they
are able to encourage the ordinary lay people to take on greater initiative
in doing mission work. This further makes them realize that they need not
rely solely on the clerics for doing all the pastoral work.
As Redemptorist brothers are members of
religious communities who take time out during the day to pray, meditate,
and celebrate the Eucharist as well as spend days for recollection and
retreats, they are able to bring other laypeople to a realization of the
great value of prayer and liturgy. The are encouraged to deepen their being
a worshipping community.
Because they are not burdened with clerical
duties and responsibilities and given range of their academic, professional
and work backgrounds, they are in the position to offer a unique contributing
the needs of the poor.
As part of the mission team at the service
of the Local Church, the brothers can do any of the following pastoral
* teach catechism to adults and children.
*organize bible-sharing groups where faith-life
concerns are discussed and communal actions are decided on
* set up community based health programs
where those interested are taught the use of herbal medicines and
other oriental ways of curing the sick
* help farmers develop organic farming
and other environmnet-friendly farm techonology.
*organize credit, consumer ,marketing and
*set up nurseries of tree seedlings for
*help organize ecological action appropriate
in the areas of work.
*conduct literacy classes
* set up community theater groups -- reaching
out mainly to out of school youth to
improvise plays for conscientization.
* get involved in the production of audio-visual
material that can be used for educational purposes.
*do research, documentation, and publication
on the impact of government development and big business projects on the
lives of the poor and the environment.
*do human rights advocacy work by documenting
violations and working with lawyers to file cases in court.
* Help in looking for safe drinking water
and setting up water projects.
Being able to practice a profession --
such as being a teacher, social worker, argriculturist and the like --
or being able to use skills in the service of the poor have led to a greater
realization that brothers are lay people. This distinguishes them from
clerics who are mainly called to look after the sacramental and liturgical
needs of the people.
Because the brothers do not hae to undergo
the long theological formation that clerics go through, they can pursue
professions or accumulate skills that are useful in the missions.
In this regard, they become more mobile and can offer a variety of services
according to the gifts and skills that they possess.