Principles of restructuring

Principle 1: Restructuring is for Mission.

The starting point of our Redemptorist life is always Christ’s mission of plentiful redemption. Following the example of the Redeemer, our Redemptorist mission is to preach the Gospel to the most abandoned, especially the poor (Const. 1).

Fidelity to our mission is the reason for and the goal of authentic restructuring. Fidelity to that mission demands that we establish and implement apostolic priorities. Not every apostolic endeavor, no matter how praiseworthy in itself, can be identified as an expression of our missionary priorities (cf. Consts. 13‐17). To draw our apostolic endeavors closer to our priorities will involve ongoing discernment, decision and evaluation.

Principle 2: Restructuring for Mission should stimulate a re‐awakening of our Vita apostolica. It should prompt a new availability for mission.

“The Redemptorist Congregation truly follows the example of Christ in the apostolic life, which comprises at one and the same time a life specially dedicated to God and a life of missionary work” (Const. 1). Vita apostolica in the Constitutions refers to ‘The Missionary Work of the Congregation’, ‘The Apostolic Community’ and ‘The Apostolic Community Dedicated to Christ the Redeemer,’ as well as to ‘Formation’ and ‘Government’. Restructuring for mission is a call to conversion and to a profound renewal of our Vita apostolica in all its dimensions.

This conversion and renewal will invite us to deepen our reflection on culture. We are missionaries who come together from various cultures to form communities based on faith in Jesus Christ. This faith calls today’s Redemptorist to esteem and embrace the cultures of others while at the same time recognizing cultural limitations and giving countercultural witness, where appropriate. Restructuring for mission fosters a greater freedom to face the challenges of evangelization in a prophetic way.

Missionary conversion is a challenge to all Redemptorists, irrespective of age. This challenge should be explicit in the directories and in the practice of initial and continuing formation.

Principle 3: Restructuring for mission should seek out and accompany the most abandoned, especially the poor. To this end it should be a restructuring within Units and Conferences, and also across the boundaries of Units and Conferences.

“Preference for situations where there is pastoral need, that is, for evangelization in the strict sense together with the choice in favor of the poor, is the very reason why the congregation exists in the Church” (Const. 5). Our ministry to “the most abandoned, especially the poor” (Const. 1) cannot be so broad as to include every possible form of pastoral work. However, it will always include pastoral concern for those who suffer because of the mass movement of peoples and human trafficking.

Historically, many of our houses were established among the poor. However, social changes and pressures often provoked the departure of the poor from these places, but not the departure of the Redemptorists. Sometimes, we have kept these houses which no longer serve the poor and have justified our presence by doing ordinary ministry. Valuable as this is, it often does not reflect our option for the most abandoned, especially the poor.

Principle 4: Solidarity in mission includes an ability to optimize resources, both human (professed members and lay associates) and financial.

Our resources are first of all human resources: Redemptorist confreres, members of our affiliate religious congregations and lay associates, called by the Holy Spirit to work together in the mission of the Redeemer.

Solidarity in mission will include a special care for Units experiencing fragility with respect to human resources.

Such solidarity will also demand that we seriously examine the present economic system in our congregation and re‐form it as necessary.

Principle 5: Restructuring for mission requires association among Units, always searching for a common way forward.

Each Unit should carry out its missionary mandate in co‐operation with the whole Congregation (Const. 141). Such cooperation is to be conducted in a spirit of mutual harmony (Const. 142).

To restructure resources for mission today means that no Unit should act in isolation. It also means establishing new associations among Units, always for better service to the mission, overcoming unacceptable rivalries or divisions which can be a source of scandal, and enabling a more fruitful understanding of Redemptorist identity.

Principle 6: A vital part of our mission, both historically and in our time, is theological reflection rooted in spiritual and pastoral experience. New deployment of our theological resources is essential to the challenge of restructuring for mission today.

To fulfill the mission of the Congregation in our time we need to stimulate the continuing formation of all confreres and to encourage specialization (particularly in moral

and pastoral theology). We also need a formation for, and a network of, collaboration in other specific areas of pastoral expertise consistent with our charism.

Principle 7: Participation and Co‐Responsibility: the restructuring process will involve all Redemptorist confreres and lay associates and in some way all those people in the midst of whom we exercise our mission. For this, a process of conscientization will accompany the Process of Restructuring.

Redemptorists will promote a process of conscientization with regard to restructuring in all Units of the Congregation. This process will involve all confreres, students in formation, lay associates and, in some way, all those people in the midst of whom we work.