Redemptorists have a long history of inviting the co-operation of lay people in carrying out the mission to follow Jesus by preaching the gospel to the most abandoned.” (Called into Communion for Mission, p.4) In the Redemptorist Family, as in the wider ecclesial communion of the Church, Partnership in Mission must always be partnership for mission. All of the baptized are called into communion for mission.

Together, all members of the wider Redemptorist Family, professed and lay, as one missionary body, devote ourselves to proclaiming the Good News by word and witness. Following the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer by preaching the word of God to the poor, we respond with missionary dynamism to the pressing pastoral needs of the most abandoned, especially the poor (Cf. Cons 2).

All over the world, we witness a growth of evangelical, mission-oriented relationships between the laity and professed religious of countless institutes. This is a sign of the times, and a clear manifestation of the action of the Spirit in the Church and in the world. Through new apostolic relationships and endeavours shared between lay people and religious, we are discovering that the charism of an Institute does not belong to the institute exclusively. (Cf. Vita Consecrata, #54). Charisms are gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church and the world, gifts to be poured out for mission.

Thus, it is not the Institute that opens the doors to the laity to participate in the same missionary charism, but rather it is the Spirit who opens the door, granting to certain laity the same gift. The charism of proclaiming plentiful redemption, exercised in a particular way by Redemptorists, is a gift given by the Holy Spirit to the Church, and therefore to certain members of the lay faithful. With a new understanding of the ecclesiology of communion and of the mission of the Congregation, we can say that some lay people share in the Redemptorist charism, living it in a variety of ways and in manifold places, according to their lay state. By the very diversity of our Redemptorist Family, we proclaim God’s bounteous love and Christ’s plentiful redemption.

Professed Redemptorists share with lay people the gift of the source of the charism with its radical strength and equally radical orientation toward the most abandoned and poor. Lay partners in mission offer religious the gift of daily immersion in the joys, hopes and challenges of the world, which flows from their baptismal commitment, and they promote the Redemptorist mission primarily in the secular web of the world. In fact, it is often true that lay partners in mission help the professed Redemptorists dis-cover new facets of their Alphonsian charism.

The Congregation, even in the past, has sometimes been informally called the “Redemptorist Family” or the “Alphonsian Family”, in much the same way as other institutes have been. But, in more recent times, the term “Redemptorist Family” has come into use in the context of collaboration between the Congregation and laity, or groups of laity and religious, who share in different ways in the mission and charism of the Congregation.

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