This section profiles parish missions led by Redemptorists in Africa and Madagascar. Our parish mission story for February 2012 comes from South Africa,
A Parish Mission with a Difference
Fr. Larry Kaufmann is the current Provincial for the Redemptorist Province of South Africa as well as being a noted moral theologian and the author of a number of books. However, as a Redemptorist, Fr. Larry is also active in the preaching of parish missions throughout South Africa.
Holy Trinity Parish in Braamfontein marked the beginning of Lent with a parish mission preached by Fr. Larry and Fr. Cyril Axelrod CSsR, who is both deaf and blind. Fr. Larry began the mission with a powerful homily on the First Sunday of Lent in which he urged parishioners to go into their own deserts and face the temptations of their lives, thereby seeking to overcome them, as did Jesus.
In what was a very powerful ceremony Fr. Cyril preached, through Fr. Larry’s interpretation, on his conversion from Judaism to Christianity. He led a service on healing and after preaching he laid hands on the congregation. In another powerful moment Fr. Cyril returned to his own Jewish roots to conduct a Passover meal for the parish explaining the symbols and significance of the Passover. Fr. Larry developed these roots in the sermon on the Eucharist which followed.
On the final night of the mission the missioners focused on the Passion of Christ. They presented a moving reflection on the stripping of Jesus and Fr. Cyril shared a painful personal incident when he, as a disabled person, was stripped of his dignity by the Church. At a Chrism mass on Holy Thursday he was refused entry onto the sanctuary because he was accompanied by a lay person who was his guide and translator. He was removed from the procession with all the priests and told to sit in the congregation because they did not want his lay guide, who happened to be a woman, on the altar.
It was agreed that this was indeed a parish mission with a difference. One parishioner who attended the mission said afterwards “We have been in a privileged position the last ten days because we have been in the presence of a very holy man. One could not but be moved by these missioners’.
Interviewed by a journalist after the parish mission Fr. Larry Kaufmann said:
“For me, fidelity to the Redemptorist charism implies direct movement toward people who in each period of history find themselves abandoned or alienated by or within the Church.”
To enquire further or to book a Redemptorist parish mission in Africa and Madagascar please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org