General Superior of the Congregation speaks about devotion and work developed in Trindade.
19/09/2014 • 12:23 • Atualizado em 16/01/2015
The General Superior of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Father Michael Brehl, is responsible, since November 4th, 2009, when he was elected for a term of six years, to brighten and coordinate the work of the Redemptorist missionaries worldwide. Since then he has followed the Redemptorist evangelization works present in Goiás for 120 years and in Trindade (GO) for 119 years. In July he came from Rome (Italy) especially to attend the Pilgrimage in 2014. In an interview, he explained how he felt in the Capital of the Faith of Goiás and was delighted with the devotion, the tradition and the faith of the pilgrims. During the chat, the Superior General also emphasized the relevance of the social work developed by the Redemptorists of Goiás and also of evangelization through the media.
You have been in Goiás in 2010, but this time you came to the Pilgrimage of Divine Eternal Father, as a pilgrim of the Eternal Father. Why have you decided to do this tour this way?
Father Michael Brehl: Well, I really came because the Benedict Father Fábio Costa invited me. When I was here four years ago, it was not during the days of the festival. I celebrated at the Basilica Sanctuary, but it was a normal Sunday and Father Fabio said: You really have to know the faith of the people of Goiás at the time of the Feast. Then, almost a year ago he asked me if I could schedule to come this year and it happened that I had no other commitment. I could come. Tastefully I accepted the invitation to come as a pilgrim rather than an official visit.
You came and participated in a very traditional time, which is the parade of oxcarts. You already knew this tradition? How do you see this so different demonstration of faith?
Father Michael Brehl: For me this was a good time to start, because it was the first thing I really saw in the morning I arrived, this procession with all those oxcarts. This really points to the beginning of this devotion, which began with ordinary people from the field. It was not invented by the Church, by people and authorities. It came from the devotion and from the hearts of the ordinary people.
Was there anything in particular, any detail that caught your attention in the Pilgrimage?
Father Michael Brehl:. What really caught my attention about the pilgrimage, especially, was looking at the faces of the people who are here. There are people of all age groups, from very young to elderly. It really touched me to see the faith of the common people as they were placed before the Lord. That was very special. Another very special moment for me was to go to Vila Cottolengo. Many things touched me, but the first that struck me was the love, attention and care of the sisters and the people who work there with the people who live there. They really form a community, is not only an institution, there is really a sense of care for every person as a human being. They know they are valuable, welcome and part of the Divine Eternal Father family. Don Antonio, Archbishop Emeritus, said about the Shrine of the Divine Eternal Father, the Basilica and Sanctuary of Brother and Sister, Cottolengo, “we cannot honor the Divine Eternal Father if we do not recognize our brothers and sisters as true brothers and sisters”. As this connection between the Basilica and the social work, Cottolengo. I think this makes the devotion real here. That’s what makes it so special. And one more thing, I’m impressed with the work of the Redemptorists and volunteers here. See some of our men, already elderly, hearing confessions for three, four, five, six hours and speak out to the wonderful experience of just listening to people, to be there for the people. And see all the volunteers always with a smile, always welcoming. If a person seems lost, there is always someone asking: “Can I help you?”. This provides a real sense of welcome in this place, which is the welcoming, I think, that we receive when we go to the eternal banquet. We want the Divine Eternal Father to welcomes us this way and this is another very important aspect of the celebration here.
What do you think of all this work that the Redemptorists have developed in Goiás?
Father Michael Brehl:. The work of the redemptorists here in Goiás is greater than Trindade for sure. We can not imagine the work of the Redemptorists in Goiás, without thinking of men like Father Pelagius, who came and gave their lives to make sure they could preach the Gospel, the work of evangelization. In order to be closer to the people, connecting the faith with the service, devotion to the true love and care towards each other. So I would like to reaffirm that there is a real sense of our vocation as Redemptorists, being around those in need and bring the Good News.
We do a work of evangelization through the media. What do you think of this specific work in communication, developed by the Redemptorists?
Father Michael Brehl:. People do not come to church as they came years ago. The Church, in a certain way, is no longer the center of their social life in the community. There are many distractions and other commitments. With these media, through radio, TV and internet, the message can reach into people’s homes. But the way we communicate it, has to change. We need to use music, art, all these ways to get the message, which is so attractive for us, is attractive to them.
What did you think of what you saw there in the construction works of the New Sanctuary, which is being built with the help of the devotees of the Eternal Father?
Father Michael Brehl:. It was an unbelievable experience, because it is hard to imagine that work without previewing something at all. Only to see the signs of this work, preparation and is a huge commitment on the part of the workers, by the Redemptorists, by the devotees of the Divine Eternal Father. I admire the commitment and dedication of so many people who make it happen, because it is full of challenges. So yes, it’s an unbelievable job.
Finally, when will you come back to the Pilgrimage of Divine Eternal Father? And there in Italy, which will talk about devotion to the Eternal Father in the heart of Brazil?
Father Michael Brehl:. The Bishop Washington invited me to come back at the inauguration of the New Sanctuary, but once it will take more than seven years, I hope to go back before, but there is no definite date I can say that I will return. Now, what I will say about devotion when I arrive in Rome? I will say that the devotion here is the heart of the Divine Mystery. God is a Father. Talk about this Mystery and see how it touched the hearts of ordinary people will make it much easier to talk about what it means to come to the Divine Eternal Father. I hope this devotion can grow, and it has crossed the limits of Goiás, since she was born here and is currently in Brazil. But that will be a devotion to make us, as a fundamental part of our spirituality, understand that God is Father, what does Jesus be our brother and teaches us that we are brothers and sisters to each other, and that in thes Mystery we can become a family. As says the theme of this year, the family of the Divine Eternal Father. Thank you, Douglas, and the entire crew of TV and radio for their dedication. See men and women who are not priests or sisters Redemptorists and are taking this mission forward is very important. Thank you! And keep the faith and perseverance, because you all have a very important part to act in the future of evangelization here in Brazil and other parts of the world, but especially here. Thank you very much!