By Fr. Albert Zindonda, C.Ss.R
The Redemptorists’ famous unique missionary work of preaching and reaching out to the poor; the marginalized and the most abandoned starts from the humble stage of postulancy. Postulancy is the grass roots stage for Redemptorist life. It is the Redemptorists foundation stage. It is the stage where one is initiated into becoming a Redemptorist for a minimum of two years. One learns the history of the congregation and well as the constitution of the Congregation. The candidates also learn the basic rhythm of the Redemptorists prayer life and ministry as they participate in programs designed to help them in their human intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation.
The postulants who are under my stewardship this year are from different backgrounds, languages and culture. Working with them, I realised that in our uniqueness, we are called and loved by God unconditionally.
As I am mourning with the postulants, I have identified some positive things in them. I am learning new things each day. They have taught me to respect and love; to listen very carefully with my ears, eyes, heart and mind; and to observe things done. I have managed to comprehend that this love which God has for us is not abstract but deeply personal. It is not a general principle, but a bold, creative affection for each of us as we are (and not as we feel we should be). The postulants also taught me to believe in them, and this has stretched not only my image of God, but also my sense of self. In these young men, I have seen and learnt faith which is always a special gift of our gracious God.
In conclusion, it takes time to become a Redemptorists priest or brother, it does not happen overnight. There is a testing and nurturing period, a period of discerning what God’s calling is for each one. The Redemptorists training programme is almost like a pilgrimage of discovery. It assists the young men to grow in strong faith and deep human love. One is taught to gain the skills and intelligence necessary to be a Redemptorist Missionary in the contemporary world. We believe we have successfully done this as a formation team.