Most Holy Redeemer
of the Superior General
Josef G. Pfab, C.Ss.R.
To my dear Confreres in Christ
of the Congregation
of the Most Holy Redeemer
Health in the Lord
On the 28th of October, 1965, the Second Vatican
Council issued the Decree on the Adaptation
and Renewal of Religious Life. As part of that
renewal our Constitutions had to be revised
and submitted to the Holy See for approval.
Constitutions so renewed have now obtained approval.
my dear Brothers, is the new edition of the
Constitutions and Statutes, which I promulgate
officially and present to you.
work of renewal to be undertaken by our Congregation,
however, did not consist merely in the making
of laws, but above all in promoting the spiritual
and apostolic vitality of the whole Congregation.
this reason, on the completion of our legislation,
the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular
Institutes to which the task of approving religious
constitutions was confided by the Supreme Pontiff,
Pope John Paul II, "expresses the hope
that the members of the Congregation of the
Most Holy Redeemer, led by the example of their
holy Founder, will be impelled to carry on with
renewed energy the mission entrusted to them
by the Church" with the help of the renewed
for all of us there is a mandate, and a pressing
one, to promote without delay spiritual and
apostolic vitality in each province, viceprovince,
region and community, and in our own selves.
the fundamental norm of the religious life is
the following of Christ as presented in the
Gospel, this must be considered as the supreme
rule in our Congregation" (Const. 74).
Therefore let our renewed Constitutions and
Statutes be the foundation and means in this
following of Christ, and consequently in promoting
new vitality in the Congregation.
yourselves, then, to the spirit which flows
from this updated text.
Saint Alphonsus, by his earnest prayers, obtain
for us all from Christ the Redeemer, this spirit
as a gift for the 250th anniversary of the foundation
of the Congregation. And may the Blessed Virgin
Mary, Patroness of the Congregation, watch over
this gift for us.
at Rome, 25th February, 1982.
Josef G. Pfab, C.Ss.R.
of the Superior General
Juan M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.
Dear Confreres in Christ
XX General Chapter was held in Rome and completed
on the 20th of November, 1985. Among other actions,
it undertook the study and revision of some of
the Constitutions and General Statutes of our
Congregation. Changes were introduced to adapt
our legislation to the new Code of Canon Law.
The General Council had begun this revision in
1984 by means of a decree dated the 26th of February,
1984, using the authority given it by the Congregation
for Religious and Secular Institutes (cf. Gen.
76/84: Communicanda 80). The General
Chapter approved the Council's revision with a
the 23rd of July, 1986, the Congregation for
Religious and Secular Institutes, after making
a few changes, approved and confirmed the proposed
is the origin of the new edition of the Constitutions
and General Statutes. Dear Confreres, the Constitutions
and Statutes give us a way and a rationale by
which we Redemptorists achieve a share in the
mission of the Redeemer, by following Christ
himself and placing ourselves at the service
of the Church and of the people of our day.
They are the foundation, which unifies our lives
of special dedication to God in the missionary
work of the whole Congregation.
new edition of the Constitutions and Statutes
prepared in Latin I now promulgate with the
expectation, grounded in hope, that the apostolic
life of the confreres and of the (vice)provincial
and local communities of the entire Congregation
will progress and increase.
the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother of Perpetual
Help, and Saint Alphonsus unceasingly obtain
this grace for us.
the 15th of August, 1986.
M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.
Sacred Congregation for
Religious and Secular Institutes
of Approval of Constitutions
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded
by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori principally
for the evangelization of the poor, adhering
to the norms of the Second Vatican Council and
other directives given by the Church, has diligently
and with dedicated labour composed a new text
this text had been examined and duly approved
by General Chapters, the Supreme Moderator of
the Congregation presented it to the Holy See,
humbly asking that it get confirmation.
this Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular
Institutes, after submitting if for special
examination by the consultors, and taking into
account the vote of the congress, weighed everything
with due deliberation and deemed it should comply
with this request.
by virtue of this present decree, it approves
and confirms the text presented to it with the
changes specified by the congress, according
to the Latin copy preserved in its archives,
together with the formulae for religious profession
attached to the text, all prescriptions of law
Sacred Congregation expresses the hope that
the members of the Congregation of the Most
Holy Redeemer, led by the example of their holy
founder, will be impelled to carry on with renewed
energy the mission entrusted to them by the
at Rome, on the 2nd of February, the feast of
the Presentation of the Lord, in the year 1982.
Card. Pironio, Pref.
+Augustine Mayer, Secr.
Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes
n. R. 57-1/86
General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most
Holy Redeemer which was held in 1985 completely
and correctly adapted to the new Code of Canon
Law the Constitutions of the Institute which
had been revised according to the directives
of the Second Vatican Council (PC nn. 2, 3,
4) and approved by the Holy See in 1982. On
that occasion, the Chapter examined and modified
the temporary adaptations which the General
Council had made according to a decree from
the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes
dated the 2nd of February, 1984.
Supreme Moderator of the Institute has submitted
these changes to the Holy See for approval.
Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes
after carefully studying the proposed changes,
by means of this decree, and subject to the
few modifications attached, approves and confirms
these changes, all legal requirements being
observed. All to the contrary notwithstanding.
in Rome on the 23rd of July, 1986.
Concerning the English Translations
the (Vice)provincial Superiors and the Confreres
of the English-speaking (Vice)provinces
the revisions of the Constitutions and General
Statutes made by the XX General Chapter of 1985
required a revision of the English translation
originally made by the Province of Dublin in
the following translation into the English language
of our Constitutions and General Statutes has
been carefully examined,
declare and testify that this revised translation
conforms to the original text and may be used
and cited as needed.
all should keep in mind that the revised Latin
text of 1986 is to be considered as the sole
the 10th of January, 1988.
M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.
the (Vice)provincial Superiors and the Confreres
of the English-speaking (Vice)provinces
the following translation into the English language
of our Constitutions and General Statutes has
been carefully examined by various experts,
declare and testify that this revised translation
conforms to the original text and may be used
and cited as needed.
must always be remembered that the Latin text
is the authentic text.
the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, the 21st
of July, 2002.
W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
of the Second Vatican Council
(Decree on the Apostolate
of the Laity)
(Decree on the Missionary
Activity of the Church)
the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church)
on Divine Revelation)
Gaudim et Spes
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)
on Means of Social Communication)
Constitution on the Church)
on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life)
(Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests)
Sacrosanct um Concilium
on the Sacred Liturgy)
(Decree on Ecumenism)
Documents of the Church or
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
of Canon Law, 1983
Rule of the C.Ss.R., 1921, 1936
of Chapters (Directorium Capitulorum)
miscellanea ad regulam et spiritum
nostrae illustrandum, Romae, 1904.
of Superiors (Directorium Superiorum)
of Pope Paul VI, 8 Dec. 1975)
(Motu Proprio of
Pope Paul VI, 6 Aug. 1966)
the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes
and of the Congregation
for Bishops, 14 Apr. 1978)
of Pope Paul VI, 26 Mar. 1967)
of the Congregation for Religious
and Secular Institutes,
6 Jan. 1969)
Spicilegium Historicum C.Ss.R.
De Vita Contemplativa Religiosorum
(Decree of the Congregation
and Secular Institutes, 1980.
Petition of Alphonsus de Liguori and his companions
to the Pope, asking for his approbation of the
Institute and its Rules (1748)
de Liguori, a priest from Naples, with his companions
who are also missionary priests, united under
the title of the Most Holy Saviour, humbly bring
to your Holiness' attention:
the petitioner, having dedicated many years to
the holy missions as a brother of the Apostolic
Missions, worked in the Cathedral of Naples, and
having felt deeply the great abandonment in which
the poor find themselves in great areas of the
Kingdom, especially the rural areas, has joined
with the aforesaid priests, who have been his
companions since 1732, under the direction of
the late Mons. Falcoia, bishop of Castellamare,
in order to dedicate themselves to help the rural
poor by means of missions, instructions and other
(ministerial exercises). These are the most in
need of spiritual help, as frequently they have
no one to administer to them the Holy Sacrament
or the Word of God; their plight is such that
many, for lack of (apostolic) labourers, reach
death's door without knowing anything at all of
the necessary truths of the faith. This is because
the number of priests who dedicate themselves
expressly to the care of the poor farmers is few,
due to the expense involved and, even more, to
the trouble such a work entails. For these reasons,
the suppliants have, for some time, been helping
these poor folk with missions, searching out the
rural areas and the most abandoned places of the
six provinces of the Kingdom (of Naples), with
such success everywhere that when His Majesty
the King himself heard of this work, and especially
the work undertaken for the benefit of the numerous
shepherds of Apulia, he issued various decrees
which granted them an annual subsidy to maintain
their work, recommending it as most useful for
the general good of the Kingdom. The most eminent
Archbishop of Naples himself, who governs his
Church with such zeal, has seen fit to summon
these suppliants to help him give missions in
the small towns of his diocese.
fulfill this objective, the suppliants, with the
canonical approbation of the Ordinaries and the
permission of the King, have united to live together
in some houses or retreats, located outside the
populated areas, in various parts of the Kingdom,
such as the dioceses of Salerno, Bovino and Nocera,
and most recently, in the diocese of Conza, in
which the suppliants have, with the apostolic
consent of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops
and religious, been given the Church of St. Mary,
Mater Domini, with an adjoining house, together
with a benefice of the clergy of the Caposele
area and some rents assigned to them by various
benefactors, most notably the Archbishop of the
said diocese. These houses, besides being residences
for the suppliants who have continually preached
missions, also provide an opportunity for the
people from the rural areas where they have taken
part in a mission, to renew their confession and
rekindle their fervour through devout preaching.
In these same houses, close spiritual exercises
have been given several times during the year,
sometimes for ordinands, as well as for pastors
and priests sent by their bishops, and sometimes
for the laity as well. This has proved to be of
great benefit to them as well as to the others,
because the priests, after being renewed by these
exercises, have become worthy ministers of the
Church for the good of their parishioners. All
of this work goes on without interruption, giving
ever-greater assistance and positive benefit to
Lord has greatly blessed this work, not only
with the conversion of many abandoned souls
and with the good done in the rural areas where
the suppliants have laboured, but also with
a growing number of candidates who, up to now,
have been joining their association, which at
this moment numbers nearly forty members.
Holy Father, this is the actual state of this
new work. But if Your Holiness does not see fit
to grant us your apostolic approbation, the mission
will not be able to continue its favourable advance.
For that reason, this suppliant and his companions,
prostrate at your feet, beg you, for the love
that your Holiness has for the glory of Jesus
Christ and for the spiritual health of so many
rural people who are the most abandoned children
of the Church of God, to bestow your apostolic
approval on them so that the aforementioned association
be erected and constituted as a Congregation of
secular priests under the title of the Most Holy
Saviour, always subject to the jurisdiction of
the local ordinaries, like the Congregation of
the Fathers of the Missions and of the Pious Workers,
but with the special character of having their
houses outside the populated areas and in the
midst of the most needy dioceses, so as to dedicate
themselves better to the service of the rural
people and to be more available to them in their
also to approve the Rule that in its own time
will be placed at your feet, in the expectation
that Your Holiness, who has so much zeal for
the good of souls, particularly for those poor
rural people, (as is evident from the circular
letter sent to the bishops of the Kingdom of
Naples, insisting that they help in every way
possible with the holy missions), will deign,
through your supreme authority, to give stability
to this work which is not only very useful but
very necessary to help so many poor souls who
live deprived of spiritual aid in the rural
parts of this Kingdom.
they shall have it as a the grace of God.
from a Spanish version of the Italian original,
published in Spicilegium Historicum 17 (1969),
ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE
CONGREGATION OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER
by compassion for the poor, especially those living
in the country districts, who at that time formed
a considerable section of the population, St.
Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, in the year 1732,
at Scala in the Kingdom of Naples, founded the
Congregation of Missionaries of the Most Holy
Saviour. Afterwards (1749), it came to be called
the Congregation of Missionaries of the Most Holy
Redeemer. These missionaries, after the example
of the Redeemer himself, were to preach the Gospel
to the poor: "He sent me to preach the Gospel
to the poor" (Luke 4,18).
with his companions, among whom St. Gerard Majella
was outstanding, strove to come to the relief
of the spiritual needs, at that time, of the poor
of the country districts. These he sought to assist,
especially by means of missions, spiritual exercises
and renewals, after the manner of St. Paul (Acts
he felt an ardent desire, too, to preach the
Gospel to non-Christians in Africa and Asia,
as he often wrote in his letters, and to Christians
separated from the Catholic Church, as for example,
the Nestorians living in Mesopotamia. He took
pains to enkindle this apostolic zeal in his
sons, proposing in the Constitutions a special
vow obliging them to preach the Gospel to non-believers
(1743). This vow however was suppressed in Rome
by those who revised them.
could never be shaken in the belief that his
Congregation, under the protection of the Most
Blessed Virgin Mary, would labour vigorously
together with the Church in the task of winning
the world for Christ. Hence, with all his might
he exerted himself to secure the spread of the
Congregation. He sought to give it interior
strength by means of a vow of perseverance (1740)
and simple vows. He strove to have it officially
recognized by the supreme authority of the Church.
In this last he finally succeeded when the Supreme
Pontiff, Benedict XIV, on the 25th of February,
1749, solemnly approved both the Institute and
it Constitutions and Rule.
that time onwards the confreres took simple vows
recognized by pontifical authority. With the apostolic
constitution "Conditae a Christo"
of Pope Leo XIII (8 Dec. 1900), these simple vows
obtained the character of public religious vows.
in a special way to the untiring zeal of St.
Clement Mary Hofbauer († 1820), "a
man with a wonderful strength of faith and possessed
of the virtue of invincible constancy,"
our Congregation spread beyond the Alps where
it found new fields for its apostolic zeal.
There also, with the assent of St. Alphonsus,
who was informed of the matter, it adopted new
degrees, the Congregation began to expand through
the regions of Europe and from there, due to
the enterprise of Father Amand Joseph Passerat
(† 1858), it crossed the ocean and extended
through the Americas where it found an energetic
apostle in St. John Nepomucene Neumann. It spread
through other regions as well, till at last
its boundaries extended to the limits of the
this way the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
gradually entered different fields of apostolic
activity, devoting itself to missionary work
among the faithful, among non-Christians and
those separated from the Catholic Church.
on by the same missionary spirit, it fosters,
too, the scientific study of pastoral practice,
thus following in the steps of St. Alphonsus
who, in 1871, was declared a Doctor of the Church
and, in 1950, the Patron of all Confessors and
Moralists. It aims also to propose a way, suited
to the changing conditions of our times, that
gives sure guidance in responding to the Gospel
and acquiring Christina perfection.
the members, therefore, striving to carry on the
missionary work of the Most Holy Redeemer and
the apostles, put forth their most earnest efforts
to preserve the spirit of their holy founder,
Alphonsus. They ever identify themselves with
the energetic missionary activity of the Church,
especially in everything that has reference to
the poor, and devote all their powers to relieving
the needs of the world today.
The Apostolic Life of
THE MISSION OF THE
CONGREGATION OF THE MOST HOLY
IN THE CHURCH
The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer,
founded by Saint Alphonsus, is a clerical missionary
religious Institute of pontifical right, enjoying
the privilege of exemption, and having members
belonging to various rites. Its purpose is to
"follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer,
by preaching the word of God to the poor, as
he declared of himself: 'He sent me to preach
the Good News to the poor'."
this way the Congregation shares the mandate
given to the Church, which, since it is the
universal sacrament of salvation, is missionary
of its very nature.
does so by responding with missionary thrust
to the pressing pastoral needs of the most abandoned,
especially the poor, and by devoting itself
entirely to evangelization.
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
2. In carrying out its mission in the
Church the Congregation unites members who live
together and form one missionary body. These
dedicate themselves to God by profession, and
so devote themselves to their mission as a living
unit, each contributing through the ministry
that belongs to him.
All Redemptorists, urged on by the apostolic
spirit, and imbued with the zeal of their founder,
continue the tradition developed by their confreres
in the past, and are ever attentive to the signs
of the times. "Sent as helpers, companions and
ministers of Jesus Christ in the great work
to preach the word of salvation to the poor
(Chapter 1), they build up an apostolic community
(Chapter 11), specially dedicated to the Lord
(Chapter 111), sustained by adequate formation
(Chapter IV), and by suitable forms of government
THE MISSIONARY WORK
OF THE CONGREGATION
3. The most abandoned, to whom in particular
the Congregation is sent, are those for whom
the Church has not yet been able to provide
sufficient means of salvation, those who have
never heard the Church's message, or at least
do not receive it as the "Good News", and finally
those who suffer harm because of division in
At the same time the Congregation directs its
apostolic zeal towards the faithful who enjoy
ordinary pastoral care; for they need to be
strengthened in faith, continually converted
to God, and bear witness to the faith in everyday
4. Among groups of people more in need
of spiritual help, they will give special attention
to the poor, the deprived and the oppressed.
The evangelization of these is a sign of messianic
activity (cf. Luke 4:18), and Christ, in a certain
sense, wished to identify himself with them
(cf. Matt. 25:40).
5. Preference for situations where there
is pastoral need, that is, for evangelization
in the strict sense together with the choice
in favour of the poor is the very reason why
the Congregation exists in the Church, and is
the badge of its fidelity to the vocation it
Indeed the Congregation's mandate to evangelize
the poor is directed to the liberation and salvation
of the whole human person. The members have
the duty of preaching the Gospel explicitly
and of showing solidarity with the poor by promoting
their fundamental rights to justice and freedom.
The means employed must be effective and at
the same time consistent with the Gospel.
The Work of Evangelization
Art. 1: The Gospel of Salvation
6. All Redemptorists, ever following
the magisterium of the Church, must be humble
and courageous servants among people of the
Gospel of Christ, the Redeemer and Lord, who
is the head and model of the new humanity.
This message has for its special object plentiful
redemption; it proclaims the love of God the
Father "who first loved us and sent his Son
to be the expiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10)
and through the Holy Spirit gives life to all
who believe in him.
This redemption affects the entire person. It
brings to perfection and transforms all human
values, so as to unite all things in Christ
(cf. Eph. 1:10; 1 Cor. 3:23), and thus lead
them to their completion in a new earth and
a new heaven (cf. Rev. 21:1).
Art. 2: Evangelization Itself
7. As witnesses of the Good News of the
grace of God (cf. Acts 20:24) they proclaim
before everything else the very high destiny
of the individual and of the whole human race.
They know very well that all are sinners, but
equally they know that, at a deeper level, all
have been chosen, redeemed and gathered together
in Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29 ff).
Therefore, they will strive to encounter the
Lord where he is already present and at work
in his own mysterious way.
8. According to the situations in which
they find themselves, they will eagerly try
to discover what they should do or say: whether
to proclaim Christ explicitly, or confine themselves
to the silent witness of brotherly presence.
9. Should circumstances make it impossible
for them at times to proclaim the Gospel directly
and immediately or to preach it fully, then
the missionaries, with patience and prudence,
but at the same time with great confidence,
must give witness to the charity of Christ and
do all in their power to make themselves neighbours
This charity will show itself in prayer, in
genuine service to others and in witness of
life whatever form it may take.
This form of evangelization gradually prepares
the ways of the Lord, and is a true exercise
of the Redemptorist missionary vocation.
Witness of life and charity opens the way to
the testimony of the word (cf. Rom. 10:17),
according to actual circumstances and the capabilities
of each. Indeed Redemptorists have as their
special mission in the Church the explicit proclamation
of the word of God to bring about fundamental
When the opportune time comes, and the Lord
opens the door to them for the preaching of
the word (cf. Col. 4:9), the members are always
ready to give witness to the hope that is in
them (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15). They bring to completion
the silent witness of their brotherly presence
by preaching the mystery of Christ with confidence
and constancy (cf. Acts 4:13, 29, 31).
They will never grow weary of invoking the Holy
Spirit, so that they may always be able to co-operate
more wholeheartedly in bringing the mystery of
redemption in Christ to full effect. For the Spirit
has command of every situation, puts the appropriate
word on the lips of the preacher and opens hearts
to receive it.
Art. 3: The Purpose of the Missionary Work
11. Blessed by God with the ministry
of reconciliation (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18), the members
announce the good news of salvation and the
"favourable time" (2 Cor. 6:2), so that people
be converted, believe in the Gospel (cf. Mark
1:15), really live their baptism and put on
the new self (cf. Eph. 4:24).
Redemptorists are thus "apostles of conversion",
in so far as the chief object of their preaching
is to lead people to a radical choice regarding
their life - a decision for Christ - and draw
them firmly and gently to a continuing and total
12. The conversion of the individual,
however, is brought about in the ecclesial community.
And therefore the object of their whole missionary
activity is to raise up and develop communities
that will walk worthily in the vocation to which
they are called, and exercise the priestly,
prophetic and royal offices with which God has
The missionaries lead those who have been converted
to share fully in redemption which is at work
in the liturgy, especially in the sacrament
of reconciliation, where the Good News of God's
mercy in Christ is so wonderfully proclaimed
and celebrated, but most of all in the Eucharist
through which the Church is built up.
In this way the Christian community becomes
the sign of God's presence in the world. For,
nourished by the word of God, it bears witness
to Christ and continually passes with him to
the Father in the mystery of the Eucharist.
As a result it walks in love, aflame with the
The Manner of Performing
the Work of Evangelization
Art. 4: Dynamism in Mission Work
13. The Congregation strives earnestly
to carry out its mission with bold initiative
and wholehearted dedication.
Since it is called to perform faithfully the
missionary work entrusted to it by God from
one age to another, the Congregation develops
and adapts the form of its missionary activity.
14. Indeed the apostolic work of the
Congregation is distinguished more by its missionary
dynamism than by any particular forms of activity;
in other words, by evangelization in the true
sense, and by service of persons and groups
who are poor and more neglected within the Church
and society (cf. CC. 3-5).
15. The mission of the Congregation,
then, demands of the members that they be free
and unimpeded in their choice of the peoples
to be evangelized and the means to be employed
in the mission of salvation.
Since they are always obliged to seek new apostolic
initiatives under the guidance of legitimate
authority, they cannot allow themselves to settle
down in surroundings and structures in which
their work would no longer be missionary. On
the contrary, they will diligently pioneer new
ways of preaching the Gospel to every creature
16. For this reason they hold in high
esteem the different forms of missionary activity
born of the missionary zeal of the members in
the past, in their efforts to meet the needs
of various places. Likewise, in time to come
the Congregation will adopt any new form which,
in its judgment, corresponds to its pastoral
17. The decision whether certain priorities,
established or to be established in relation
to apostolic works in the (vice)province correspond
to the missionary character of the Congregation,
belongs to the (vice)provincial chapter, with
the consent of the general council.
And so it is evident that all the members, especially
when assembled in chapters, must periodically
ask themselves whether the means of evangelization
employed in their region answer to what is expected
of them by the Church and the world. They should
examine, too, whether their missionary methods
need to be renewed and how this should be done.
They should then retain whatever methods have
proved successful modify those which are inadequate
and abandon those no longer useful.
5: Co-operation in the Church
18. Because of the particular nature
of their pastoral charity, communities and individual
members shall do all in their power to harmonize
their own work with the enterprises of the universal
and local Church.
For the task the Congregation has assumed in
the Church is in the service of Christ, and
as a consequence, must necessarily also be in
the service of his Church. Because their ministry
is directed towards the good of the universal
Church, the members are primarily subject to
the Supreme Pontiff, even by virtue of the vow
according to the principles of exemption, they
are also subject to the local ordinary in what
relates to their particular ministry in the
In working out and maintaining fraternal co-operation,
the members shall keep in view both the pastoral
programme of the territory they work in and
the charism proper to the Congregation. With
a sincere desire to be of service, and a generous
availability, they shall fit in with the missionary
works and structures which the diocese or the
region has established to meet the more urgent
needs of the Church and the times.
Art. 6: Dialogue with the World
19. In order that missionary work may
develop and be really successful, adequate knowledge
and practical familiarity with conditions in
the world are essential as well as co-operation
within the Church. For this reason the members
of the Congregation confidently engage in missionary
dialogue with the world.
In a spirit of brotherly concern they should
try to understand people's anxious questionings
and try to discover in these how God is truly
revealing himself and making his plan known.
Indeed they know that only the mystery of the
Word Incarnate throws true light on the mystery
of humanity and on the full reality of its calling.
With this knowledge they reveal the all-embracing
nature of redemption, and give witness to the
truth that whoever follows Christ, the perfect
human being, becomes more human.
20. Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope,
burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in
humility of heart and persevering in prayer,
Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples
of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer
with hearts full of joy; denying themselves
and always ready to undertake what is demanding,
they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim
it in Gospel simplicity of life and language,
that they may bring to people plentiful redemption.
THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY
Art. 1: The Community Itself
21. To fulfil their mission in the Church,
Redemptorists perform their missionary work
as a community. For apostolic life in common
paves the way most effectively for the life
of pastoral charity.
Therefore, an essential law of life for the
members is this: that they live in community
and carry out their apostolic work through community.
For this reason the community aspect must always
be kept in mind when any missionary work is
Community does not truly exist when members
merely live together; it requires as well genuine
sharing on the human and spiritual level.
22. The whole purpose of community life
is to have members, like the apostles (cf. Mark
3:14; Acts 2:42-45; 4:32), in a spirit of genuine
brotherly union, combine their prayers and deliberations,
their labours and sufferings, their successes
and failures, and their material goods as well,
for the service of the Gospel.
Such concrete forms of this community life are
to be set up as will meet the demands of evangelization
and the requirements of brotherly love, bearing
in mind that the term "community" can refer
to the whole Congregation, to the (vice)province,
or to a local or personal community.
Art. 2: The Presence of Christ in the Community
23. Since the members are called to continue
the presence of Christ and his mission of redemption
in the world, they choose the person of Christ
as the centre of their life, and strive day
by day to enter ever more intimately into personal
union with him. Thus, at the heart of the community,
to form it and sustain it, is the Redeemer himself
and his Spirit of love. And the closer their
union with Christ, the stronger will become
their union with each other.
24. So as to share truly in the love
of the Son for his Father and for people, they
will cultivate the spirit of contemplation which
deepens and strengthens their faith.
This will enable them to see God in the people
and in the events of everyday life. They will
see his plan of salvation in its true light,
and be able to distinguish between what is real
and what is illusory.
25. They will be docile to the Holy Spirit
who works without ceasing to conform them to
Christ, so that they learn to view all things
as Christ does (cf. Phil. 2:5ff), and be of
one mind with him (cf. 1 Cor. 2:16). This same
Spirit moves them interiorly through a variety
of ministries for the work of the apostolate.
For the gifts of the members and of communities
vary "according to the measure of Christ's giving"
(cf. Eph. 4:7), "but the Spirit is one and the
same" (cf. 1 Cor. 12:14).
Art. 3: A Community of Prayer
26. Let the members ever take to themselves
the exhortation of Christ the Redeemer: "they
ought always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke
18:1). Let them imitate the disciples of the first
community in the Church: "they devoted themselves
to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and the prayers," (Acts 2:42)
"all these with one accord devoted themselves
to prayer, together with Mary the mother of Jesus"
Indeed, they will make every effort to have
Saint Alphonsus' spirit of prayer in their own
27. They will find Christ especially
in the principal signs of salvation. For this
reason their community life must be nourished
by the teaching of the Gospel and the sacred
liturgy, particularly the Eucharist.
28. The word of God gives support and
energy to the Church, strengthens the faith
of her children, nourishes the soul and is the
pure and never-failing wellspring of the spiritual
Therefore, as ministers of the revelation of
Christ's mystery among people, the members shall
often have recourse to his living and life-giving
word and steep themselves in it, both by constant
reading of the Scriptures and by community celebrations
of the word of God. With faith enlivened in
this way, they become more effective apostles
in every good work (cf. 2 Tim. 3:17).
29. In the liturgy they discover and
live the mystery of Christ and of salvation.
This is true in a special way of the Eucharist,
which they recognize as the summit and source
of their whole apostolic life, and the sign
of their missionary solidarity.
Consequently, priests will give first place
to the daily celebration of the eucharistic
sacrifice. Other members who are not priests
will participate every day in the eucharistic
sacrifice, taking account of the circumstances
of life and work in their own community.
30. Since the members must live and work
in community, they will come together for prayer
in common. Each community will discover forms
of community prayer, to be approved by the competent
superior, which will give expression to the
unity of the members and foster their missionary
In addition to the celebration of the liturgy,
that is of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of
the Hours, the members have the right and duty
to devote at least one hour every day to prayer.
This prayer can be made either in private or
The general statutes, however, will decide how
often the members must come together to pray in
common each day, and the arrangement will be included
in the order of the day for each community.
31. In order to participate more deeply
and fruitfully in the most holy mystery of the
Eucharist and the liturgical life, and to nourish
more abundantly their entire spiritual life,
the members, both in the religious house and
outside, will attach the greatest importance
to mental prayer (cf. Matt. 6:6). They will
direct it principally to the contemplation of
the mysteries of redemption.
The general statutes will determine the spiritual
exercises to be performed by the members.
32. Let them take the Blessed Virgin
Mary as their model and helper. For she went
on her pilgrim way in faith, and embraced with
her whole heart the saving will of God. She
dedicated herself completely as a handmaid of
the Lord to the person of her Son and to his
work, and thus served the mystery of redemption.
Indeed she still serves it, as the perpetual
help of God's people in Christ. Therefore, let
them relate to her as a mother with all the
love and veneration they owe her as sons.
Let them be generous in fostering devotion,
especially of a liturgical nature, to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, and celebrate her feasts with special
All the confreres will honour the Blessed Virgin
Mary every day, following the tradition of Saint
Alphonsus. To all is recommended the recitation
of the holy rosary, so that with grateful hearts
they may reflect upon and imitate the mysteries
of Christ in which Mary had a share.
33. They will try to reproduce in their
lives the apostolic zeal of their founder in
ways that are accommodated to the needs of our
times. They will have very much at heart the
development in their own lives of his way of
thinking with the Church, for this is a sound
criterion of their missionary service. To achieve
this, let them carefully study his life, and
make frequent use of his writings.
Art. 4: A Community of Persons
34. Christian community truly exists
in every personal relationship which is formed
between the members: "where two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in
the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). This gathering
together in the name of Christ brings into being
that Gospel friendship which gives life to the
apostolic community even in its juridic and
administrative dimension; it is this Gospel
friendship which also maintains and gives growth
to the community life of the members.
35. Therefore, in community all the members
are of themselves equal. Through the exercise
of co-responsibility each in his own way plays
his part in living the life and carrying out the
mission to which they have dedicated themselves.
36. The community must further the personal
growth of its members, develop interpersonal
relations and build up genuine brotherhood.
This will demand that persons, with their values
and qualities, be highly esteemed. Moreover,
opportunities must be given the members to make
their own personal decisions, in order to promote
real development of maturity and responsibility.
37. In this way the life and vigour of
the community is maintained and strengthened,
whether it be its internal life as a community
or the work of evangelization entrusted to its
members. There is, moreover, continual and fruitful
interaction between the community and its individual
members, by which the community supports and
enriches each one's vocation.
38. Gathered in unity of purpose in Christ
and in a spirit of mutual respect, they will
readily reach a decision on what the common
good of the entire group requires, both in regard
to the practice of brotherly charity and the
exercise of their missionary work. In their
efforts to reach the common goal the individual
members will then contribute all that is in
them to the actual carrying out of whatever
has been decided in the community in a spirit
of complete self-sacrifice and moved by their
love for each other.
Art. 5: A Community of Work
39. In keeping with his qualifications
and talents, each one will undertake in accordance
with the arrangements of the competent superior,
that share of the labours of the community,
and shoulder those burdens which his missionary
calling requires. For such an exercise of his
mission forms a special part of religious observance.
Art. 6: A Community of Conversion
40. It is most important that the members
regard the community as something which must
aim at continual progress through constant interior
41. 1° The members must give all their
attention to putting on the new self, created
in the image of Christ crucified and risen from
the dead, so as to purify their motives in judging
and acting. For conversion of heart and continual
renewal of mind should characterize their whole
This effort entails continual self-denial, which
eliminates egoism, and opens the heart to others
generously and fully, in accordance with the
demands of the apostolic calling. Spending themselves
for others in this way for the sake of Christ
(cf. 2 Cor. 4:10ff), they will acquire that
interior freedom which brings unity and harmony
into their whole life.
The members will examine their consciences daily,
and it is praiseworthy to have this examination
within a community exercise of prayer. To make
this necessary conversion of heart more complete,
they will frequently celebrate the sacrament
42. To deepen this interior conversion
and give it expression in their lives, they
will willingly choose for themselves some practices
The community itself must similarly give expression
to this same conversion, so that day by day
it may give effective witness, and acquire a
complete generosity which will be a worthy response
to the word of God.
Art. 7: An Open Community
43. For the members, the religious community
is their first and basic community. Nevertheless,
it must be open to the world in such a way that,
through contact with people, it may learn to
understand the signs of the times and of places,
and adapt itself more fittingly to the demands
of evangelization (cf. C. 19). For, in a certain
sense, the members belong to other communities
also, above all to the groups among whom they
This does not mean that they withdraw from their
own religious community, but that they really
share with all the joy the Gospel has brought
into their lives. Thus they become like a leaven
in the world and are a living witness of hope.
Art. 8: An Organized Community
44.Each community needs suitable organization
and a way of life in common determined by certain
norms, if it is to manifest and further the
development of persons who have committed themselves
as a body to pastoral charity.
The members will lay down for themselves opportune
rules of life, to be decided according to the
norm of the general statutes, which are in keeping
with the human conditions of the community.
These they will select from Christian and Redemptorist
tradition, from social life, and in accordance
with the rights which are inseparable from the
45. 1° Every member should accept these
norms as binding on him. They must of their
nature be adaptable to the requirements of the
missionary work. They should be capable of being
modified, too, according to what the Church,
circumstances of time and place, and the particular
culture and character of a nation require.
2° Through common dialogue let all collaborate
in creating a climate which is favourable to
prayer and work, to solitude and review of life,
to rest and relaxation.
3° The legitimate superior is to define the
extent to which every community is open to outsiders,
while keeping a special section of the house
reserved for itself and duly observing the norms
4° The religious habit traditionally worn in
the Congregation is retained. Its use is to
be regulated by the general statutes. When the
members do not wear the habit, they are to observe
the prescriptions of the local ordinaries regarding
THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY
TO CHRIST THE REDEEMER
Art. 1: The Mission of Christ the Redeemer,
the Reason for their Dedication
46. The members of the Congregation confirm
their personal and community life by religious
profession, so as to bind themselves totally
to the work of the Gospel and to the perfect
practice of apostolic charity, for this is the
very purpose of the Congregation.
47. Profession is deeply rooted in baptismal
consecration, and is a fuller expression of
it. Consequently, by this act, the members are
incorporated in a particular way into the mission
of Christ as ministers of the Gospel, under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
48. In order to fulfil his mission, which
is essentially the exercise of pastoral charity,
Christ "emptied himself, taking the form of
a servant" (Phil. 2:7) and submitted himself
to the will of the Father in the work of redemption
to which he dedicated his entire life.
49. The members, set apart for the work
to which they are called (Acts 13:2), are prepared
to remain steadfast for life in their vocation.
They renounce themselves with all they possess
to become followers of Christ, and to be all
things to all (cf. 1 Cor. 9:22).
50. The members walk the same way as Christ
himself, the way of virginity, poverty and obedience,
the way of service and sacrifice of self unto
death from which he ascended victorious through
his resurrection. They do this within the Church
which continues and unfolds the mission of salvation.
Thus, they participate in a special way in the
mystery of the Church, and are drawn to share
more intimately in the paschal mystery.
Art. 2: Signs and Witnesses
51. Through this total dedication to
the mission of Christ, the members share the
self-renunciation of their crucified Lord, the
virginal freedom of his heart and his wholehearted
offering of himself for the life of the world.
They must, therefore, become signs and witnesses
before people of the power of his resurrection,
proclaiming the new and eternal life.
Art. 3: The Mission Unifying their Whole
52. Apostolic charity, through which
the members share in the mission of Christ the
Redeemer, is the principle that unifies their
entire life. For it identifies them in a certain
sense with Christ, who continues to fulfil the
will of his Father by carrying on the redemption
53. Since the glory of God and the salvation
of the world are one, and since love for God
and love for people are the same, the members
live their union with God in the form of apostolic
charity and, through missionary charity, seek
54. In this way pastoral charity gives
soul and unity to the life of the members. Community
life is really at the service of the apostolate.
Continual conversion, the result of their total
surrender to God, increases their availability
for the service of others. Indeed the very religious
bonds, by which the members dedicate themselves
to God, necessarily involve commitment to the
apostolate and strengthen that commitment.
Religious profession, therefore, becomes the
definitive act of the whole missionary life
Art. 4: All are Missionaries
55. This profession makes all Redemptorists
truly missionaries, whether they are engaged
in different activities of the apostolic ministry
or hindered from working at all, whether they
are occupied with various services on behalf
of the Congregation or the confreres, or are
advanced in age, sick, or incapable of external
work or whether, above all, they are suffering
and dying for the salvation of the world.
Art. 5: Profession, a Response of Love
56. Moved and strengthened by the Holy
Spirit, the members spare no effort to arrive
at a total gift of themselves. They aim to become,
through Christ, a response to the Lord "who first
loved them" (1 John 4:10). They express this response
in the profession of the vows of chastity, poverty
Art. 6: Chastity
57. Religious chastity, which brings
with it the obligation of perfect continence
in celibacy, reveals the presence of God's kingdom
on earth (cf. 1 Cor. 7:34; Eph. 5:25-32), because
like marriage, though in a different way, it
signifies and embodies the love of Christ and
58. The members of the Congregation,
giving themselves to this same mystery of love,
choose celibacy for the sake of the kingdom
of heaven (cf. Matt. 19:12). They do so to dedicate
themselves, as individuals and as a community,
to God and the mission of Christ (cf. John 17:19),
so that they may concern themselves wholeheartedly
with the things of the Lord, love and serve
their neighbour (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32), manifest
the Church's own love of Christ (cf. 2 Cor.
11:2) and proclaim the future realities of heavenly
life (cf. Luke 20:35, 36).
59. Those to whom the Father has given
this gift of grace, are so captivated by what
the kingdom of God offers them, that only by
choosing this religious chastity can they respond
personally and fully to God's love for them.
To arrive at a more perfect understanding of
the mystery of chastity and live it in freedom
and joy, the members will pray with earnestness
and humility in union with the Church, and they
should constantly use suitable means of fostering
60. They should make use of all the means
and helps towards mental and bodily health which
the sciences offer. Above all, they must not
neglect to follow those ascetical norms which
have been tested by the experience of the Church.
All, and especially superiors, should remember
moreover that chastity is better safeguarded
where there is an atmosphere of fraternal charity
in the community (cf. CC. 23. 34).
Art. 7: Poverty
61. As missionaries, Redemptorists will
embrace in a spirit of trust the poverty of
Christ, "who, being rich, became poor for our
sakes, that by his poverty we might become rich"
(2 Cor. 8:9).
62. They will make every effort to live
in the spirit that permeated the community of
apostolic times. In this way they become the
sign of that fraternal life of Christ's disciples,
of whom it is said: "the whole group of believers
was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for
his own use anything that he had, as everything
they owned was held in common" (Acts 4:32).
Therefore all goods should be simple in style,
in keeping with their state and held in common
for common use.
Whatever the members acquire by their industry
or in view of the fact that they are religious,
they acquire for the Institute, and for that
reason it must be incorporated in the goods
of the community.
63. Without neglecting traditional forms
of poverty, they will willingly seek to discover
new ways of practising it, which will be ever
more in accord with the Gospel, and provide
both personal and community witness of evangelical
64. As poor men, let them regard themselves
as bound by the law of labour, so that performing
his duties, each will contribute to the best
of his ability to his own support and that of
65. Missionary charity requires of the
members that they live a life that is really
poor, and adapted to the condition of the poor
they are evangelizing. By doing so, they show
solidarity with the poor and become a sign of
hope for them.
66. In the same way, they will endeavour
in all sincerity to understand those values
that are held in esteem by other peoples though
they may not perhaps appeal to themselves or
their own culture. From this will be born that
fruitful dialogue which brings to light the
rich endowments God has entrusted to different
67. Similarly, they will cheerfully accept
any conditions that may require their moving
from place to place and, in a spirit of self-denial,
live in the freedom of which the Gospel speaks
(cf. Luke 9:58-62).
Living their poverty will also ensure that they
gladly take their place as faithful ministers
of the Gospel in various organizations where,
in the interests of their mission, they may
be of service to all people (cf. C. 18).
68. The vow of poverty taken by the members
requires that they live a life that is poor
in spirit and in fact, a life of labour, a life
of moderation detached from earthly riches,
a life which involves dependence and limitation
in the use and disposal of material goods, according
to the norm of the particular law of the Congregation.
69. The members are bound to make a will
which is valid in civil law. The obligation
of making this, however, may be deferred to
the time immediately preceding perpetual vows.
70. To encourage the practice of poverty,
the members are allowed to renounce the patrimonial
goods they already possess or may acquire in
future. If such a renunciation is made, however,
it should be undertaken only by members of mature
age, with the consent of the supreme moderator.
In so far as possible, it should be made in
a manner which is valid in civil law. Members
and superiors should take care that this renunciation
is made according to the principles of prudence
A legal document is to be drawn up on the matter
as a protection against any difficulties that
Art. 8: Obedience
71. Following the example of Christ,
who came to do the will of his Father, and give
his life as a redemption for many (cf. John
6:38; Matt. 20:28), the members through the
vow of obedience dedicate their own will to
God, and are obliged to submit their will to
their lawful superiors when they issue commands
in accordance with the constitutions and statutes.
They should bring all their resources of mind
and will, as well as their gifts of nature and
grace, to the execution of commands and the
discharge of the tasks assigned to them.
Let them do all this in a spirit of faith and
love for God's will, realizing that they are
seeking the kingdom of God, and are sharing
intimately in the paschal mystery of Christ,
which is the mystery of obedience.
72. Superiors should be docile to God's
will in the exercise of their office, realizing
that they will have to give an account of the
souls entrusted to them (cf. Heb. 13:17). They
should use their authority in a spirit of service
for their brothers, so that they show forth
how God loves them.
They should govern their brothers as sons of
God and with respect for the human person, and
thus lead them to a submission that is truly
They should lead the members in such a way that
they will co-operate with an active and responsible
obedience in applying themselves to their duties
and to the activities they undertake.
Accordingly, let them willingly listen to the
members and win their co-operation for the good
of the Institute and the Church, and thus help
them to activate their missionary zeal.
73. 1° All the members are co-responsible
and mutually dependent with superiors in carrying
out the apostolic mission of the Congregation.
The Holy Spirit gives life to the communities
and inspires the members with a readiness to
serve God in the Church and the world. Under
his influence, let superiors and members engage
in dialogue and fraternal discussion, in order
that together they may discover God's will and
devote themselves to its implementation. For
he speaks through the voices of people and the
signs of the times (cf. CC. 37. 38).
2° Although all contribute to the making of
decisions through means of community discussion,
nevertheless the superior retains the authority
to make the decision and order what is to be
done, unless particular law states otherwise.
3° Lawful superiors can impose formal precepts
of obedience on the members of their community
concerning matters contained in the constitutions
and statutes. Ordinarily, however, they should
not use this power unless there is a grave reason
and with the consent of their consultors.
The members, because of the obedience they have
professed before God, are bound to obey such
precepts willingly and promptly.
74. "Since the fundamental norm of the
religious life is the following of Christ as
presented in the Gospel, this must be considered
as the supreme rule" (PC, 2a) in our Congregation.
Superiors and members then, united in community
by the Holy Spirit, must observe constitutions,
statutes and decrees legitimately promulgated,
looking on them as the authentic means whereby
individual confreres and communities show their
constant fidelity to God's will. In this way
they carry out the mission of Christ who said
of himself: "I have come down from heaven not
to do my own will, but the will of him who sent
me" (John 6:38).
75. Evangelical obedience contributes
to the true development of the human person
dedicated to Christ. It bears witness before
the world to the genuine freedom of the children
of God and to their common union in Christ,
and fills the missionaries with apostolic energy.
Art. 9: The Vow and Oath of Perseverance
76. In making perpetual profession, the
members will add to the vows mentioned above
a vow and oath of perseverance, by which they
will bind themselves to live until death in
FORMATION OF THE APOSTOLIC
Art. 1: The Scope of Formation
77. The apostolic purpose of the Congregation
must inspire and penetrate the whole formation
process of its members. This process includes
the selection of vocations, the different periods
of training and the formation which must last
throughout the whole of life.
78. The aim of formation for both candidates
and members is to lead them to such a degree
of human and Christian maturity that, with the
help of God's grace, they will be able to dedicate
themselves intelligently, willingly and wholeheartedly
to the service of the missionary Church in Redemptorist
community life, in order to preach the Gospel
to the poor.
They should learn progressively what the following
of Christ demands of them, required as it is
by baptismal consecration and confirmed by religious
profession, and thus become true missionaries.
Art. 2: The Fostering of Vocations
79. The vitality with which the Congregation
pursues its apostolic mission depends on the
number and quality of the candidates who seek
admission to the Redemptorist community.
For that reason, all the confreres, out of love
and appreciation for their own vocation, should
zealously engage in the apostolate of fostering
vocations to the Congregation.
80. It is the Spirit of Christ himself
who raises up missionaries in the Church. But
ordinarily he makes use of human contacts and
relationships to make Christ's invitation known
to his apostles. Therefore every member, through
his contact with people in the course of his
apostolic ministry, must be ever alert to discover
and evaluate the gifts which the Spirit imparts
to so many young people. In addition, let each
one remember that the best and most successful
ways of promoting vocations are his own apostolic
zeal, the example of his life and constant prayer
(cf. Matt. 9:38, Luke 10:2).
Art. 3: Formation in General
81. Willing help should be given to the
candidates, so that they be led to assume full
responsibility for the decision they make. They
should be guided and encouraged towards making
their choice in perfect freedom, and should
be helped to prepare for the forms of the apostolate
that are in accordance with the spirit of the
Since their duty one day will be to preach the
word of God, they must be abundantly nourished
by it. They must constantly give themselves to
meditation on the mystery of salvation. Let them
think deeply too, on the needs of the world which
are the Church's concern and which evoke sympathy
in their own hearts. In the light of God's word,
let them make every effort to discover, together
with their confreres, in what way they can help
to respond to these needs.
The candidates must be animated also by unwavering
faith if they are to be adequately prepared
for the trial of loneliness and for the uncertainties
which accompany the apostolic ministry. This
faith will also lead them to seek a life of
brotherly union, in order to hasten the coming
of God's kingdom in which Christ desires to
Becoming imitators of the apostle Paul, as he
was of Christ (1 Cor. 4:16), and nourished by
his teaching, they will be rooted in an inexhaustible
and radiant hope which never deceives, for it
is founded on charity (Rom. 5:5).
Art. 4: Directors of Formation
82. All the members share responsibility
in the work of formation. They share it not
only for those who are beginning life in the
Congregation, but for all the confreres. For
the whole Congregation is continually in process
of formation and development, to be ready to
meet the needs of the people to whom its members
preach the Gospel.
But the chief responsibility in this matter
rests on major superiors whose duty it is to
provide for formation, particularly by appointing
a team of qualified personnel. For those in
charge of formation must be prepared by special
training, and have adequate missionary experience
in the Congregation.
83. Those directing formation, in mutual
harmony of mind and purpose, will follow a well
thought-out programme which is of genuine service
to those who look to them for assistance.
With the help of experts let them try to exercise
discernment regarding vocations. They should
so arrange conditions for the young men, that
the choice they make will be free and deliberate.
Let them look upon themselves, not so much as
teachers imparting knowledge, but as servants
of the truth, searching for it with patience
and humility together with those committed to
Let the candidates co-operate humbly and generously
with those directing them. In the light of faith
nourished by meditation on the word of God,
let them learn from them how to seek God at
all times, interpret the signs of the times,
see Christ in all people and have a proper appreciation
of human values. They will so saturate their
lives with the wisdom of the Gospel, that they
become faithful witnesses and heralds of the
Art. 5: First Formation in the Apostolic
84. The time of preparation includes
not only the novitiate but also the periods
that precede and follow it, according to the
norms of common law and the law of the Congregation.
85. The members are gradually incorporated
into the Congregation in different stages. From
the very beginning they will live in the spirit
of the evangelical counsels. But when they have
become sufficiently mature and stable in this
evangelical way of life, they dedicate themselves
in a more perfect way to the mission of Christ
the Redeemer, in the Congregation, by making
vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
86. 1° It is the function of the general
government to decide on the erection of the
novitiate, and designate by a written decree
some house of the Congregation where it will
be situated; it defines the programme of training
for the novitiate and determines other matters
in accordance with the common law and the general
2° The aim of the novitiate is to have the candidates
consider more thoroughly whether they are really
called by God to follow Christ by making religious
profession in the apostolic life of the Congregation.
The candidates are to experience our way of
life, get to know the history and life of the
Congregation, have their minds and hearts imbued
with its spirit and have their determination
and suitability put to the test.
a. That the novitiate be valid, it must
be made for twelve months, spent in an approved
However, to complete the training of the novices,
in addition to the time above, the general statutes
can prescribe one or more periods of apostolic
activity to be engaged in outside the novitiate
The novitiate is not to be extended beyond two
b. To the master of novices, under the authority
of the (vice)provincial superior, belongs the
government of the novitiate. The master and
novices, however, are subject to its superior
in regard to the discipline of the whole house.
c. The major superior with the consent of
his council, according to the norm of the general
statutes, admits candidates to the novitiate,
and to temporary or perpetual profession.
d. When the novitiate has been completed,
if the novice is judged suitable he is admitted
to temporary profession. Otherwise, he is to
be sent away, or if there is doubt about his
suitability, the time of probation can be prolonged
according to the norm of the general statutes,
but not for more than six months.
e. The temporary profession to be made after
the novitiate is not to be shorter than three
years. This time can be prolonged, but not beyond
six years, aside from exceptional cases.
f. The profession is to be made or renewed
according to the approved formula (cf. Appendix).
87. The members who aspire to the priesthood
shall be trained with the object of forming
them in the image of Christ the Eternal Priest.
Let them learn to unite themselves with him,
and endeavour to explore thoroughly the total
mystery of Christ, by a scientific and systematic
study of the sacred sciences and by a deeper
knowledge of the human sciences.
They will likewise share fully in community
life, and participate in an appropriate way
in the missionary apostolate.
88. During the whole course of studies
our students will be entrusted to the special
care of a prefect, whose function it will be
to train their minds for the apostolic life,
and help them to relate their theological studies
and spirituality in such a way as to give unity
to their life.
89. The other members are to be trained
in a similar way. They, too, must be more intimately
conformed to the mystery of Christ and share
in the life of the Congregation, since all work
together in the same missionary vocation, each
contributing the service that is proper to himself.
As far as possible, therefore, each must acquire
the professional and ministerial competence
that is needed.
Art. 6: Continuing Formation
90. Redemptorists will become more efficient
as missionaries the more they are able to constantly
adapt their skills in a suitable way in the
work of the apostolate. With this adaptation
they will unite continual self-renewal in spiritual,
scientific and pastoral matters.
Therefore every member should eagerly try to
give new life to his ministry. He should endeavour
to make it more fruitful by constant study of
the sacred and human sciences, and by fraternal
sharing with his confreres.
The (vice)provincial superior, moreover, must
make provision for the continual and progressive
formation of all the members. This should be
done by means of theological and pastoral courses
or institutes, by availing of courses in colleges
and universities, or by attending regional or
In addition, following in the steps of our holy
founder, our Congregation promotes higher studies
of the sacred sciences, in order to attain its
missionary purpose more successfully.
GOVERNMENT OF THE APOSTOLIC
91. The general principles embodied in
the constitutions must inspire the entire government
of the Congregation. It is these principles
which should give true human and apostolic value
to the norms ratified in the constitutions and
92. All members and communities must,
in their own way, play an active and responsible
role in the government of the Congregation in
its different parts, making use of the various
instruments of government with which it is provided.
To each one is given the manifestation of the
Spirit for the sake of the common good (cf.
1 Cor. 12:7; cf. C. 72).
93. For this reason approved norms of decentralization
shall be followed. In other words, each section,
under the leadership of the general government,
conducts its own affairs, whether by making laws
and decrees and applying them, or by coordinating
the life of the members, in communion with the
other parts of the Institute, with the local church
and with civil society of which it is part.
94. Furthermore, by virtue of the principle
of subsidiarity, all the structures of government
must serve to promote the responsibility of
the members and communities. This is achieved
when all the members and structures at lower
level take their part in deciding matters which
relate to themselves, and which they can implement
with the means at their own disposal. When the
occasion arises, higher-ranking structures must
come to the assistance of those of lower rank
in matters where the latter need their help.
95. The principle of solidarity, which
ensures real co-operation between institutions
of the same level and between the members themselves,
should also be maintained. Let superiors make
every effort to establish the best possible
conditions for fostering the apostolic life
of all the members.
96. Finally, the Congregation must adapt
its own structure and institutions to its apostolic
needs, and adjust them properly to the different
character of each particular mission, always
of course, in fidelity to the charism of the
The Structure of
Art. 1: The Parts of the Congregation and
97. The Congregation is made up of provinces
and viceprovinces, which are composed of communities
through which they live and carry out their
mission. In the Congregation there are also
1° It belongs to the general council to erect
provinces and viceprovinces, to join them together
after erection, or to change their boundaries.
2° It is also the function of the general council
to suppress provinces and viceprovinces, and
dispose of their property after suppression.
3° However, provinces and viceprovinces are
empowered to establish and suppress regions,
with the approval of the general council.
98. The chapter is the primary institution
through which the members exercise responsibility
for the apostolic life of the Congregation,
and make provision for its government. For it
is in chapters, held at determined times, that
all the members either directly or through elected
delegates, enter into consultation and unite
their resources in the interests of the whole
Congregation, or of their (vice)province, to
bring about the renewal and adaptation of the
Congregation and strengthen its unity.
99. The entire Congregation, as well
as each (vice)province and community, has its
own superior who is assisted by his council.
In addition, there are appropriate institutions,
either of a permanent or temporary nature, which
provide means for the participation of the members
in the task of government.
Art. 2: Chapters and Superiors in General
100. By reason of the ministry they have
received from the Church, chapters and superiors
possess the power to govern, according to the
norms of universal and proper law, both communities
and members; furthermore, since the Congregation
is a clerical institute of pontifical right,
they also possess the power of governance or
of jurisdiction for both the internal and external
forum. The Congregation is also exempt.
Let superiors exercise this power, however,
in a collegial spirit together with their consultors,
who represent the participation of the members
101. In dealing with the affairs of government,
according to the norms of common and particular
law, there are some matters in which consultors
have a consultative vote; others in which they
have a deliberative vote; and finally others,
expressly determined, in which the council must
decide the matter collegially, by an absolute
An appeal against the decision of the majority
can be made to the immediate major superior.
Such an appeal will have suspensive effect,
if it is a question of incurring expenses or
alienation of property. In other matters, however,
saving the common law, it will have only devolutive
102. In matters that are purely disciplinary,
superiors can grant dispensations from the constitutions
and statutes, both general and (vice)provincial,
according to the following norms:
a. If the dispensation concerns an individual
member, and the case, especially if it is public,
is likely to be prolonged, the superior of the
community can grant it, but he must first hear
b. But if there is question of dispensing
an entire community in a matter of greater importance,
the superior of the community, after he has
heard his consultors, must have recourse, if
time allows, to the (vice)provincial superior,
who is empowered to grant the dispensation,
after he has heard his own council; if, however,
time does not allow, the superior himself, after
he has heard his council, can dispense the community,
but he must inform his (vice)provincial superior
of the matter.
c. To obtain a dispensation for a whole
viceprovince, its superior, after he has heard
his council, is to have recourse to the provincial
superior who can, with the consent of his council,
grant the dispensation; if, however, time does
not allow, the viceprovincial himself, with
the consent of his council, can grant the dispensation,
but must inform his provincial of the matter.
d. In the same way, if a whole province
is to be dispensed, its superior, after he has
heard his consultors, must have recourse, if
time allows, to the superior general who can,
with the consent of his consultors, grant the
dispensation; if, however, time does not allow,
the provincial superior himself, with the consent
of his council, will have power to dispense
it, but he must inform the superior general
of the matter.
e. But if it is a question of dispensing
the whole Congregation, the general council
has power to dispense it until the next general
chapter, which will decide whether to prolong
the dispensation as circumstances require, or
revoke it. Should the chapter, however, make
no decision about such a dispensation, it is
to be regarded as revoked.
103. Superiors should periodically ask
themselves if they have a right understanding
of their office, and if they exercise it in
the proper way.
For this purpose they should take counsel together
and, as far as possible, take part in seminars
for the formation of superiors.
It will also be very profitable to hold meetings
with superiors of other Institutes concerning
Government at the
Art. 3: The General Chapter
104. The general chapter, legitimately
convoked and constituted, is the supreme organ
of internal government of the Congregation;
it also represents it. It is an expression of
the concern and participation of all members
in promoting the good of the whole Institute.
The general chapter, both ordinary and extraordinary,
is convoked by the superior general, according
to the norms contained in the general statutes
and the Directory of Chapters.
105. The ordinary chapter is convoked
every six years. The general statutes are to
decide when an extraordinary chapter must be
106. To every general chapter will come:
the superior general, the consultors, procurator,
treasurer and secretary general, as well as
legitimately designated representatives of the
(vice)provinces. The superior general is the
president of the general chapter.
The superior general, the consultors, procurator,
treasurer and secretary general, even though
not re-elected, continue as members of the general
chapter which elected their successors, until
its conclusion, or if it has other periods of
sessions, then until the end of the first period.
107. It is the function of the general
chapter to care for the interests of the apostolic
life of the entire Institute, to strengthen
the links that bind its individual parts together,
and to further the adaptation of the institutions
and norms of life in the Congregation to the
needs of the Church and humanity.
108. To carry out so serious a task adequately,
the general chapter will subject the whole Congregation
to a careful examination, to discover if it
remains faithful to its own proper mission,
in accordance with the spirit of the founder
and its sound traditions. It will also examine
whether the Congregation is giving willing attention
to the voice of God who is ever challenging
it through the Church and the world.
109. a. The general chapter will present
suitable guidelines to the Congregation so that,
renewed in accordance with its own proper spirit,
it may continually be able to devote itself
more wholeheartedly to the service of the Church
and of people.
b. The general chapter is competent:
1° with a two-thirds majority vote to grant
a general dispensation from the prescriptions
of the constitutions, in accordance with the
norm of C. 102 e;
2° with an absolute majority vote, to make amendments
to the statutes, abrogate them and make new ones;
to issue decrees; to confirm or revoke decisions
of the general government, and grant particular
dispensations for a time from the prescriptions
of the constitutions in disciplinary matters (cf.
CC. 102 e and 119);
3° with a two-thirds majority vote, to change
the constitutions. But this change must be confirmed
by the Holy See, to which it also belongs to
give an authentic interpretation of the constitutions.
110. a. The general chapter makes provision
for the general government of the Congregation,
by electing for six years or reelecting the
superior general, his vicar and the other members
of this same government.
b. For the election or re-election of the
superior general and his vicar, a two-thirds
majority vote is required. But for the election
or re-election of the general consultors an
absolute majority vote suffices.
111. Moreover, the general chapter deals
with any other matters of greater importance
which may arise concerning the life and government
of the Congregation.
Art. 4: The General Government
112. The superior general together with
the general consultors, who are co-responsible
in governing the whole Congregation, form the
general government, which is a permanent directive
and executive body.
113. The general government must give
inspiration, and act as a stimulus to continual
renewal, by being present regularly in the (vice)provinces
in a way that is effective and provides leadership.
I. The Superior General and His Vicar
114. a. To be elected superior general
a member must be a perpetually professed priest,
have lived for at least seven years in the Congregation
since perpetual profession, and must be at least
thirty-five years of age.
b. The superior general, as supreme moderator
of the Congregation and as president of the
general council, has before all else the duty
of seeing that the mission entrusted to the
Congregation by the Church is properly carried
out. Consequently, he must seek to give new
vitality to the apostolic life of the Congregation,
in accordance with the constitutions and statutes,
the decrees and guidelines of the general chapter.
c. Therefore either himself or through another
he shall visit the (vice)provinces to give inspiration
to and co-ordinate the mission of the Congregation
under all its aspects.
115. a. The superior general has authority,
according to the norms of common law and the
law of the Congregation, over all provinces,
viceprovinces, regions, communities and members
of the Congregation.
b. The superior general, as the one who
principally activates and co-ordinates the Institute,
must apply himself to understanding ever more
thoroughly the mind of the Church and its needs,
especially in places where the Congregation
exercises its ministry. He should also endeavour
to deepen his understanding of the mission of
the Congregation in the Church.
116. a. The superior general is the official
representative of the entire Congregation. He
sees to it, moreover, that the Congregation
has due contact with the Holy See, and that
it also enters into co-operation with other
ecclesiastical and civil institutions.
b. The superior general may resign his office
either in the presence of the general chapter
or in the presence of the general consultors,
but in the latter instance confirmation by the
Holy See is required. A majority of two-thirds
of the votes is required so that the resignation
be regarded as accepted.
117. The vicar of the superior general
is elected by the general chapter from among
the general consultors. He takes the place of
the superior general when he is absent or impeded.
In the event of his death, or termination of
his office, the vicar succeeds him both in office
and title until the next ordinary general chapter.
Should the vicar general renounce his office
or be impeded, provision is to be made according
to the norms of the general statutes.
II. The General Consultors
118. The general consultors, to be elected
by the general chapter, shall be at least six
Their principal duty is to promote the good
of the Congregation. On their energy and ability
depends the implementation of the decisions
of the general chapter. It is through their
co-operation that the power given to the superior
general becomes effective, and all the (vice)provinces
are brought to work together in promoting the
missionary work of the Congregation.
119. The general council has the faculty
- limited in time, i.e. up to the next general
1° of giving an authentic interpretation of
the statutes, prescriptions of the directories,
and of any decisions made by the general chapter;
2° of suspending decrees of the general chapter,
provided it informs the Congregation of the
reasons for suspending them;
3° of issuing new decrees.
It is for the general chapter to confirm or
abrogate such acts. If, however, it makes no
pronouncement regarding them, they cease automatically
(cf. C. 109 b, 2°).
Art. 5: The Officials of the General Curia
120. After appropriate consultation,
the general council will choose the major officials,
namely: the procurator, the treasurer, the secretary
and the postulator general, and set up whatever
bodies it considers necessary or useful.
Government at the
Art. 6: The Province
121. The Province is an organic unit of
the Congregation, consisting of several communities
under one superior, which is constituted a juridical
person by the general council. It has the structures
required for its own life so that through its
various ministries and gifts it can effectively
attain the end of the Congregation in communion
with the other parts of the Institute, under the
authority of the general government.
I. The Provincial Chapter
122. a. In the government of the province
the provincial chapter is the primary institution;
it is a collegial, moral person, composed of
representatives of all the members.
b. The Chapter is composed of members ex
officio and members chosen by election, according
to the norm of the general statutes.
123. It is the duty of the provincial
chapter to give continual attention to the renewal
and adaptation of the apostolic life and government
of the province.
II. The Provincial Government
124. The provincial superior:
a. together with the provincial consultors,
who are co-responsible with him in dealing with
the affairs of the province, form the provincial
government, which is a permanent directive and
executive body. It must give an account to the
provincial chapter of the task entrusted to
b. is to be designated in accordance with
the norm of the general statutes. To be chosen
for the office of provincial superior, however,
a member must be a perpetually professed priest,
have lived in the Congregation for at least
five years after perpetual profession, and be
at least thirty years of age.
125. The provincial superior, as moderator
of the province and president of the provincial
council, has a mandate to direct and govern
the province in accordance with the constitutions
and statutes, both general and particular.
126. Let the provincial superior exercise
his office as a pastor, leader and coordinator
of all the communities and members of his province.
He should make himself completely available to
them, while encouraging them to live worthily
the vocation to which they are called, and to
confidently undertake and carry through their
127. A vicar of the provincial superior
is to be elected, ordinarily from among the
provincial consultors. He takes the provincial
superior's place when he is absent or impeded;
in the case of his death or other termination
of his office, he succeeds him in office unless
the provincial statutes decide otherwise.
128. The provincial superior, his vicar
and the provincial consultors are to be designated
for a period of time determined in the general
III. Officials and Institutions of the Province
129. It belongs to the provincial chapter
or to the provincial council, according to the
norms of the provincial statutes, to designate
the officials of the province. In addition, care
should be taken that the government of the province
has appropriate institutions, such as secretariats
and the like.
Art. 7: The Viceprovince
130. A viceprovince is the union of several
communities constituted as a moral person in
law by the general council. It usually takes
its origin from the province on which it is
dependent according to the following norms (CC.
131. The viceprovince manifests the apostolic
vitality of the entire Congregation, especially
of the province by which it was founded.
It is established and erected to serve the Church,
especially where a missionary situation exists,
after ample consultation among the members who
belong to the province, and the matter has been
arranged with the general government.
132. In so far as a viceprovince has
taken its origin from a province and is not
fully sufficient of itself, it has a right to
look for assistance from the province in regard
to personnel and temporal goods.
133. The viceprovince has the same structure,
the same institutions and the same competence
to decide the manner of conferring offices as
the province itself. Therefore all that is said
about the province is valid also for the viceprovince,
unless the law states otherwise, or it is evident
from the nature of the matter in question.
134. The viceprovince enjoys the freedom
and authority required to adjust its own manner
of life in a suitable way to the particular
needs of its mission, in order to carry out
Art. 8: Government of Communities in the
135. The (vice)province, in keeping with
the needs of the apostolate and to promote the
welfare of the local church, is responsible
for establishing communities, whether they be
houses or residences, through which it carries
on its life and work.
It belongs to the general government to canonically
erect houses or suppress them, observing the
norms relating to this matter laid down by the
136. The members of the community are
to be called together by the superior for meetings
at stated times, to unite their efforts in strengthening
the spiritual energy of their own community,
and to secure the progress of their apostolic
undertakings and make decisions relating to
137. a. The (vice)provincial statutes
must issue norms for establishing the government
of a community and its organization in keeping
with the different conditions in which communities
b. Matters which are left to the
decision of communities by the (vice)provincial
statutes, or in accordance with the decrees
of the (vice)provincial chapter, must be approved
by the (vice)provincial council.
138. a. The superior of a community must
be a perpetually professed priest and is designated
according to the norm of the general statutes.
b. Superiors of communities are to be designated
for a period of time determined in the general
139. The superior of a community must
first of all be a spiritual pastor and then
a rector and administrator. His chief duty is
to serve the community, so that it may be formed
and grow in Christ and that all, with united
effort, may devote themselves to the work of
He must likewise look upon himself as being
co-responsible, by reason of his office, for
the welfare of the whole province.
140. A vicar of the superior of the community
is to be designated according to the norm of
the general statutes. He takes the place of
the superior when he is absent or impeded, and
succeeds him in accordance with the norms of
the general statutes.
Art. 9: Co-operation between (Vice)provinces
141. Though each (vice)province carries
out its missionary work according to the needs
of people and places, it must always do so in
co-operation with the whole Congregation, so
that the stronger (vice)provinces come to the
assistance of the weaker ones.
142. Where several (vice)provinces are
faced with similar problems, especially in matters
relating to apostolic works and the formation
of members, it is much to be desired that they
work in co-operation. Matters of common interest
and concern should be reviewed in a spirit of
charity and mutual harmony. They should be discussed
in a spirit of friendship, with the object of
finding a common solution, and one that will
be in the best interests of the Church.
143. To further co-operation, the general
government should encourage inter-provincial
meetings, since it is its function to invigorate
and co-ordinate the missionary apostolate of
the whole Congregation.
The Temporal Goods
of the Congregation
Art. 10: Purpose of temporal Goods
144. a. The members of the Congregation
must use temporal goods for the purposes to
which it is allowed to direct them, namely,
to support themselves in a becoming way, to
carry out works of the sacred apostolate or
of charity, especially in favour of the poor,
and to meet the expenses connected with divine
b. Let them procure what is necessary for
their sustenance and work, but without worrying
too much about it, entrusting themselves to
the providence of their Father in heaven.
c. The right to dispose of temporal goods
belongs to superiors, councils and chapters
according to the norm of the constitutions and
statutes, always saving the common law.
Departure from the
145. Only the Supreme Pontiff or the
superior general can dispense from the temporary
or perpetual vows made in the Congregation;
and they are always considered to be made on
146. Members can be dismissed according
to the norm of common law.
When dismissal takes place, however, the vows
are dissolved when the Holy See has given confirmation
of the decree of dismissal; but in the case of
dismissal ipso jure, they are dissolved
after the declaration of the fact has been issued.
147. The decree of dismissal given according
to law is to be made known as soon as possible
to the member in question, who has the right
to make recourse to the Holy See, with suspensive
effect, within ten days.
148. Members who leave the Congregation
when the period of temporary vows has elapsed,
or after obtaining an indult of secularization
or laicization, or who have been dismissed from
it, cannot make any claims for services they
have rendered to the Congregation.
If, however, the one who has left or has been
dismissed is not able to support himself from
his own goods or by his own labour, the Congregation
has, in the meantime, the obligation to give him
charitable subsidy, according to the instructions
of the Holy See.
St. Alphonsus]; cf. SH 16 (1968), 400.
LG 48; AG 2. 35.
[Cf. Constitutiones et Regulae (Roma 1921), No.
GS 44; AG 10. 11. 17.
GS 11. 22. 41; AG 11; cf. DC 13.
Cf. AG 25; Cf. Const. et Reg. 1923, 42-48.
De vita contemplativa religiosorum (1980); cf.
LG 3. 44; PC 5; AG 24.
PC 13 [cf. Can 668 §4; Acta Cap. XX: 1985, 174].
GE 2; OT 11; PC 5. 8; AG 25.
AG 23; LG 12; PC 24.
[Can 646-648. 650. 653].
LG 13; GS 31. 75; PC 14.
[Cf. Can 596, 2. 618. 622].
PC 14; CD 16; LG 27.
PO 17 [Can 1254, 2].