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I grew up in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and my family was a member of St. Alphonsus Church, a Redemptorist parish. In late summer 1978, one of our parish priests, Father James Nugent, convinced me to attend Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, Wisconsin. HRC was a college-level seminary run by the priests and brothers of the St. Louis Province (now known as the Denver Province) of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R, or "Congregation Sanctissimi Redemptoris "), the Redemptorists. Although I only spent a year at HRC, and I'm no longer a member of a Redemptorist-run parish, my year at HRC made an indelible and long-lasting impression on me.

While I was at HRC, I obtained a copy of a 96-page booklet entitled "Manual of Common Prayers for the Baltimore and St. Louis Provinces." The manual was published by Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, New York, which was the Redemptorist's major, or graduate-level, seminary. After spending four years at HRC and one year in the Novitiate, you'd go on to take a Master of Divinity degree from "the Mount." You would then be ordained a priest.

Sadly, HRC and the Mount no longer exist as seminaries because of sharp enrollment declines that have occurred during the last 20 years. When I was at HRC, there were 48 undergraduate students, excluding those at the Novitiate in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. But HRC closed its doors in 1985, only six years after I left. According to the Denver province's Web site, "the handwriting had already been on the wall for some time. There was only one post-novitiate student for the Redemptorists. Most of the rest of the student body were night-class students."

Pre-novitiate Redemptorist seminarians are now trained at the St. John Neumann House at St. Louis University. The Mount is now a retreat center, and the major seminarians are trained at Washington Theological Union in D.C.

As a tribute the Redemptorists, I hope to eventually put the whole Manual on this Web site.

Prayers Introduction

Morning Prayers:

Midday Prayers

Novena Prayers

Table Prayers

Prayers at Domestic Meetings

Evening Prayers

Night Prayers

Prayers for the Renewal of Life

Solemn Renewal of Vows

Prayers for Canonical Visitation

Service for the Installation of Provincial and Local Sup

Suffrages for the Deceased


There is no need to establish the necessity of prayer for us as Christians or religious. All we need do is dwell on the words of St. Alphonsus: "He who prays is certainly saved. He who prays not is certainly damned." (1). Our Constitution and Statutes remind us that "In addition to liturgical prayer, the members have the right and duty to devote every day at least an hour to other forms of prayer" (2). They go on to emphasize the need for meditation: "With the object of participating with more depth and with greater fruit in the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist and the liturgical life, the confreres, both in the religious house and outside of it, shall attach the greatest importance to mental prayer (cf. Matt. 6:6). They shall direct it especially to the mysteries of the Redemption" (3). "Since it is their duty to preach the Word of God, they must be constantly nourished on it, and apply themselves constantly to meditation on the mystery of salvation" (4). "So as to share truly the love the Son bears to his Father and to men, they shall cultivate the spirit of contemplation. This latter gives increase and imparts strength to their faith. In this way they are enabled to see God in the persons they meet with and in the happenings of everyday life. They can see in its true light his plan of salvation, and in fine they are able to distinguish that which is real from deceitful appearances." (5).

They emphasize the need for silence and solitude: "Almost every month, for one day, and annually for eight says, they shall give themselves more completely to interior communion with God through means of the Spiritual Exercises." (6). And they point out that we must have great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament: "Since the Eucharistic Mystery is an expression of the community, sustains it and fosters its growth, it is very desirable that it be concelebrated, or be offered with community participation." In addition, the confreres shall have much at heart daily conversation with Christ our Lord in thanksgiving after Communion and in visits and personal devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist." (7).

While these statements can be said to stress the individual's need for prayer, prayer itself cannot however remain simply a personal matters in one's relationship with God. It must involve others both in its content and in its form. St. James tells us that we must "pray for one another" (Jas. 5:16). Our Constitution and Statutes remind us that although at times it will be impossible to preach the Gospel directly or completely, still we must give witness to the charity of Christ, in part through prayer (8). They see the prayer-life of the aged and sick confreres as a source of inspiration for the younger members of the Congregation (9). And they call on us to pray continually for vocations (10).

Prayer must have expression under the aspect of community if it is to find its origin and growth, if it is to induce us to internal prayer and its expression. Pius XII has said that while the duty to pray "is incumbent first of all on men as individuals... it also binds the whole community together by mutual social ties" (11). Christ's call to "pray to your Father in secret" (Matt. 6:6) must therefore be tempered with a realization that we are a community. It is for this reason that Paul exhorts "that with one heart and voice you may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:6). This community aspect is emphasized in our own Rule: "Since the members must live and work in community, they shall come together for prayers in common" (12), and "Since the Eucharistic Mystery is an expression of the community, sustains it and fosters its growth, it is very desirable that it be concelebrated, or be offered with community participation" (13).

It has been written that, "Jesus wishes us to pray as a people. 'In this manner therefore shall you pray: Our Father who are in heaven...'" (Matt. 6:9). "We cannot fulfill our calling as Christians by isolating ourselves from our fellow-man in prayer" (14). It can be added that we cannot fulfill our calling as Redemptorists by isolating ourselves from our parishioners in prayer, since we are called to be signs and witnesses before men (15). The "community" aspect of prayer must in some way touch the members of the parish as well as the members of the Congregation. The priests, the Brothers, and the laity must become one in spirit as well as one in locale. Where possible, then, the members of the Congregation should attempt to involve the people of the parish in their prayer-life in the church and inviting parishioners to attend and actively participate.


*Used with the permission of the Redemptorists.

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Created on August 7, 2001, updated on August 25, 2004.