As we prepare for the first anniversary of Benedict XVI's election and the requisite flood of analyses chronicling what has been, as his first cardinal-creation termed it, a "serene and luminous" year, one thread is already quite clear: Papa loves the Redemptorists.
To date, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer -- a venerable group usually keen on shirking the spotlight -- has, by far, run the table among religious communities in receiving episcopal appointments from the hands of the German Pope. Since December alone, the Redemptorists have gotten five more, as Redemptorist priests have been named to dioceses in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Archeparch Ivor Vozniak, the new Metropolitan of Lviv (of the Ukrainians) is a Redemptorist, as are two other new hierarchs in the Ukrainian church who are among the world's youngest bishops: 43 year-old Auxiliary Bishop-elect Yaroslav Pryriz of Sambir and 39 year-old Auxiliary Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh of Kiev, who was ordained to the episcopacy last month.
Forty-nine year-old Redemptorist José Luiz Ferreira was ordained an auxiliary in the Brazilian mega-see of Fortaleza two weeks ago, and an American-educated member, Philip Banchong Chaiyara, who was ordained to the priesthood in New York in 1975, was named on Saturday to the diocese of Ubon Ratchathani in the Philippines.
I was chatting with a Redemptorist friend a couple days ago and joked that I really do have to return their calls now. Apparently, this glut of papal benevolence is the talk of the order, and who knows when it'll be coming Stateside.
Don't say you weren't forewarned.
Congrats to (Detroit-born) Superior General Fr Joe Tobin and all his good confreres. Somewhere up there, St. Alphonsus is smiling....