Toronto's Fr. Michael Brehl, pictured in 2009, has been re-elected as Superior General of the Congregation of Most Holy Redeemer. Register file photo

Toronto priest re-elected head of Redemptorists

  • November 10, 2016

Toronto's Fr. Michael Brehl has earned a resounding vote to confidence from his fellow Redemptorists, who have given him another six-year term as Superior General of the Congregation of Most Holy Redeemer.

This will be Brehl's second term as the worldwide head of the Redemptorists, ending in 2022. He was first elected in 2009 and was given a one-year extension after the term ended.

Voting took place at the Redemptorist Center Pattaya in Thailand on Nov. 9. His election came in the first round of voting, with 92 of the 101 votes favouring the Toronto-born priest.

“(Receiving) the overwhelming majority of votes means that he is seen as the right person for the job,” said Fr. Mark Miller, Edmonton-Toronto provincial superior. “We have confidence in his continuing leadership.”

Miller, who responded via e-mail from Thailand, continued by saying that this sentiment is “shared by all the General Chapter delegates,” who are over-joyed by their election results.

Brehl, 61, entered the priesthood on March 3, 1980 and served almost exclusively in the order's Toronto province before taking on his current role.

In 2002 he became the second provincial superior of the Redemptorists' Edmonton-Toronto Province, an amalgamation of the order's two English Canadian provinces which took place in 1997.

During this time Brehl became increasingly involved with the order's global affairs while stressing the importance of the order's mission focus.

“Fr. Brehl focused the attention of Redemptorists world-wide on the importance of the mission – which is to bring Good News to the poor and most abandoned,” said Miller. “We have often slipped away from this mission as we get settled into places that used to be for the poor. Today every ministry is renewing itself by a focus on the mission.”

Doing so means “standing with the poor, educating young people in a secular society, building communities of faith with a great commitment to social justice,” he added.

Adapting to the “shrinking of manpower” within the order, Brehl has also worked to increase and strengthen partnerships with lay associations.

The Redemptorists were founded in Italy in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori and operate in more than 75 countries with over 5,300 members. In Toronto the order looks after St. Patrick Parish, which houses the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help, on McCaul Street.

(Updated Nov. 10, 2016 at 13:50. This story was originally published Nov. 9, 2016 at 16:00)

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