Redemptoris Mater (Latin: "Mother of the Redeemer") is the name for specific missionary seminaries, that were inspired by the Roman Catholic way of life of the Neocatechumenal Way. These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with more than 1,500 seminarians. More than 1,200 graduates of these seminaries have been ordained to the priesthood.
Redemptoris Mater Seminaries are officially described as having a direct relationship to the Neocatechumenal Way, as a Way of maturing towards an adult faith: this Way prepares and awakens its vocations in many young people before they enter the seminary. It accompanies them during their time of formation; once ordained as presbyters it continues to sustain them in their permanent formation within the Neocatechumenal Way, which then becomes a means of evangelisation for the ‘far away’, an instrument for the "implantatio ecclesiae", through the presence of families that accompany them and help them in their mission.
These diocesan seminaries are presented as a fruit of the Second Vatican Council as well as a fruit of the prophetical vision of Pope John Paul II and accept only priestly vocations coming from the Neocatechumenal Way. The idea to establish these seminaries started in Rome, the diocese of the Holy Father, to establish a seminary with these characteristics:
Today, 75 Redemptoris Mater Seminaries have been started in the world, which have led to ordain more than 1200 priests.
In April 2008, the Japanese Bishops' Conference sent a delegation to discuss with Pope Benedict XVI "the serious problem" they are having with the Neocatechumenal Way and its seminary in Takamatsu diocese. Peter Takeo Okada, Archbishop of Tokyo, said that "in the small Catholic Church of Japan, the powerful sect-like activity of Way members is divisive and confrontational. It has caused sharp painful division and strife within the Church. We are struggling with all our strength to overcome the problem but feel that if a solution is to be found, the consideration of Your Holiness for the Church in Japan will be of the utmost importance and direly needed". The Bishops told the Pope that they are having "irreconcilable problems with the Neo-Catechumenate".
The Holy Father in response made the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Japan a Pontifical Seminary directly administered by Rome.