" Oh! How great is the mercy of God in waiting for our repentance! "
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The Provincial writes 2nd Sept 2018...

provincialsletterhead

2nd September, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

As we move into the autumn, I hope that those who have been able to take a holiday have returned refreshed. I am hoping to have a break in October.

This coming week, Fr. Richard and I will be attending a meeting of Provincial Councils of Europe in Wittem, Holland. There, among other things, the proposed Apostolic Plan for the Conference will be discussed.

Also in the coming days, the Preparatory Commission for the Provincial Chapter will be sending out nomination sheets for the next Provincial Superior and also ballot papers for membership of the Provincial Chapter for the new quadrennium. Obviously with members of the Province and Region in many places, some time will be required for the return of the ballots. However, as in previous years, it will be accomplished, and I thank the members of the Commission for this work.

Obviously the scandal around the abuse of minors continues to be very much in the minds of everyone, and I had hoped that the recent visit of the Holy Father to Ireland would some way be a conduit of peace and healing. However, as we know the negative publicity has not abated.

I have been thinking much about the struggle and the awfulness of the situation after the more recent revelations, and I am sure we all feel rather impotent in terms of a proactive response. However, my own feeling is that this is a challenging time for us to support the Church - in no way to the detriment of the victims or survivors - but simply as the body of Christ. My analogy is that of the man in the story of the Good Samaritan lying by the side of the road bruised and battered: and sometimes the priests (or even the bishops) of the Church pass by, or actively add to the confusion and pain.

I am of the opinion that this is the time when perhaps we are challenged to pour the oil of our love, our forgiveness and our healing into the wounds of the Church - which includes all those that have been broken and wounded; because as Pope Francis has said, it is the whole body which is wounded, as well as the individual parts.

The challenge in Europe in terms of vocations remains; and this is true for every Religious Congregation. Nevertheless, I believe there are still people who will respond to the call and I thank the Vocations Teams for their ongoing and continued efforts to invite men to join our Province, Region and Congregation.

In Zimbabwe, five Aspirants were received, Brother Emerson made his Final Profession - to be followed soon by diaconate, and Frs. Albert Zindonda and George Hama were ordained in St. Augustine's church, Hatcliffe by Bishop Raymond. This is the church in which Bishop Raymond was himself ordained to the priesthood. God continues to bless the Congregation with apostles. Unexpectedly, I was able to be present, both on the day of Emerson's Profession last Saturday, and at the wonderful and vibrant celebration of the ordination of our Brothers yesterday.

A student from the Province of Madrid Br. Guillermo Rejas Thomas has joined the community in Tafara for his pastoral year. We wish him all the very best. Also next Tuesday, Frances Sibert from Bishop Eton parish and her niece Fiona will arrive in Zimbabwe to assist with the mission, and will remain there for three weeks. 

A book that I can recommend is "Saint Bernard's Three Course Banquet', by Bernard Bonowitz. The author is a convert from Judaism who was a Jesuit for nine years, and is now the Abbot of a community which is attracting an impressive number of young men. The book was actually a series of conferences he gave to the 'Juniors' in the monastery. It is on humility, charity and contemplation - and is very readable, and quite practical and down-to-earth.

Birthdays this month - besides St. Alphonsus - are: J. Clancy, 4th, M. Duxbury 5th, F. Allinson 8th, A. Zembe 13th, T. Buckley, 19th, T. Lemeyu 28th.

With prayers and best wishes,

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior