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News from Fr. Provincial

The Provincial writes - Jan 2019...

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18th January, 2019

Dear Confreres,

I ask your prayers for Zimbabwe and for our brethren there at this critical time.

You may aware that there are multiple reports of shootings, violence, looting and indiscriminate beatings.

The government has closed down all social media and we cannot contact the confreres by internet or telephone. 

The Zimbabwe Bishops' Conference has issued a statement, although they cannot get it out on the internet. Fr. General is also very aware of the situation and although on the way to World Youth Day in Panama, will communicate about the situation in the coming days.

In the meantime, I ask that you invite your parishioners, families and friends to pray for a resolution to the conflict in Zimbabwe and for peace.

I will obviously keep you updated if I get any news, and trust that all our confreres are safe.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior

Registered Charity Number: 252041 (England and Wales) SC039359 (Scotland)

Fr Provincial writes...Dec 2018

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31st December, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

From all accounts a very enjoyable Christmas has been celebrated in each of the communities of the Province. I appreciate that with the ministry, and also the efforts put into the community celebrations, a lot of the confreres are quite tired. I hope that people do get some rest and have the opportunity to enjoy the Octave of Christmas; and of course to continue reflecting on the wonderful exchange of God becoming one of us so that we could share his life - the mystery which entranced St. Alphonsus so profoundly.

In Kinnoull, we had Frs. Philip and Tom with us for Christmas day and the renewal of vows. On Christmas eve, Jim McManus had a health scare with one of his eyes, but after a visit to A & E in Perth and in Dundee and also the optician, he is now back to full health.

In Liverpool, Bishop Ralph joined the confreres who had just celebrated Jimmy Smale's 75th birthday. The two parishes kept the confreres very busy but they managed a worthy Christmas celebration.

The community in Erdington celebrated well, although Fr. Kieran had to be with his father who was unwell over Christmas. We keep his father, Gerry, in our prayers.

Clapham had very joyful celebrations in the church, in the refectory and in the common room. They look forward to welcoming some of the confreres from Zimbabwe who are coming for the Chapter.

Fr. Denis in Chawton celebrated Mass for Terry on Christmas Day; and his sister Ellen ensured that all were well fed!

The various communities in Zimbabwe celebrated in their own way, having shared a Regional festive meal together a few days before Christmas, at which Bishop Raymond was present.

In these days after Christmas some confreres will have the opportunity to get away for a break.

I know that you will all continue to pray for the Chapter which begins on the 7th of January. The Coordinator will be present together with the capitulars and other observers.

As we pray our Te Deum at the end of the year, I give thanks for the past quadrennium and for the kindness, generosity and cooperation of so many confreres, co workers, family members, friends and benefactors.

Birthdays: Frs J Doherty 4th, (M. Brehl 7th), J. Casey 17th, J. Musendami 19th, G. Webster 26th

I pray that 2019 will be a blessed year for each one of us. Happy New Year.

 

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior

Provincial's Letter November 2018...

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30th November 2018, Feast of St. Andrew

Dear Confreres and friends,

As we approach the first Sunday of Advent it is a good time to recall our Redemptorist tradition of preparing for the feast of the Incarnation. This is at the heart of our spirituality, and "making flesh"that is making Jesus truly present in today's society seems to be an even greater challenge than previously. How we reflect during this preparation time will impact on our day-to-day lives as well as our celebration of Christmas. St. Alphonsus wrote much material on this Advent season. In addition there is a plethora of classical works as well as our own Advent Extra which can provoke our thoughts and minds.

As I indicated in my letter last month, I am hoping to visit the communities in the coming week. The plan at present is to visit Fr. Barrie in Ripon on Tuesday 4thBarrie is struggling these days and is grateful for our prayers. I shall then go to the Bishop Eton for a meeting at about 6.00 in the evening of that day. After this I will go to Clapham on Wednesday where I hope to meet the community which includes the Students, in the afternoon around 4.30. I am hoping that Fr. Denis will be able to travel up from Chawton for this. On Thursday I will go to Birmingham and meet with the brethren there around midday. My meeting with the Kinnoull community, and those attached but ministering outside, will take place on the 20th of December in the afternoon. I trust that everyone has the documentation so that we can discuss the draft of the Apostolic Plan for Europe.

Fr Provincial writes...Oct 2018
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30th October, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

Once again we are entering the month of November and we recall our beloved dead. In our society it is a challenge not to be morbid when reflecting on this, and to celebrate death in a truly Christian sense. I think particularly of all those in our Province on whose shoulders we continue to build. I think of the confreres who went to Australia, to Africa, to Poland, and later on to the West Indies, to Canada and to New Zealand for the sake of the gospel; and of course those who have laboured in these Islands so assiduously and with such zeal.

As usual, may I remind you of the suffrages, and the four community Masses we celebrate for our deceased confreres, relatives and benefactors.

I recall some years ago sharing with you a quotation from St John of the Cross. Of course he has many about life and death; and in one, he reminds us that, "In the evening of our lives we will be judged only on love". The one I prefer, he wrote towards the end of his life when he said, "What will take place for me on the other side when all for me will be overturned into eternity, I do not know. I believe, I truly believe only that a great love awaits me". And I read recently that the North American Indians only asked two things at the end of life: "Did you bring joy? Did you find joy?"

Fr Provincial's Letter 30th September 2018...

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Dear confreres and friends,

As you are aware, we celebrate two significant feasts this coming month: on 15th, the feast of Saint Teresa the great Doctor of Prayer and so beloved by St. Alphonsus, and then the following day the feast of our own St. Gerard Majella. Each year I ask for prayers for all our Brothers - but especially those in the Province and in the Region. In a special way we remember Bro. Thomas who resides with Little Sisters, but is visited frequently by the confreres from Clapham. Let us also continue to pray for good vocations to this special way of living our Redemptorist vocation.

September has been a busy month and we have seen the ordination of two of our confreres in Zimbabwe. Bishop Raymond, who ordained Frs. Albert and George has been in Rome for the New Bishops' Initiation Course, and then moved on to Germany to visit some of the funding agencies. He hopes to be able to visit his family in England before returning to his diocese of Chinhoyi.

Also this month we have had many meetings. Most of these took place in Clapham, and it is always good to be able to say thank you for the hospitality shown by the community there. There are confreres from various parts of the world living there at the moment, and it is always truly an international community.

The Provincial writes...

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27th July, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

Tomorrow I leave for a retreat to 35 Presentation Brothers and so my August letter will arrive only after the first week.

I therefore take this opportunity to wish you all, confreres, friends, families and associates, every blessing for the feast of our founder St. Alphonsus on 1st August. May you be abundantly blessed.

I have just returned from Dublin and have been asked by the Redemptoristine Sisters to convey their gratitude for the many kind wishes sent by members of the Province on the death of Sr. Patrick, the last member of 'the Chudleigh community'. As you are aware, I have also thanked them for the great care they showed to Sr. Patrick during her final years with them. The funeral was a very blessed moment.

Fr Provincial's Letter June 2018...

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29th June 2018,

Dear Confreres and friends,

All good wishes on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul. I know it is the ordination anniversary of quite a few of the brethren. Also best wishes for tomorrow for the feast of Blessed Januarius Sarnelli; and of course yesterday we celebrated the Ukrainian Martyrs. So there is a plethora of celebrations.

 

I understand that the Novenas and Triduums in Clapham, Liverpool and Birmingham were all well attended. Many thanks to Fr. Tim Buckley who single-handedly preached the Novena in Clapham, to Fr. Charlie and Bros. Mike and Royston who preached in Liverpool, and to Fr. Peter for his work in Birmingham.

 

Fr Provincial's Letter 30th May 2018...

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30th May 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

As we move into the month of June we remember this is traditionally a month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Alphonsus, living in the mainstream of the French Oratarian school of Saint John Eudes, Cardinal Berule and the Jesuits, was steeped in this devotion. On 14th June we celebrate the feast of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus which is always held to be a Redemptorist feast, but seems less popular in this age.

When Pope Leo XIII celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of his priesthood the Catholics of the world had a collection for him. He used the donations for the building of the church which we staff at San Gioacchino near the Vatican where this devotion continues with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament each day. Leo's encyclical Annum Sacrum emphasises devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Eucharist. So happy Corpus Christi also.

In England and Wales we are building up to the ecclesial event of "Adoremus". Redemptorist Publications has produced much material on the Eucharist for this event. Many confreres have contributed and my little booklet on the Visits to the Blessed Sacrament adapted from St. Alphonsus, is now available for parishes and individuals.

Fr Provincial's Letter - May 2018...

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17th May, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

All good wishes for the feast of Pentecost and for the days that follow. Next week I shall be at the Conference of Religious Meeting in Swanwick. I hope to make a quick visit en route to Fr. Barrie O'Toole who has been undergoing treatment and is resting at the home of his sister, Pat. I also intend to visit the confreres in Erdington and Liverpool on my return.

Before the Extraordinary Visitation began, the EPC had a meeting. During that meeting I asked if it would be in order to convoke the Provincial Chapter for the next quadrennium and this was unanimously agreed. Therefore, and in  ccordance with our law: 

I convoke the next Provincial Chapter to assemble in Kinnoull, Perth on the evening of January 7th, 2019. The meeting is scheduled to last until lunch time on Friday January 11th, 2019.

The agenda will be sent before the Chapter. Its work will include discernment and action on the Conference Apostolic Plan as it relates to our Province and to the Conference, and also the election of a new Provincial government.

The EPC also appointed Frs. Tim Buckley and Andrew Burns to be responsible for the election process of capitulars and for nominations for the next Provincial Superior. They will co-opt a third person and the ballot papers will go out in September.

During the week I received a letter from the Superior General for all the confreres, written in the name of the General Government, and talking about good leadership and also good discernment. I will attach it with this letter for your reflection. 

I shall of course write at the end of the month. In the meantime please continue to remember all the apostolic work being carried out, and pray especially for our older and sick confreres.

Enjoy the feast.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior

Fr Provincial's May 2018 Letter...

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28th April, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

On Monday we shall begin the Extraordinary Visitation here in Kinnoull and I know that many of you will actively participate in it, while others will participate through prayer from the various communities. We will be joined by eight confreres from Ireland, two from Lebanon, two from Saint Clement's and one from Slovakia as well as some of our associates. I hope that we shall be able to sensitively review the decisions of the General Chapter and continue to see a way forward for the Province and for the Conference of Europe. On Thursday evening we shall have Mass and a celebration for our Jubilarians.

As we prepare for the month of May, I again recall the Marian thrust of St. Alphonsus and his May devotions, as well as those of Cardinal Newman which can be quite helpful.

I am sure you are all aware that last month the Holy Father produced an Apostolic Exhortation on 'The call to holiness in today's world' named Gaudete et Exultate. Whilst I do not find it as exciting and groundbreaking as Evangelii Gaudium, it does challenge us to reflect not only on our baptismal call to live the life of Jesus, but the ongoing challenge of maintaining and deepening this relationship.

Fr Provincial writes...Easter 2018...

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Holy Saturday, 2018, (31 st March)

Dear Confreres and friends,

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. He is risen!

In these days of Holy Week I have been preaching a retreat to the Sisters of Mercy's in Sunderland who have very fond memories of so many confreres at St. Benet's The foundation was made here in 1843 and I believe that the Sisters have achieved extraordinary work in this part of the North-East. Sadly their numbers are much diminished, but they continue as women of hope.

I have been reflecting on the Easter mystery and the empty tomb. Recently I was hearing of a spate of break-ins, and indeed more and more, we have to keep ourvehicles and doors locked. So Easter is a wonderful time to think of a break-out; the break-out of Jesus leaving the tomb and eventually walking with his disciples, and once again breaking bread with them. I pray that we can break out of any areas of darkness in our lives or, in the life of the Province and in turn, break the bread of our lives for one another and for the most abandoned.

The Provincial writes March 2018...

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7th March, 2018

Dear confreres and friends,

When I wrote to you on the 23rd of February giving you the update on the situation in Zimbabwe, and also the Nominations there, I said I would write again this week.

I have just completed preaching the 40 Hours Devotion in Bearsden and it was a most encouraging experience despite the snow and the difficulty of getting there. Returning to Kinnoull was even more challenging as I had a puncture on the motorway at 11 :30 PM! However as you can tell, I am in one piece.

I have just seen the proofs of a revised and shortened version of the Visits to the Blessed Sacrament which I have prepared for the Adoremus event which will take place in the coming months and culminate in a Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool in September.

I hope that Lent is going well. I am aware that there are several missions and retreats taking place in these days, as well as Lenten events in parishes and here in Kinnoull. In the spirit of St. Alphonsus and his great devotion to the passion of Jesus, I hope we are able to communicate this to people for whom and with whom we work.

 

Provincial's Letter and Appointments in Zimbabwe...

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16th February, 2018

Dear Confreres,

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2.42

Thank you for your characteristic hospitality during my visit here and for your openness in accepting appointments. I have already written to you about the appointment of Fr. Raymond Mupandasekwa as Bishop of Chinhoyi - and we shall celebrate together with Bishop Ralph and Fr. Richard Reid, our Vicar on April i h This has necessitated changes in the structure of the Region. We have sought the necessary permission from the General Government and from the local Ordinary.

The ORC had already made the attached appointments and communicated them to the OPC in London who confirmed them. However, a few words of clarification may be helpful.

Provincial's Letter Feb 2018...

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23rd February, 2018

Dear Confreres,

Just a brief note to wish you well in Lent and to let you have some information on my return from Zimbabwe. I shall write the Province letter at the beginning of Lent while I am preaching a Forty Hours Devotion in Bearsden!

The Visit to Zimbabwe was good. The rains poured for the first six days which was too late for the crops which have died, but is good for the water table. However, it meant that we had very little electricity - and therefore little corresponding internet availability.

Fr. Raymond was there for the beginning of the meeting, but then had to go off to deal with matters relating to his new appointment in Chinhoyi. He will go to Rome, Germany and also have a short visit to UK, leaving Zimbabwe on 1st March. Accordingly, this is the date on which the new administration in Zimbabwe will assume office. I know you will support them with your prayers.

Obviously the local Ordinary had to be considered, and so visits to the Nuncio and several other stakeholders had to take place; and so the changes were only finalisec) before I left. As you know, keeping confidentiality is a great challenge in this age of digital media, and so I am sending these to you as early as I could.

The confreres asked me specifically to express their gratitude for your kind support at every level over the years and feel very much part of the Province. They really feel your ongoing interest and encouragement, in what are often extremely difficult circumstances.

I shall provide you with more Province information in my letter in early March, but again remind you of the importance of attending the Extraordinary Visitation, as we have had enquires from members of other Units and would wish to give priority those of this Province.

I have just attended the 'wake' for Brain Dolan's mother and sent your prayers.

With best wishes for the feasts of St. Clement, St. Joseph and the Annunciation.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald McAinsh, C.Ss.R

Provincial Superior

Fr Provincial writes 31st January 2018...

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31st January 2018

 

Dear Confreres and friends,

 

I hope this will reach you for 2nd February, the day set apart for a focus on the Consecrated Life. The Clapham community is hosting the local Religious, and several of the confreres in Kinnoull will attend the Diocesan celebrations for this special day.

Today the OPC finished the visits to the communities. These were intended to really be low-key visits, with the opportunity to meet each confrere and to convey to those who could not attend the Province Meeting, a sense of what occurred both in terms of the spirit and the input.

I once again thank the Kinnoull community for hosting the meeting and for the many confreres who attended, including those from Zimbabwe. I can say without hesitation that it was a very blessed time, and a meeting in which there was "genuine sharing on the human and spiritual level" to quote Constitution 21, which is the first Constitution of Chapter 2 on The Apostolic Community.

This quality of interaction was in a large measure due to the skills of Fr. Jack Kingsbury the Coordinator of North America who facilitated the meeting, and enabled us to express our hopes and our fears in a very supportive environment. It was also a very good preparation for the forthcoming Extraordinary Visitation which will take place at the end of April, and to which I once again invite each one.

Fr Provincial's Final Letter of 2017...

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30th December, 2017

Dear Confreres and friends,


I hope that everyone has enjoyed the Christmas season and has been able to have some rest. Usually at this time of year I invite you to celebrate our Te Deum. During my first years on the Congregation, we recited this twice a day as we went in procession from the refectory to the church, although I confess it never meant much to me. In recent years, reading it and praying it in English, I now see it as a wonderful prayer, because it contains what is at the heart of prayer - namely praise and thanksgiving.

So my Te Deum for 2017 first of all to gives praise to God for all the confreres in the Province and in the Region, for our Redemptorist co-workers and those so closely associated with our spirituality, and also our benefactors.

Secondly, I would like to praise those confreres who have so diligently lived our Redemptorist charism during the year, whether it be in active ministry, or by their prayer and suffering.

I also want to give thanks and to express my gratitude for the great spirit of cooperation that is prevalent in the Province and in the Region, and for the efforts people have made to go that extra mile to make our communities places which are our homes, but also places of welcome for a variety of confreres from other parts of the world, for retreatants, friends and relatives. A big thank you to everyone, because I know that many have gone that extra mile in a quiet and unobtrusive way.

The big news in this letter is that today at noon, Rome time, an announcement will be made from the Vatican that our confrere, Fr. Raymond Mupandasekwa, has been nominated by Pope Francis as Bishop of Chinhoyi in Zimbabwe. This is of course a great honour for Fr. Raymond, for our Region and our Province and a blessing for the priests, Religious arid laity in the Diocese of Chinhoyi.