Fr Provincial's first letter of 2017...
28th December, 2016
Dear Confreres and friends,
All good wishes for a very happy and blessed New Year. Once more, we have much to be grateful for during these past 12 months.
In particular I am grateful to God for the Professions and Ordinations which have taken place both in the Province and in the Region, and for the extraordinary amount of apostolic work undertaken by all of us. A special word of thanks must go to our elderly confreres who continue to be available to support our various ministries.
As we look ahead, many challenges are indeed present. Fr. Gabriel Maguire has been diagnosed with a serious illness and will have six months away from ministry in order to maximise the effect of the radiotherapy and chemotherapy he will receive. I know you will keep him in your prayers.
During that time, Frs. Frank Dickinson, Elias Gweme and Kieran Brady will do their best to keep the ministry in the parish alive and active. Fr. Maurice O'Mahony has also volunteered to go to Erdington as he will be working two days a week giving spiritual direction in Oscott College, and he is happy to support the mission of the parish.
Although this letter is being written before the end of the year you may not receive it until early January as I will be going to Hawkstone today until 2nd January in order to allow our two confreres there to have a short time away. We are again hopeful about a sale, and should we have a successful exchange of contracts, I will inform you.
Frs. Richard, Gerry and I will be visiting the communities of the Province beginning this coming Sunday in Kinnoull. This will give the members of the community the opportunity to discuss the various apostolates of the communities, their own personal situations and the overall situation in the Province. It will also be an opportunity to share about the General Chapter and its orientations and decisions.
As you are aware Fr Charles Randall was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ralph on 8th December in Clapham and celebrated his first Mass in the parish the following day. On 9th December he sat his "rigorosum" which he passed well and was appointed to minister in Bishop Eton as assistant priest in the parishes. I have written to the Ordinary for faculties. Early in January Fr Charles will go to Colombia for two weeks where he had his insertion year of studies. Since more than half of his family reside there, he will be able to celebrate Mass in several locations for the members of his extended family who were unable to attend the Ordination. I was grateful for the work of the student community around the days of the ordination as well as the usual warm hospitality afforded by the Clapham community.
Paul Murphy, working with Fr. Peter Morris, also organised a youth retreat in Kinnoull this month which was appreciated by all who participated, including our German volunteer, Jaspar, from Clapham. And I am sure that several of you have seen pictures of the ministry to the homeless that he and some younger people participated in during the month.
In Zimbabwe, two of the Kenyan students were ordained to the Diaconate earlier this month, and in the Province we have Fr. Caspar studying here in Margate and Fr. Elias ministering in Erdington. Fr. Tryvis has returned from his studies in Australia and is teaching at Holy Trinity College. Fr. William Guri continues with his doctoral studies at Loyola University in US. Fr. Richard and I will make a visitation of the Region in February.
Birthdays this month: Frs J. Doherty, 4th, (M. Brehl 7th), J. Casey 17th, J. Musendami 19th, G. Webster 26th, and Fr. M. Brehl our Superior General on 7th.
Once again I wish all - confreres, relatives, lay co-operators, benefactors and friends - good health and an abundance of grace for 2017.
In Christ the Redeemer,
Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.