" He who desires to obey the divine call must firmly resolve to follow it, and that as soon as possible. "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Fr Provincial's Letter Oct 2017...

provincialsletterhead

1st October, 2018

Dear Confreres and friends,

September has been a very busy month for many of us. I already wrote to you about the Third Phase of the General Chapter which was held here in Kinnoull, and also the Assembly of the Conference of Europe.

To expand further, the Third Phase looked at ways of implementing the decisions of the Canonical Phase of the Chapter in Thailand in order to renew our apostolic life. Topics covered included: the ongoing challenge of possible reconfiguration, prioritising ministry in Albania, networking within the Conference and with other Conferences, and the possibility of organising a meeting of European lay Redemptorist Associates or coworkers. A Commission is to be set up to prepare an Apostolic Plan for the Conference. This plan will be presented to the Conference in November 2018.

Towards the end of the meeting, the General Government announced dates of an Extraordinary Visitation of the Congregation by locations.

I had already also sent you information about the Conference meeting at which names were forwarded for a new Coordinator. We also received reports from several Secretariats and fixed the next Assembly meeting for Bratislava in 2018.

As you will recall from my last letter, we have arranged a Province meeting in January under the guidance of Fr. Jack to Kingsbury, the Coordinator of North America, to discuss restructuring. I remind you that the venue is Kinnoull and the dates are: January 7th (arrival) until January 12th (departure). Pease try and attend this gathering.

Also in my last letter I advised you that we had secured the services of Fr. Kevin O'Neil to preach our Province retreat at the end of April/beginning of May.

However, at the conclusion of the Third Phase we were advised that dates for the Extraordinary Visitation had been arranged, and the date designated for the London Province was the week before the proposed retreat. It would obviously be impossible for confreres to be away from our ministries and the care for the elderly in our communities for two consecutive weeks. In addition Kinnoull is already booked for the designated week of the Extraordinary Visitation.

So the only option it seemed was to ask that the date of the Visitation be changed to the following week. This has been accepted, and I have written to Fr. Kevin O'Neil to apologise for the cancellation of the retreat.

In visiting confreres recently, I have been asked about the rationale and content ot'this Extraordinary Visitation. At this stage I am unable to give any concrete details. What I can say is that the General Government wishes to visit every Province to see how the decisions of the General Chapter can be implemented. In reality there will be no Visits to individual communities, and all confreres will have to make their way to one location, which in our case will be Kinnoull. Dates: 30th April (arrival) - 4th May (departure). I have already asked some of our missioners if they can change the dates of their apostolic work to attend. There is also the opportunity to attend the Visitation in the Dublin Province or in other parts of Europe. I hope to be able to give you more details over the next few months, but I thought it was only appropriate to inform you that the Province retreat will be cancelled. I also hope that as many as possible will be able to attend this gathering. It may be that members from other Units will also join us.

Moving to other topics, I was in Liguori recently where I gave a retreat, and also was able to have discussions on behalf of Redemptorist Publications. This week we had the AGM of RP where the Trustees were able to hear the hopes and difficulties that lie head. The Catholic publishing world is really challenged in these days.

Whilst I was in Chawton, Fr. Richard and I were able to visit Fr. Terry Creech who remains in Winchester hospital, and is still quite unwell. Please keep Terry in your prayers. Fr. Richard and I were also able to visit Fr. Frank Allinson in Kiln Green, and found him in surprisingly good health after his recent hospital stay.

On the 29th September, accompanied by our own students and also Bros. Marek from Slovakia and Anton from Vienna-Munich, and the Prefect of Students, Fr. Corrigan, we travelled to Aylesford. I was the keynote presenter at a day for the Religious of the Archdiocese of Southwark. It was great to see the Archbishop and auxiliary Bishop present for the whole day, and over 100 Religious. The feedback indicates that it was a blessed time both Redemptorists and other Congregations.

Also this weekend we had the second exploratory meeting for the Associates led by Fr. Maurice. It was held in Rugby and seven people attended. Marie Hogg who has been unwell was unable to attend and I ask your prayers for her swift recovery. Fr. Maurice heads off to Canada today to attend a course on spiritual direction as the final part of his sabbatical experience.

This coming week I hope to be in Erdington for an overnight stay and have the opportunity of seeing Fr. Gabriel and the community. Gabriel remains in treatment, but optimistic as usual. I shall also have the opportunity to see the confreres in Liverpool. Both Fr. Andrew and Fr. Tim assure me that everyone is well in Bishop Eton.

The older confreres in Clapham remain in good spirits. Frs. Bev and Michael McGreevy continue to do the crossword each day; Fr. George is making a reasonable recovery and Fr. Jack continues his work in the archives, while Bro. Thomas remains content in the Little Sisters. Please continue to pray for the Student Community. We have one or two men interested, but we will proceed slowly.

Every good wish to our Brothers in the Province and in the Region for the feast of St. Gerard on the 16th. The contribution of the Brothers to our life and ministry since the inception of the Congregation has been so very important, and I express our gratitude to God and also to each one, for their presence at the heart of the Congregation.

I did announce the appointment of Fr. Johannes Romelt as Coordinator and I wrote to him on behalf of the Province assuring him of our prayers. This is a good occasion once again to express our gratitude to Fr. Jacek Zdrzalek for his dedication, hard work and support of our Province over the past seven years. We pray that his future ministry will be blessed.

During the month, a Vocations Discernment meeting was held in Kinnoull and the team of Frs. Richard, Peter and Charles facilitated it. This was followed by a Missioners' meeting, which I am told was really successful; so thanks to Fr. Kieran for organising it. Let's hope we can continue to have opportunities to prioritise in this very special area of own ministry which has been so important since the initiation of the Province.

Congratulation once again to Brothers Albert and George who made Perpetual Profession in Zimbabwe on 23rd September. Fr. Dominic will return to Ghana for a few weeks to get his residence permit sorted out. In general there is a financial crisis in Zimbabwe, so please keep the confreres and all the people in your prayers.

Denis McBride and Oliver Keyes will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of their Profession on 16th . Many congratulations and prayers.

Birthdays this month: K. Temba 5th , M. Gay 1yth, M. Creech, 18th , E. Makova 23rd and C. Madandi, 31 st .

I conclude with a short thought on prayer from St. Teresa whose feast is on 15th and who was so special to St. Alphonsus: "No matter how quietly we whisper, God will always hear our prayer". We all know the great stress Alphonsus placed on personal prayer. Let us strive to be people of prayer in the mould of our founder and his patroness.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior

PS. If you want a light but good read, I am just finishing "Trapped in Paradise" which is the story of four Sisters from California who were missioned to a remote island in Papua New Guinea in 1940 and their subsequent difficulties after Pearl Harbour and the Japanese invasion of the island. It is a charming story of endurance and fidelity - and of course, a reminder of a bygone age for Religious Life.