" The Blessed Mother has appeared to me and told me to become a missionary. "
Bl Francis Xavier Seelos C.Ss.R
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Fr Provincial writes 31st January 2018...


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.


During our visits to the communities we were able to see some of our older confreres and to visit Fr. Tony Hunt in a convalescent facility as he prepares to return to the community at Bishop Eton. He has returned on one occasion with a care team to see what provisions need to be put in place in order to make his stay feasible for him and for the community. While we were there, sadly Tony's nephew Anthony had an accident and died the next day. We offer our condolences to his parents Fred and Greta, and to all the family.

In Birmingham we were able to see Fr. Gabby and he continues to make good progress. He has now commenced a programme of physiotherapy and hopefully he will grow stronger each day.

In Clapham it was good to see some of the confreres back on their feet although Fr. Jack continues to be challenged with his heart, and Fr. George is in the process of ongoing medical consultation for his own cardiac condition. We had a lovely evening with the students and the formed community when we said farewell to Bro. Marek who returned the next day to Slovakia after an eight month stay with us - for which he expressed great gratitude.

In Chawton we were able to visit Fr. Terry in the care home, and I am happy to report that he has settled and is well. We also bade farewell to Bro. Richard who has returned to South Africa this week. Fr. Denis has found him to be a most amenable companion.

In the Kinnoull community we are graced with the presence of two young Redemptoristine Sisters from Dublin who are making a retreat and participating in a course. The community here is small, but very welcoming of guests and fulfilling an outreach in terms of missions, retreats and supplies - and well as the ministry in the monastery.

Next week on 5th I go to Zimbabwe for a visit and for the annual board meeting of Holy Trinity College. With the appointment of Fr. Raymond as Bishop of Chinhoyi, the ORC in Zimbabwe has reflected at this in terms of future leadership, as well as the implications for local ministry. The OPC here has mandated me to have a full discussion with the Council there when I arrive, and I will keep you updated with the developments. Bishop Elect Raymond will be ordained to the episcopate in Chinhoyi on the 7th of April and both Fr. Richard and I will be present, and represent the Province. Bishop Ralph hopes to attend, but he has previous commitments and is still trying to see how his presence will be possible. Please keep Bishop Elect Raymond and the members of the Region in your prayers.

On the 16th of February, the Clapham community will host a Festival of Remembrance for the chaplains of the London Province who served in the First and Second World Wars. Much of the research has been done by Bro. Christopher Reynolds and he has produced a manuscript for which I am very grateful, and which I hope will find its way into a small book on these valiant men.

When we were in Clapham, the Formation Secretariat met for a short session and during the meeting we decided to recommend to the OPC that Christopher will make his novitiate in Zimbabwe this coming July. Please remember him and our other students, and also those who appear to be interested in joining us, in your prayers.

Redemptorist Publications is getting geared up for the forthcoming initiative of the bishops of England and Wales called Adoremus and are producing quality literature for this. I have just sent in a simplified adaptation of the Visits Blessed Sacrament of St. Alphonsus and this this will form part of the Redemptorist contribution to this unique Eucharistic moment, which will culminate in a national event in Liverpool in September.

One of the speakers will be Bishop Robert Barron who is an outstanding speaker and evangelist. At the Province meeting we were asked if there were any areas of interest we would like to pursue and I chose trying to discover where the marketplace is in terms of meeting those in need of evangelisation. Consequently I am just finishing the book, To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age.

We shall shortly enter into the season of Lent and so I have another book which I can suggest. Is a gem of a book by Fr. James McCaffrey called The Way of the Carmelites A Prayer Journey through Lent. Although there is at th,e beginning an accent on the Carmelite way of prayer - which in many senses St. Alphonsus adopted - the book goes on to develop themes for Lent. Chapter 5, His Heart an Open Wound is about "the love that leads to Calvary", and I have found it very helpful. I certainly hope that each one of us will be able to enter into the spirit of the forty days of Lent and deepen our relationship with Jesus.

I forgot to mention that Fr. Raymond has to go to Rome and also to Germany and will be in the Province for a couple of days in March, although I am not sure he will be able to visit many of the houses; but he hopes to make his Episcopal Ordination retreat at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey; please remember him also.

Fr. Ed Hone has also written to say that his mother Bridget is in her final days of life. She is being cared for by her daughters who are nurses and by her devoted husband, Godfrey. I assured Ed of our prayers for each member of the family - and a special prayer for him - at this challenging time.

Birthdays this month: D. Nyamuronda 2nd , P. Jones 4th , D. Keegan 14th , G. Mubayiwa 15th , M. Henesy 24th .

We also have our fair share of Jubilarians this year and although we did honour them during the Province meeting, we hope to have a more expansive celebration during the Extraordinary Visitation. I attach a list, and if I have omitted anyone, besides begging pardon, I would be grateful if I could be informed.

I have a tight schedule with apostolic work at the end of February and into March including a Quarantore, a Mission with Fr. Gerry Mulligan and a short workshop for the confreres of Extra Partiam. However, I will try and send a brief letter with updates from Zimbabwe. In the meantime, please keep all the apostolic work of the Province and the Region in your prayers.

With all good wishes for a blessed Lent,

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior



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