" That chosen 'Ark' of salvation, free from the common shipwreck of sin. "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Fr Provincial writes...Easter 2018...

provincialsletterhead

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.

During Lent there has been an extraordinary amount of apostolic work achieved in our parishes and in our retreat centre, in retreats and in the parish missions. In fact at one stage Frs. Kieran Brady, Tom McCarte and Elias Gweme were preaching amission in Croydon, whilst Frs. Jim McManus and Peter Morris were also preaching a mission in Dunblane, and Fr. Gerry Mulligan and I were engaged on a mission in St John's, Perth. These are always extraordinary sources of grace and new life for so many people.

I am aware that the next few days will be very heavy for our parish staff and I hope that everyone will be able to take some rest after Easter.

In Chawton , we sadly lost Pauline one of our staff members to cancer, and Fr. Denis conducted a very sensitive service for the staff in Saint Clement's House. The team there continue to work on the material for Adoremus which is now almost ready for printing.

In Clapham, I had a good visit recently. Father Jack struggles on, despite what he describes as his tired heart. He continues to read and to write. Father George is making a good recovery and Bro. Thomas who is with the Little Sisters, is well cared for. Frs. Bev and Michael McGreevy continue to do the crossword each day and to be an edifying presence in the community. When I start to write like this I think of all the others in the community who contribute so much, and I would like to thank the Rector and community for the celebration we had on the feast of St. Clement to honour Fr. Raymond before he returned to Zimbabwe his episcopal ordination. The ordination will take place on the 7th of April and I ask you to pray for Raymond. Fr. Richard and I will be present, and Bishop Ralph will also come in the middle of the week to be with us. Two days beforehand the Region has arranged a celebration of Thanksgiving for Father Raymond, and also to celebrate the 25 years of Brother Benjamin's presence in the community. In Africa, the celebration is always taken from the day in which they gave themselves to God, that is the day of entry - and I suspect because they do not make first Profession until at least the end of their fifth year in the community. Father William Guri is also in this sense a Jubilarian, and the Region will celebrate this when he returns from his studies.

The day after the Jubilee celebration, Fr. Richard and I have to return as we are due to be present with Fr. Charlie Corrigan at a meeting of the formators of Europe in Trois Epis. Both will be attending as part of our Formation Secretariat, and I will be giving some input as a member of the Conference Formation Secretariat. At present Fr. Charlie has quite a deep chest infection and so we pray for his speedy recovery and his presence at the meeting.

In Birmingham, Fr. Gabby continues to make progress, and when I spoke to him last week he told me that he had been to the Abbey church for the feast of St. Clement; so this is indeed progress after a long struggle.

There have also been developments in Bishop Eton. Father Tony Hunt's other foot has given cause for concern and the community is making a novena to Fr. Bernard Lubienski who made his novitiate in Bishop Eton and who later ministered there. I am also happy to report that the community has been able to secure the services of a male nurse who will come into the monastery three days a week with the title of "Community Advisor for Health and Well-Being". He also works with the Archdiocese and so has a knowledge and sense of the needs of our men. I am truly grateful for this important initiative. Some of the other confreres there are also facing health challenges and we continue to hold them in our prayers.

In these days, the Holy Week retreat at Kinnoull is being preached by members of the community and it will conclude on Easter Sunday morning. Groups and individuals have continued to participate in courses and retreats throughout Lent.

 

Please also remember in your prayers Mrs. Kate Barrance whose brother Brian died during the week. I have offered Mass of the report of his soul, and sent our condolences to Kate and Tony.

Sr. Maureen, who ministered for some years in Kinnoull has been. very unwell as many of you know. However, when I phoned her convent this week, I was told that she has been moved from the high dependency unit to a general ward, and the Sisters say that she is making good progress. Please ~ontinue to keep her in your prayers.

The Extraordinary Visitation of the Province takes place at the end of April as you all know, and I am sending once again to the Rectors some information about the Visit as well as the material for the community gathering which is to precede it in every community. Here some specific questions have to be answered.

The Visitation is slightly over subscribed as we are having confreres from some other Units, and it may be necessary for one or two to stay in the Isle of Skye - that is the hotel, and not the island! In addition we will have at least two or three lay partners present.

Birthdays this month: Frs E. Gweme 6th, D. O'Toole 6th, F. Dickinson 10th, B. Manyenga 19th, Bp R. Mupandasekwa 28th, Frs T. McCarte 29th, K. Macharaga 29th.

I have just received a letter from the Provincial of Warsaw who was grateful for our greetings to their Province at the announcement of the heroic virtues of Fr. Bernard Lubienski and he is suggesting a joint approach on the work of his cause, since Fr. Bernard began his Redemptorist Life in Liverpool, made his Second Novitiate in Perth and ministered in Clapham. It is a kind offer which we in the Province shall certainly accept - and of course the Bishop Eton community have already begun with their prayers.

I again wish each one the peace of the risen Christ in our hearts, in our communities

and among our families and friends.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior