" Have you ever seriously reflected what those words mean, a God to be made man, and to die for thee? "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Fr Provincial writes...Oct 2018

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?"

I have just returned from the European meeting in Bratislava at which Bro. Michael Duxbury was present representing the Brothers of Europe. We flew to Vienna where we met the Irish confreres and were welcomed by Fr. Dominic O'Toole who was a notary at the meeting. At the close of the meeting we returned to Vienna where I was invited to preach at the parish for the English speaking community which has grown considerably in the past year. Dominic appears to be very fulfilled.

As for the meeting itself, the main work was the presentation of the proposed Apostolic and Restructuring Plan for the Conference of Europe. During the days we were presented with a draft on which we worked, and also with some concrete proposals. I had hoped to come round to all the communities this week to present these to you, but the final draft has not reached me yet. Accordingly, I will communicate with the local Superiors to find a suitable date so that I can communicate the contents of the plan in person, and also some of the proposed outcomes which will have to be also discussed at the Provincial Chapter of each Unit.

As you will be aware the Sunday nearest 9th November, which is our Foundation day, has been set aside by Fr. General as the day of prayer for missionary vocations. This year the date is the 11 th of November, and I have sent to each Superior and parish priest the documentation and the posters. It is recommended that there is also a collection for our Solidarity Fund on this day.

From around the Province we see that much apostolic work continues to be done. In Kinnoull, the Seven Week Course began last week; and also missions, retreats and supplies continue.

The Bishop Eton parishes remain very alive, but with illness there is considerable pressure on those who are available for ministry. Barrie O'Toole continues to have the support of his sister, Pat and his family, as well as nurses who come in each day. I am in phone contact with Barrie.

When I was at the Jubilee of Fr. Gabriel Maguire in Birmingham, I could see that he had made a huge amount of progress in terms of his health; but he still has a long way to go to return to full health. However he does receive great support from the community and the parishioners.

And in Clapham, visitors continue to be a regular feature of the life of the community, while the parish ministry is supported by all the members of the community. Again, there is the challenge present in terms of ageing and incapacity.

Redemptorist Publications continues to strategise both in terms of new publications and a renewed business plan.

Zimbabwe is going through a very, very difficult time. There is little fuel in the country and confreres are getting up at 3 o'clock in the morning and queuing for hours. In addition it is impossible to make financial transactions, and the banks continue to limit withdrawals to $50 a day. Brother Benjamin and all the confreres in the Region are experiencing a very trying time, and I pray for them they may pass through this extremely challenging period ..

With the closing of the Synod on Youth, at which Fr. General and Bishop Ralph were present, we are challenged to rethink our lives not only with regard to young people, but with regard to the role of women in the Church. Pope Francis has already asked us to begin this process. I read recently, although I cannot authenticate it, that Cardinal Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, said of Pope Francis: "He thinks like a Jesuit, he lives like a Franciscan, he wears white like a Dominican, and he preaches like a Redemptorist"! Certainly his ongoing accent on compassion and mercy are very reminiscent of St.Alphonsus.

Book recommendation this month is pending as I have just began a promising book on theology and change, and I am also re-reading the Life of St. Paul by Tom Wright and St. Bernard's Three Course Banquet by Bernard Bonowitz. Both are well worth the effort.

As you will know, Fr. General sent possible prayer options for communities before the Chapters and Elections and I will re-send these to communities. Here is the prayer for Option 2 which perhaps communities can pray at Morning or Evening Prayer:"0 God who desires that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, turn our hearts towards you. You have delivered us from darkness with the gift of faith, and called us to the Redemptorist Congregation. Help us always to conform to your holy will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Birthdays: 18th Fr B. O'Toole & Br W. McDermott, 23rd Fr. F Kunaka, 24th Fr B. Russell.

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior