" The Infant Jesus, far from being sorrowful at this proposal, is pleased at it, accepts it with love, and exults in it! "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
  • main
  • main2
  • main3
  • main4
  • main5
  • main6
  • main7
  • main8
  • main9
  • main12
  • main14
  • main15
  • main16
  • main17
  • main19
  • main20
  • vocations7
  • CSsR Voc Pic

Fr Provincial writes August 2019...


3rd August, 2019

Dear Confreres and friends,

My greetings for the feast St. Alphonsus are a little late since I have been in Nairobi at a meeting of the Conference of Africa. However I wish to assure you that I prayed for each one of you and continue to hold the Province in my prayers.

At the meeting we were talking about our Redemptorist life and our mission, and it strikes me always that our first mission is to engage in an actual encounter with Jesus; and I am also aware that this is one of the most challenging aspects of our apostolic life. You will know that I like to quote the letter St. Alphonsus wrote from Arienzo in 1774 to the first group of confreres. In it, he cites the primacy of prayer. I quote only a very short extract:

"You already know that the most efficacious means to enable us to bear contradictions is to have a very great love of Jesus. But for this much prayer is necessary. To love Jesus Christ is the greatest work we can ever do on this earth. But it is a work and a gift we cannot have of ourselves. It comes from him. And he is willing to give it. So that if we are lacking in it, it is through our own fault and negligence that we do not have it."

The meeting in Nairobi was challenging. The Provincials of the so-called "mother" Provinces were invited for the first days of the meeting at which Fr. General presided. This was to ensure that in any new reconfiguration in Africa, the Units would be supported, since very few of them have any financial patrimony.

As you are aware we have 29 professed members of our Province who will be involved in this new proposed reconfiguration; and so the canonical implications as well as the logistical realities will have to be worked out. The Region of Zimbabwe continues to feel very much part of the London Province and is trying to respond to the invitation to some form of reconfiguration within the continent of Africa.

Here in our Province, we will be meeting with the representatives of the Provinces of Dublin, Saint Clements, Munich-Vienna, and ourselves on 12th of August in Kinnoull to look at what forms of restructuring are realistic and possible for us. Please keep that meeting in your prayers.

During the past month I was teaching a Constitutions' course in Poland at which our two students, and also one student from Zimbabwe, were present with students from other Units as well as some priests doing their 10 year renewal. It is encouraging to meet with men still in initial formation.

I was also fortunate enough to be present at the installation of Fr. Elias Gweme as Parish Priest of Erdington Abbey. The church was very full, and the support Elias received both from the Archdiocese and from the local people was very real. Elias will go home to Zimbabwe for just over three weeks for a holiday to see his parents, since it is three years since he last saw them. This is a good opportunity once again to thank Fr. Gabriel Maguire for his work over the years and also Fr. Dickinson who continues to be an enormous support in the parish, despite his age. Fr. Kieran Brady will cover the main work of the parish while Fr. Elias is away.

Fr. Gabriel has been unwell during the past months in Liverpool but seems to be recovering. Fr. Martin Gay has also had health issues, and I ask for prayers for him and also for Fr. Gerry Mulligan who was in hospital, but is now back in Kinnoull but stillchallenged with his health.

In Chawton, Br. Richard Maidwell will arrive shortly for a six month sabbatical stay. We welcome him and hope that he finds this time productive and renewing.

In Clapham, Br. Thomas is recovering from an operation. Fr. Bev celebrated his 90th birthday on the 1st August and Frs. Michael McGreevy and Tom Molloy will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of their priesthood this coming weekend in Clapham. I was speaking with Fr. Tom, who despite his age, will go down to London by Megabus! Fr. Maurice O'Mahony is out on the road assisting RP and also doing weekend appeals for Zimbabwe as well as working with the Associates. The community has hosted other local Religious for both the feast of the Holy Redeemer and the feast of Saint Alphonsus - at which the Apostolic Nuncio and one of the local area bishops were present.

Liverpool continues to exercise its ministry of service to the local people while caring for those confreres who are aged and infirm. Fr. Kevin Callaghan celebrated his 86th birthday recently, and I spoke to him and can confirm he is in very good form. I have just today written a letter to Fr. Barrie's sister, Pat and Fr. Tim told me that he has managed to visit her - and although she misses Barrie greatly - she is coping well.

Here in Kinnoull, the Retreat House is quiet this weekend which is unusual since we have had a very full week with the deacons. We look forward to welcoming Fr. Ciaran O'Callaghan from the Dublin Province who will preach the retreat to Religious this month. Fr. Joe Doherty will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of his ordination next Saturdaywith a Mass and meal with his family. Fr. Tom MacCarte continues to preach missions and help out on supplies; and Fr. Charles Corrigan has settled in as Rector as has Fr. Charles Randall as Retreat House Director. Francis Sibert continues to come one week a month to assist us, and we are most grateful for this. At present Frances is in Poland teaching an English course to our Polish students and I received an email this morning from the Provincial of Warsaw Province expressing his great gratitude for her ministry. And I should not forget Sr. Sheila Burke who continues to welcome guests and care for any who are unwell or marginalised, as well as organising some of the logistics around accommodation and welcome.

In Zimbabwe, the Students will begin their new academic year this coming week and we wish them well. Fr. Tryvis Moyo was one of the moderators at the Nairobi meeting and was extremely efficient. He confirms with Br. Benjamin who was also present, that the country is in dire financial straits. Fuel and electricity are the major challenges as well as the cost of food and commodities. So I thank the parishes and communities of the Province who had a collection on the feast of the Most Holy Redeemer in order to assist our Region there. I have already received a generous cheque from Birmingham, and the people in Kinnoull contributed also. Br. Royston Price is due to begin his apostolic experience in Tafara early next month, and a Spanish student Guillermo has just returned after one year in Tafara which was an extremely positive experience for him.

On Tuesday we shall celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration. This is one of the great feast days of the Church as you know; but especially for our Redemptoristine Sisters to whom we send good wishes. And of course on the 15th we celebrate the Assumption of Mary which is a feast of the body of a woman who is now with God. Perhaps in this age, when we become more conscious of the abuse of the bodies of women through trafficking and pornography, we can celebrate this feast in a new and focused way.

For those who have a holiday this month, I hope that you have a restful time.


1st Frs. B. Ahearn, J. McManus and M. Chikuni, 3rd A. Hunt, 7th C. Magova, 9th M. O'Mahony, 11th I. Davies, 13th A. Burns, 17th K. Brady, 20th T. Tamai, 21st R. McAinsh, 22nd A. Mukabva.


In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior