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St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Fr Provincial writes 1st September 2019...

provincialsletterhead

1st September, 2019

Dear Confreres and friends,

Autumn is already in the air in Scotland and I suspect most people have completed any summer break they may have chosen. I hope everyone is refreshed.

This month saw the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Fr. Tom Molloy take place in his parish in Edinburgh attended by the Archbishop and a large group of friends and parishioners, and of course confreres from Kinnoull. Some great photos are available on our website. Fr. Joe Doherty also celebrated his jubilee here with his family, and as you know, the previous month, Michael McGreevy had celebrated in Clapham. This coming month our Vicar, Fr. Richard Reid is celebrating his Silver Jubilee of Profession along with Fr Kieran Brady and we wish all the Jubilarians every blessing.

In the middle of the month we also hosted in Perth, meetings of representatives of the EPCs of St. Clements, Dublin, AustriaNienna and London to continue conversations about the restructuring process. Fr. Johannes Roemelt chaired the meeting.

We have the mid sexennium meeting in Cortona at the end of this month and Fr. Richard and I will be present at that; and then we have another meeting of the OPCs these Units in early December.

During this coming month there will be meetings of our OPC and EPC in Clapham and also an RPTC meeting. On the 11 th September, Royston Price goes to Zimbabwe for six months. Please keep him in your prayers. As previously indicated, Mike Taylor will stay in Clapham in order to work with the Ace of Clubs, particularly the leadership team.

On 14th September, Massimiliano Mura will be ordained to the priesthood in Sardinia. Many know Max because he spent an academic year in Clapham as a student and also was a novice under Fr. Tryvis Moyo. In addition, he has translated at many of our international meetings. I hope to be present at the ordination and I know that some members of the Clapham community as well as Fr. Corrigan who was his former Prefect in London will be present. (I am booked on SA who have announced a pilots' strike, so I pray that I shall be able to attend).

Our own students have participated in a Pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Clement with other students of Europe and are now sharing in a Moral Theology forum in Krakow.

Fr. Gabriel Maguire returned to Birmingham at the weekend and has had a successful operation on his nose. Fr. Martin Gay, after some health issues at the beginning of last month is much better and Fr. Gerry Mulligan is also stable. Fr Gideon Sidinga who is studying formation and spirituality in Rome went to Toronto for a summer placement. Unfortunately he contracted bronchitis which has turned into pneumonia and has been hospitalised, although he tells me he is recovering. As usual I ask for prayers for those who are incapacitated or limited because of old age.

Our website also gives a synopsis of a challenging homily given by Bishop Raymond at the first ordinations he performed in his diocese. The situation in the country continues to deteriorate in terms of infrastructure and I ask for prayers for the community, and also thank our parishes in Liverpool and in Birmingham for their collection on the feast of the Holy Redeemer. Clapham could not have the collection that day and will have it at a later date. Fr. William Guri will defend his doctoral thesis on 5th September, and will return to Zimbabwe via the Province this month. Prayers please for William on 5th.

At the end of last week we finally received approval from Lambeth Council to submit our application for the refurbishment of Clapham, and this will be done as quickly as possible, and I will send the information to the EPC members. The movement on the Hall is extremely slow.

I am happy to inform you that we exchanged contracts last week with the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for the transfer of the church and the hall to their title. In the documentation it is clear that should the diocese no longer require the church or hall, they will return to the ownership of the Congregation. We have also managed to dispose of other parts of the property, although large sums of money are not involved! The EPC originally earmarked any potential profit to be shared with Zimbabwe for the construction of a novitiate; but at the moment this is on hold until some decision is made by the Conference of Africa.

At a meeting of the Conference of Africa held Nairobi it was decided that in future there will be only two large Provinces in Africa, and that Zimbabwe will be incorporated into one of them. I have no idea what this means in canonical terms and I shall inform you as details reach us.

During this month we have the feast of Our Lady's Birthday which is the Profession anniversary for several confreres, the feast of Blessed Maria Celeste on 11th (she died on 14th !) and of course the birthday of Saint Alphonsus on 27th.

I will close this letter with a quotation from Mother Celeste's writings which she applied to our Congregation:

"Therefore, so that my people might remember the external love with which I have loved them, I am pleased to choose this Institute to be a Viva Memoria for all the people of the world.

And therefore He said, you must change your life into that of my Son, so that there can be born again in the world, in the souls of His loved ones, a true and living witness to the works of redemption which He performed for love of all.

And this is really possible because Christ is once more a Wayfarer Cuomo viatore) in those who are united to Him in love and through a true union in God by faith, by holy works and by the grace of the Holy Spirit."

Whether you have a devotion to Celeste or not, I believe that this invitation - and indeed call - 'to be a witness to the work of redemption', and also the concept of being 'a wayfarer', remains a true challenge for each of us and for our Congregation in an age of increasing marginalisation of the institutional Church.

Birthdays of our confreres this month (besides St. Alphonsus):

Fr J. Clancy, 4th, Br M. Duxbury 5th, Frs F. Allinson 8th, T. Buckley, 19th, Br T. Lemeyu 28th.

I have just heard today of the death of the wife of our former confrere, Gerard McGarvey. I have telephoned him and assured him of our prayers at this time of his loss.

A final piece of information I have just received is that Fr. Jack Clancy had been admitted to St. Thomas's hospital and is rather unwell. Fr. Richard will visit him today. More prayers please.

With best wishes,

In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior