" Not by chance, nor in vain, do the servants of Mary call her mother "
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Fr Provincial writes...31st October 2019


31st October 2019

Dear Confreres and friends,

As usual, we begin the month of November by remembering those confreres who have been active in the Province since the early 19th century, and who passed on to us our Redemptorist charism and our traditions - and of course above all, our ministry. Our Province Statutes remind us that we celebrate four Masses in community in the coming month, and that at these celebrations we remember also all of our confreres throughout the world, our families, our benefactors and our co-workers and Associates. In Zimbabwe all the confreres are able to gather at the cemetery for prayer. I know that is not always possible here; although last year I understand that many of the Clapham community went to our Redemptorist plot in Streatham. And we still retain cemeteries in Kinnoull, Liverpool and Birmingham. Some years ago I offered you a quotation from St John of the Cross which I found very moving and which I shall print once again at the end of this letter.

The month of October began with Fr. Richard and I in Cortona at the Mid Sexennium meeting of Provincials and Vocals of Europe. It was a long meeting and a very challenging one, and the main topic was restructuring.

As already communicated, after much debate it was decided that the Provinces of Southern Europe will in future form one Province. The Provinces of Northern Europe, that is Dublin, London, Saint Clements and Vienna/Munich shall create a structured Federation which will lead to one Province; while the Provinces of Eastern Europe will enter into a collaboration with one another in certain areas.

As I indicated, the Provincial government will communicate this more fully to you when we visit each House beginning on the 12th November. In addition, you already have the dates for the Province Meeting sent to you by the Apostolic Life Secretariat. It will take place in Kinnoull in early January, and then two weeks later the OPC will begin a Visitation of the Houses of the Province as indicated in my August letter.

We have received further communication from Lambeth about the proposed internal refurbishment of Clapham Monastery, and if all goes to plan, the Schedule should be ready by next month in order to be put out to tender. In reality, I cannot see the work beginning before April or May; and we will talk with the Clapham community about what this will mean for the community.

In the meantime, Fr. Bev Ahearn has been in discernment with me and with Fr. Richard, and we all agree that this would be a good time for him to move to Liverpool. Bev's sight has deteriorated considerably and he will also benefit by the additional care which the staff at Bishop Eton will be able to offer. There is no date fixed for the proposed move, although it looks as though it would be early December. At the end of the month, I will write more fully and express our appreciation for Bev's presence in Clapham over the years. Please also keep in your prayers the other elderly confreres in Clapham, some of whom have challenging health issues.

In terms of the proposed sale of the hall, we continue to work with experts in trying to offer a proposal which might be acceptable to Lambeth, while at the same time retaining a facility for the parish.

Please also continue to keep in your prayers the situation in Zimbabwe. The confreres there are suffering on many fronts; and at times the emotional toll on individuals can be very telling. As indicated, the members of the Region of Zimbabwe will be incorporated into a new Province of Southern Africa; and when the implications of this become clearer, I will communicate them to you.

You will recall that we celebrate the Foundation Day of the Congregation on the 9th November, and the General Government has mandated a worldwide collection on or around that date for the Solidarity Fund for formation. May those responsible in each community please make the necessary arrangements, and send the proceeds to Tony Barrance who will in turn send them to Rome.

Our students Michael Taylor and Royston Price both graduated with Summa Cum Laude degrees. Many congratulations to Michael and Royston. As you are aware, they are at present on pastoral placements.

During the month I was able to participate in a mission in Lithuania and also give a retreat to the priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas. I had no idea how badly the people of Lithuania had suffered under the Soviet regime - since Poland and Slovakia were not incorporated into the USSR. Our Redemptorists from Slovakia have made a small foundation there, and in the twelve months of their presence have made an amazing contribution to the life of the local Church and the country. I found the whole mission experience very uplifting.

Meanwhile we continue to exercise and live our charism in a whole variety of ministries in this country; and I ask for prayers for those preaching missions, giving retreats, working on publications and in parishes. The Seven Week Renewal Course began last week in Kinnoull with around 20 participants from many countries, and it appears to be going extremely well.

On the subject of ministry, Fr Maurice O'Mahony is taking a break from active ministry for the next few months, but will continue with his part time work at Redemptorist Publications. During this period the Provincial Council will assume responsibility for the Lay Associate groups in Perth (myself); Liverpool, Fr. Andrew Burns, and in Clapham, Fr. Richard. Reid.

Here is the quotation from St John of the Cross:

"What will take place for me on the other side when all for me will be turned into eternity, I do not know. I believe, I only believe that a great love awaits me. My Redeemer will open the gate of joy to me with great light".

Birthdays this month: 18th Br W. McDermott, 23rd Fr F. Kunaka, 24th Fr B. Russell.


In Christ the Redeemer,

Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.

Provincial Superior