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Fr Guri C.Ss.R., writes to us all from Zimbabwe...


Regional Letter                          February 2011



St Gerard’s House

25 February 2011


Dear Confreres,


Last week we had the visitation of the Region by our Provincial Superior, Fr Ronald McAinsh. This was a very important visit that came at the end of the final triennium and at the beginning of the first quadrennium. You will recall that at the last General Chapter the quadrennium was introduced to replace the triennium. This means that all terms of office, except that of the Superior General, will now run for four years. The assumption of office in the entire congregation has been synchronized to begin at the same time in the first quadrennium and afterwards. Previously the units of the congregation began the triennium at various times in the year.


One of the tasks of the Provincial Superior during this visitation was to appoint the Regional Superior and Council. I was reappointed as Regional Superior, with Fr Raymond Mupandasekwa as the Regional Vicar and Br Benjamin Posvo as the Regional Councilor. On behalf of the Regional Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to express my deep appreciation of the confidence that the London Province and the Region of Zimbabwe have shown by entrusting the Regional leadership to our humble selves.


So we begin the new quadrennium with confidence and hope. In due course we will constitute the Extraordinary Regional Council (ERC), which will comprise the Ordinary Regional Council (ORC) plus three other members. The ERC will appoint the various Secretariats and Commissions that will facilitate the governance of the Region. At the beginning of the qaudrennium we will also make new appointments to the communities and apostolates of the region. The ORC will therefore conduct a visitation of the Region to consult and prepare for the appointments.


Apart from the important business of the visitation; it was great to have Ronnie with us in Zimbabwe. Ronnie and I attended the Board of Governors of Holy Trinity College’s (HTC) annual meeting on the 18th of February. The Chairmanship of the Board, which rotates among the four founding religious families moved from the Redemptorists to the Spiritans at this meeting. The meeting at HTC helped the board members to be abreast with the many positive developments at the college. One such development is the affiliation of HTC to the Catholic University in Zimbabwe (CUZ) which was achieved in the last year. At the end of this semester we look forward to the first graduation ceremony with degrees issued under the CUZ-HTC affiliation.


The month of February saw us participate in an inter-unit initiative. The Preaching Symposium in Merrivale was the fruit of our collaboration with our South African and Nigerian confreres in the spirit of the inter-unit networking that is a hallmark of restructuring for mission mendated by the last General Chapter. The Symposium aimed at reviving our preaching charism by targeting our newly professed and ordained members. This symposium is a harbinger of the inter-unit collaboration that the last General Chapter called us to envision.


The Preaching Symposium was marred by the accident that two confreres were involved in. Frs Joseph Musendami from Zimbabwe and Fr Cletus from Nigeria survived a car accident that could have claimed their lives. The person in the car that hit them died on the sport – may God rest and bless her soul. Our brothers escaped with treatable injuries and are now recovering well. As a result, Joseph, Cletus and I were unable to attend the Preaching Symposium. But not all was lost as Cletus and Joseph were discipled in the school of the passion as others ministered to them in their need. I also leant much in the week that I spent visiting the confreres in hospital.


I am sure that the confreres who proceeded with the Preaching Symposium were deeply affected by the misfortune that had befallen Joseph and Cletus. Those in the car behind did see it all happen right in front of them. That must have been quite traumatic. It is good that they soldiered on under the circumstances. It is my hope that, as good Redemptorists, they took that experience as “grist for the mill” and found a way to integrate that heart-wrenching experience into their preaching repertoire.


I stayed with the Nigerian confreres, who have taken up parish work in Johannesburg, while Joseph and Cletus were in hospital. It was a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand the work that Fr Charles and Cletus are doing in the two parishes that they have taken charge of. I must commend Frs Charles and Cletus for the great care and hospitality they offered to Joseph and I. Fr Larry Kaufmann took over care for Joseph when he finished the Symposium, which he had to shoulder without me. Together with the confreres in Cape Town, Larry made Joseph’s convalescence in South Africa a memorable experience.


When I returned from South Africa I had the opportunity to visit Joseph’s family and appraise them on the situation. Fr Mupandasekwa had already been to see them and ensured that they heard about the accident from one of us. My worst fear had been Joseph’s mother hearing about the accident during the prayers of the faithful in church! I had a good visit with the family and took great care to explain what happened to them. They were very receptive and grateful. When Joseph returned to Zimbabwe on the 19th of February we arranged for his family to come to Alphonsus House to see him. It was wonderful to see Joseph reunited with his family and restored with us at Tafara. We continue to wish Joseph and Cletus a full recovery.


Upon my return from South Africa I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors (CMRS) in Zimbabwe. The theme of the conference was religious poverty and was ably presented by three Jesuits, Frs Buckland, Von Nidda and Berridge. Unfortunately not many of our confreres were able to attend the open day for all religious as the Preaching Symposium was still under way. We elected the executive committee of the CMRS for the next two years. Fr Steven Buckland SJ is the new President and the Vice President is Sr Julian Mujuru CPS. You can imagine the fun we had at saluting Vice President Mujuru – of CMRS!


As we look forward to the beginning of Lent, I would like to wish you all well and all the blessing of the season. Whatever you decide to give up this Lent, may that be a fruitful exercise for you. I for one am going to give up “giving up,” so I soldier on.


Yours in the Most Holy Redeemer,


William Guri, C.Ss.R.

Regional Superior.