Fr Provincial writes for the end of the year 2015...
31st December, 2015
Dear confreres and friends,
Once again we come to the final day of the year and I give thanks to God for the many blessings we have experienced. We pray for peace and fidelity in 2016.
When I look back over the year there is much for which we should be grateful. The tremendous amount of apostolic work carried out, in and through our Province, continues to be amazing. The day-to-day work in the parishes and in Redemptorist Publications, the preaching of missions and retreats, the ministry in and from the John Paul Centre and at Hawkstone, the work of formation, and of course the administration of the Province, all go to make up the tapestry of our Redemptorist life and ministry here and in Zimbabwe. In the Region there have been many missions and retreats, as well as the parish work in Tafara, Bhobo, Mabvuku, Saint Gerard's, Nazareth House, Hatcliffe and Chiweshe. And on top of all this, there is the Aids outreach, the Mavambo project the Adult Literacy programme and several other ministries.
Both here in the Province and in Zimbabwe we also celebrated new life, welcoming men to join us and discern their vocation. We have also sent men to the novitiate, as well as admitting confreres to Vows and celebrated with those who received the Sacrament of Ordination.
All of these blessings can be so close to us, that we may fail to see the enormous good work done by so many of our confreres in the Province and in Zimbabwe.
Of course there have also been challenges on every front. This time last year, although I was feeling a bit unwell, I never contemplated that I would spend almost 10 weeks in hospital and have a major heart operation. In many of our lives, the expected occurs; but we also know that everything is in the providence of God, and that we are supported by one another and by God.
The year ahead holds many challenges. Our Mission Coordinator reports an increased interest in missions and also applications for our preaching during this Year of Mercy. We also have the pilgrimage in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the shrine in Rome during April. Confreres have been very slow to book for this, and it is imperative that if you wish to join us, you make arrangements immediately.
This year also sees the General Chapter of the Congregation assemble in November in Thailand for its canonical phase. This will be preceded by the first phase, which will take place in Torun in Poland in April, and will be attended by Father Andrew Burns and myself, and also by Mrs. Nicole Barber. Nicole has been appointed by Father General, on the recommendation of the Council of Conference of Europe, together with a Spanish lay collaborator. A third phase of the Chapter will take place in 2017.
Fr. Dominic O'Toole officially ceases to be a member of the Albanian community today, and I thank him for his life and ministry in Tirana. Dominic has been receiving medical treatment and happily is well on the road to recovery. Fr. Martin Gay continues to work with the finances of the Congregation for the General Government, but at present he is staying in Clapham. He hopes to return to Rome in early January in order to assist with the induction of the new Vice Economo General.
As you know there is a time for confreres to celebrate the great work carried out in Hawkstone since 1926, and Fr. O'Mahony would appreciate a response indicating your attendance. The weekend for families and friends likewise will be a privileged moment to express our gratitude to our benefactors and supporters.
This coming year will see several Jubilees. In January we have the Golden Jubilees of ordination of Fr. Jan Milcz and Fr. Terry Creech. During the year we shall also celebrate the Diamond Jubilees of Profession of Frs. Jack Clancy and George Webster, as well as the Golden Jubilees of ordination of Frs. Barrie O'Toole, Brian Russell and Gerry Mulligan; and we have the Golden Jubilee of Profession of Ronald McAinsh. I offer all these confreres the gratitude of the Province and Region and every blessing in their lives.
Birthdays: Frs J. Doherty, 4th, (M. Brehl 7th), J. Casey 11th, T Quinlivan, and J. Musendami 19th, G Webster 26th.
I guess you can always find out what I am reading from my quotations. Having read Hans Urs von Balthasar's book on Elizabeth of the Trinity, I am now reading a similar one by Marion Murphy ODC. Please find my offering of this quotation from Elizabeth as my New Year prayer and wish for each confrere, relative, friend and benefactor for 2016.
Always believe in love.
He loves you today,
as he loved you yesterday
and he will love you tomorrow.
In Christ the Redeemer,
Ronald J McAinsh CSsR