Fr Provincial writes Feb.'15
26th February, 2015
Dear Confreres and friends,
By now we are already into the first week of Lent and I pray that it will be a blessed season for all of us. Certainly it is a challenging time as we continue to discern the way forward for the Province in terms of the Nominations.
I hope that people are able to spend a bit of extra time in prayer. On a personal note, just before I went to Zimbabwe I was in my room trying to pray without much apparent success, and I glanced up at the crucifix and spent some time reflecting on the passion of Jesus. I must say it really helped me to get my focus back. I know we all have different ways of praying, but at the heart of each Lent is the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. So I commend this theological (or pious) focus on the Cross to you.
As you will know I was in Zimbabwe for about nine days. I arrived in time for the ordinations of four of our confreres, Fathers Gift, Francis, Gideon, and Kenneth. The ordinations took place outdoors and lasted just short of 4 hours followed by a two hour reception. In the evening we had a Regional Redemptorist celebration.
The following day the confreres celebrated Masses in the various areas in which we minister. I was very touched that the Masses took place among the very poor. One Mass was celebrated in the displacement area we care for (now known as St. Clement's) - Caledonia farm - under a tent. Fr Gift celebrated his first Mass in the rural mission of Chiweshe where there was no tent, and a lot of rain, so everyone had to crowd into the mission classroom. It was indeed a very simple and humble first Mass. One Mass was celebrated for the people of Hatcliffe and Borrowdale, and the other Mass was celebrated in the township of Mabvuku.
Unfortunately when I was there some ill-health caught up on me. As you know I am loath to speak about my health. Since the beginning of the year I have felt rather unwell, and in Zimbabwe I was rather unwell. The doctor there diagnosed me with acute bronchopneumonia and wanted me hospitalised. However I have excellent medication and I am now back in Kinnoull and will see the local doctor this week; but I am back to having some energy and enthusiasm.
I know that some people will be asking about a date for the publication of Nominations. The Dublin Province hopes to issue the list very soon, while the Baltimore Provincial tells me they will take until June. I am hoping that within the next few weeks we will be able to announce our changes. On behalf of the OPC I again thank all the communities and confreres who welcomed us and shared their hopes and also their anxieties for the future.
I have been reflecting on Constitution 67 which states: "Similarly they will cheerfully accept any conditions that may require their moving from place to place and, in the spirit of self-denial, live in the freedom of which the Gospel speaks. Living their poverty will also ensure that they gladly take their place as faithful ministers of the gospel in various places where, in the interests of the mission, they may be of service to all people”. I have been deeply edified by the goodness and generosity of so many confreres.
On 9th March, Fr. Joseph Musendami will leave Clapham and return to Zimbabwe to take up his new posts. On behalf of the Province, the Clapham community and the parish, I thank Fr Joseph for his dedication, cheerfulness and community spirit. I am enclosing the Nominations from the Region of Zimbabwe which are very imaginative and hopeful.
The OPC and EPC will meet in Clapham at the beginning of March and two of our students will receive the Ministries during these days. We are also in the process of evaluating the reports on a very promising young man who has applied to join the Postulancy.
Once again I wish you a happy Lent and also blessed feasts for Saint Joseph, Saint Clement and the Annunciation.
Birthdays this month: Fr Richard Reid 2nd, Bp Ralph Heskett 3rd, Fr Gerard Mulligan 11th
Br Mike Taylor 12th, Fr William Guri 25th
In Christ the Redeemer,
Ronald J. McAinsh, C.Ss.R.