I would like to begin this word to you by giving you some Redemptorist news. Fr Sean Wales, Br Richard and myself will be attending a meeting in Nairobi throughout this coming week. The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss with other Redemptorists in Africa how we can best serve the Church in Africa, and how to use our limited resources, in terms of personnel, to continue to proclaim the Word of God as best we can. I would ask your prayers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit during our meeting, because there is no doubt that it will have implications for our Redemptorist presence in South Africa in the years to come. During the week of our absence, Fr Scott will be the only priest available to the parish. I should also offer you an update regarding Fr Charles. We have just heard that his application for a work permit in South Africa has been refused. So, he must remain in Zambia and begin the process of application again. I have no idea as to when or indeed if he will come back to us here at Holy Redeemer parish.
I would also like to say a few words about the process of Divine Renovation. Last year I had the privilege of attending the International Alpha meeting in London. But the main reason I was asked to attend by the Archbishop was in order to meet with Fr James Mallon, a Canadian priest, who has written a very influential book entitled Divine Renovation. In his book he describes the way that he was able to utterly transform the spiritual life of his parish by helping all people that our task in faith is not simply to maintain our existing parish structures, but rather to see that we are all called to the same Mission to make Christ known through the life of the parish.
It was astonishing for me to listen to many priests, Bishops and Cardinals from all over the world describing how their experience of the life of the Church was transformed by engaging in the process of Divine Renovation. Such stories came from Latin America, most countries in Europe and Asia, as well as several countries in Africa.
Last year the Bishops of Southern Africa decided to accept the process of Divine Renovation as a way forward for the Catholic Church here. As a result, Fr James Mallon will be shortly coming to South Africa to share his reflections on how best to implement the Divine Renovation process here. During his time here, he will spend some days in the main Archdioceses of South Africa, in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. I am delighted that Holy Redeemer parish has been asked to host the day when Fr Mallon will make his major presentation on Divine Renovation. We already have a team who are busily preparing for the day.
The date for the event here at Holy Redeemer is on Saturday 18th August, and the programme will begin at 8.a.m with registration, and conclude with the celebration of Holy Mass at 6.p.m. All parishes of the Archdiocese will be represented, along with priests working in the parish. The members of our Parish Pastoral Council will be in attendance, but it is also open to anyone else who might be interested. If you would like to register for the day, the website can be found at maintenancetomission.co.za The cost of the day is R150 per person and includes lunch and snacks.
If you would like to know more about the programme for Divine Renovation, we will also be holding a book launch here at Holy Redeemer on Tuesday 17th July, at 7. 30p.m in the parish centre. I do hope that many of you will be able to attend this important event.
Fr Gerard, CSsR