It is good to be back at Holy Redeemer parish after having attended the Redemptorist meeting in Nairobi. Along with Br Richard, Fr Sean Wales and myself, there were representatives from the 12 countries in Africa where the Redemptorists are currently working. Also present at the meeting were our Superior General from Rome, along with members of his Council.
The main purpose of the meeting was to reflect on our present situation in Africa, and how the Redemptorists can best serve the needs of the Church in our context today. It became clear that, in general, we are struggling to continue to do all the work that has been done over the past number of years, primarily because of a lack of personnel, and a lack of vocations to the Redemptorist way of life. This is a reality that must be faced, and calls on us to think of new ways of continuing our missionary presence in Africa.
Even here in South Africa, we are struggling to continue with all our pastoral commitments, given that many of our Redemptorists are very aged or in poor health. Indeed, we have reached the point where we are no longer able to sustain all of our present pastoral commitments. So, the central question for all of us attending the meeting became this: what do we need to do in order to continue to proclaim the Gospel in many varied situations in Africa?
The Redemptorists agreed that the only way forward for us is through a process of restructuring, where Redemptorists from different countries will join together in order to strengthen numbers and to bear witness together to the love of the Holy Redeemer.
We are going to have more meetings on this important topic. But at present it seems likely that the Redemptorists in South Africa will amalgamate with the Redemptorists working in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya and possibly Angola too. This amalgamation will not happen overnight, since much needs to be done in order to facilitate the process. But this is the most likely scenario, and one that will mean changes to our Redemptorist ministry here in South Africa. Please continue to pray for us that we might make decisions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of our Redemptorist saints.
In other news, we were privileged to host the book launch of Divine Renovation on Tuesday evening. I would like to thank all of our parishioners who attended, and in particular to thank our Alpha Team for providing such lovely snacks and refreshments. It marked the first step as we lead up to the Archdiocesan Conference which will take place at Holy Redeemer on Saturday, 18th July.
I would like to remind you that 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.
The members of our Pastoral Council have already registered for the day. I would encourage many of you to register and to attend the Conference, since it will also lead to significant changes in our parish over the coming months and years.
Fr Gerard, CSsR