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21st February 2010

Greetings from Rusape!

The heat at the weekend was stifling. I had Mass at an outstation on Friday in a small galvanized roof church built on sheer rock.The people were slow in arriving. GOAL was distributing food a few kms from the church. On the way to the church, there were many people carrying the food in wheel barrows or scotch carts(pulled by cattle) and some on their heads: 50kgs of mealie meal, 5kgs of beans and two litres of cooking oil for each family.GOAL distributes the food on a monthly basis. Hopefully, the Government majority party, ZANU PF, will not interrupt the process as they did some years ago when Concern were involved in a similar project.Frs. Kilmurray and Troy arrived from Dublin via London/Joburg on Friday and made their way directly to Mutare.They had the weekend to relax before two long meetings on Monday and Tuesday with the brethren. I had a memorial Mass for a young woman, late twenties/early thirties, on Saturday morning. That was followed by the blessing of the headstones for her parents’ graves, who had predeceased her. She and her parents had separate individual graves, in which no one else will be buried. It has something got to do with ancient custom and the world of the spirits. A very complex world!

The electricity went off shortly after the rugby game between Ireland and France kicked off at 6.30p.m. on Saturday. Fortunately, we have the generator to give us light and power to operate the computer and TV. The game and the result were both disappointing.One comment from a man from the Midlands says it all:“I thought the French defense was just fantastic,” said Larry Flanagan from Moate, Co Westmeath afterwards. “We just weren’t good enough I guess. It was a terrible pity that D’Arcy didn’t get that first try when he kicked ahead. That would have given us momentum. But we weren’t good enough.”

Sunday was an easy day with Mass at St.Simon’s. The twentieth anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela, from his twenty seven years imprisonment, gave me an opportunity to speak about peace and reconciliation.I applied to him the words from Eccleiasticus 44:1 – 15 Let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations. Some of them left a name behind them, so their praises are still sung.Their names live on for generations. I offered Mass for Oliver on his anniversary and remembered Michael and Maeve McLoughlin.Their families were celebrating their anniversaries in Dublin. I was with them in spirit and in prayer.

Our meetings were long, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Monday and from 8.00a.m. to 2.00p.m. on Tuesday.Suitable personnel for formation work in novitiate and house of studies is a major concern.The visitors brought out some mail, medication and a book recording the history of Terenure College, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.Mass was celebrated and televised on the foundation day, Jan.10th, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. A lecturer in history in UCD, Fergus Darcy, wrote the book. It is a beautiful publication, running to between 550 and 600 pages with photos to record events over the years.

My daily circuit training is going well. Thirty five minutes morning and evening.I hadn’t lost any weight since before Christmas.I’m still 91kgs, about 200lbs.The effort to loose ten pounds between now and end of June has begun. I’m hopefull!!

Love and best wishes.