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March 2010

Greetings from Rusape/Mutare!

Thanks for your message and the news that the farmers are selling off some of the cattle from the sheds. It will ease the pressure on the silage and the grass when the rest are let out.

Not a great St. Patrick’s Day or week. A poor performance by the Irish horses at Cheltenham. A rather dismal display by Irish rugby team against Scotland in Croke Park. The Pope’s letter to the Irish Church at the weekend. Not much to lift one’s spirit.

Weekend ministry was fulfilling. I had planned to visit an old person in the bush on Thursday last but the rain poured down. On Saturday am I went with Sr.Thomas. There were three people in the house. Two in their 80′s and a lady in her 60′s, who has foot or leg problems. I had visited the latter’s mother in June 2008, the Sunday before I had to leave. Her mother died shortly afterwards.They were very grateful for the visit. After lunch I made my way to Clare Farm, 45km on the road to Mutare.The little thatch roofed church is very basic but the small group of people are faithful. It was my first time there since my return in September. They were very welcoming.

There was a choir competition in Chinmanimani about four hour bus drive from Rusape on Saturday. The combined choirs of St. Simon’s and St. Joseph’s had been practicing for some weeks. They came ninth out of twenty and were disappointed with the results.

I was looking forward to the last rugby game and victory against the Scots in Croke Park on Saturday p.m.. Very disappointing. Too many basic mistakes.Difficult to explain after two good games against Wales and England.

The St. Josephs’ men confraternity gathered at St.Joseph’s Church for their annual weekend retreat. About one hundred turned up from the outstations. I gave eight men and their luggage a lift to St.Bernard’s on Sunday morning. After Mass, I visited Ambrose nearby and celebrated three sacraments with him. He was in grateful mood for everything he had received.

We had a three day seminar on Child Protection in the Pastoral Centre, Mutare from March 23rd to 25th. It was sponsored and organised by Catholic Relief Services.The facilitator was a Methodist. She was very competent with a mixture of input and group work. Sex and sexuality are taboo subjects in Zimbabwe. However, all kinds of abuse: physical, emotional,sexual and neglect, are common in families and by members of the extended families.Orphans, in particular, are highly vulnerable.

The news of Bishop Magee’s resignation being accepted by the Vatican came on the evening news of Wed. 24th. Of course, he should have resigned last year when it was clear that he had not cooperated fully with the investigation into two cases of clerical abuse in his diocese.

Tomorrow,March 26th, is Mum’s anniversary. I will offer Mass for her at the Priory before returning to Rusape.

Love and best wishes.