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14th April 2011

Greetings from Rusape!

I do hope Joe and Annette enjoyed their week in Spain. They went with a group, organised by Age Active Ireland. Michael was in Singapore on some training experience. He wrote on March 23rd: This Friday night I have to go to Galway(collecting for Lourdes pilgrimage with handicapped) and then I am back to Cork on Saturday night in order to fly out to Singapore on Sunday morning for work. I have to go to Singapore in order to train to enable me to release the product. It is a full weeks work. I am sure I will be hit by jet lag. Luckily, I will be travelling Business class. I have never had that experience before so I am sure it will be a more comfortable trip than in economy class. St Patrick’s day was pleasant and the weather held up to ensure all parades were well attended.

Summer time in Europe means that there is only one hour difference between Zimbabwe and the homeland. It is good for viewing evening sports. The European Cup in Soccer starts at 8.45 rather than 9.45pm.

It was another good weekend for Irish sport with twenty one year old, McIlroy, leading the pack at Augusta and Leinster beating Leicester at Aviva Stadium in Dublin in the Heineken Cup QF?s. A manly and skilful performance. While Aintree enjoyed brilliant weather for the English Grand National on Saturday, we were enduring the first blast of winter. I took old Sr. Thomas to St. Barbara?s Mission on Friday pm for an anniversary Mass for a family member on Saturday. The day was misty and wet. Parts of the dirt road were in poor condition. The 122km journey, 34km on dirt road, was taxing on energy. It rained heavily on Friday night. Rainfall this year is about 800mm/32inches. The temperature dropped from the mid C20?s to low teens on Saturday. I lit the fire in the TV room after breakfast for the first time this year and spent most of the day in the comfort of a timber fire.

The Sacred Heart Sodality had a weekend retreat here, given by one of the diocesan priests

There was no electricity from Friday night. We started the generator for the Grand National at 5.15. I have never seen Aintree looking so well with temperatures in the high teens or low twenties. A magnificent scene. With forty horses starting the four and a half mile race, it was great to be able to watch it live. Sadly , two horses died or had to be put down. The winner was suffering from dehydration and was unable to make it to the winner?s enclosure. He was doused with buckets of water to cool him off. Leinster provided some skilful and robust rugby for the home fans at 7.00pm, beating Leicester 17-10.

I had Mass at Fatima on Sunday followed by a home visit to a 93 year old woman, where we celebrated the sacraments. I made my way to Mutare in good time to watch the final round of the American Open at Augusta. McIroy, who had led for three days, went into the final round four shots ahead, fell apart at the tenth hole and never regained his composure. At twenty one he has many good years ahead of him.

An Irish Times report ran as follows: McIlroy will have to reflect on, to use an Americanism, a zany 45 minutes of golf which started on the 10th hole ? where he hit one tree with his drive and later another with his greenside recovery ? en route to a triple bogey and continued on into Amen Corner where he three-putted the 11th and four-putted the 12th before putting his drive on the 13th into Rae?s Creek.

Unbelievable, grotesque and bizarre to watch; but, on this course, far from unprecedented.

The catalyst for it all going wrong was probably that tee-shot on the 10th.

?I don?t think anyone has been over there in those cabins before,? McIlroy acknowledged of a shot which ricocheted off the tree?s trunk and came to rest between two cabins, known as Peek and Berckmans, which hardly any of us on the course knew existed. ?It?s going to take a few days, but I?ll get over it.?

This week saw the completion of the work by the plumber, the carpenter and the plasterer. That brings closure to sanctuary renovations at the outstations and renovations at St. Simon?s. Altar, ambo and chair are now in place at all our outstations.

The report on AIB losses, Euro10.4 billion in 2010, makes for sad reading and the in-debtness of the taxpayer for the mistakes of the Celtic Tiger era. Water charges and rates will be introduced in the coming years.

Love and best wishes.