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19th January 2012

Greetings from Rusape!

Thanks for your message and the home news.

Gentle rains came to Rusape last weekend. Much needed for the crops.

The ANC, in South Africa, celebrated its Centenary the previous weekend. A huge gathering with President Zuma giving a lengthy speech. While much was said about the achievements of the ANC in gaining Independence, little was said about the level of violence and corruption in the country and the lack of basic education and health care. Teachers, who left Zimbabwe during the violence of the first decade of this century, left teaching posts in South Africa to do other work, including domestic work or educating the children of the better off South African families. The standard of education is very poor.

I forgot to mention in my last message that six Carmelite Sisters made their final professions on Jan 6th, at the Motherhouse in Mutare. The ceremony lasted two and a quarter hours. It was a marathon session in extreme heat with poor ventilation in the low ceiling church.

St. Simon’s church was built about thirty years ago. The doors, made of light panels, were exposed to the elements, extreme heat and heavy rains. With the advice of the local construction teacher and a carpenter we are planning to put porches on the double door entrances and install solid doors. I did the pricing in Mutare on Monday am. Timber, asbestos and steel supports are all expensive. The materials alone will cost about $2,000.00. It should be a solid job and add to the appearance of the church.

During my spare time I began reading “An Irish Reader in Moral Theology – The Legacy of the last Fifty Years edited by McDonagh and MacNamara. It is a collection of thirty nine essays, already published in various theological magazines, reaching to 469 pages. An interesting comment by McDonagh in his introduction:“ We had hoped to include some articles by moral theologian Sean Fagan S.M. but due to ‘circumstances outside our control’ this was not possible. There was last minute ecclesiastical interference in the publication of Volume 1, Foundations, which resulted in the second volume being delayed and printed by an alternative publisher. Volume 3 may appear next year?

The weekend ministry was leisurely and fulfilling. Mass at a small outstation on Friday while the thunder rumbled in the background. I was at St. Bernard’s on Sunday, celebrating the sacraments with old Ambrose and bringing him his monthly supply of groceries. The little church, being extended, was full to capacity with great participation. There were two visits to elderly women after Mass. Both were frail and fragile, worn out by hard lives.

I watched Leinster play Glasgow in the Heinken Cup on mid Sunday pm before setting out for Mutare. It was a dour game but with a good result for Leinster.

The weather and the course could not have been better for golf on Monday. Ideal for the game, which had its moments.

Love and best wishes.