British Regional Newsletter
Message from the Regional
The National Pastoral Conference held in Liverpool way back in 1980 had a slogan,’ We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song’. It may be hard for some to resonate with this slogan especially if one is experiencing personal hardship or tragedy. The Holy Week ceremonies which we will be celebrating are a stark reminder that the road our Saviour travelled is one that we too must tread; ‘if you wish to be a disciple of mine, take your cross and follow me’… and indeed what crosses these can be that we are called to carry! But the Cross and death of Jesus was followed by the Resurrection, the crown of thorns was transformed into a crown of glory; and so it will be for us, his disciples, if we persevere. Easy to say but difficult at times to believe, especially if one is weighed down with pain and suffering. The Easter message is a message of hope, a lifeline for us as we try to make sense of the mess that our lives and our world has got itself into. I would like to share a recent experience I had. Before Christmas, a young married man in the East End of London was knocked off his push bike on his way to work. He was left for dead and taken to the London Hospital in Whitechapel. After many weeks in a coma he regained consciousness and he is now able to sit up in a chair. He cannot yet speak as he still needs the aid of a respirator but is alert and is able to move his limbs a little. These coming weeks he will be going through some very intensive physiotherapy. His young wife and family are attentive and caring; they live in hope but are prepared to face the fact that he may never be the same after such a traumatic accident. They persevere in showering their love and their care upon him; thankful too for the progress he is making. I visited him two weeks ago. I felt absolutely saddened to see his condition knowing what he was like before the accident. As I was leaving at the end of my visit he turned his expressionless face towards me and slowly raised his right hand to wave, after which he gave me a thumbs-up sign; a sign of hope and great courage. The Easter story can manifest its meaning in many guises, as it did that day. However, one thing is certain, it teaches us we must live in hope, be strong and have faith, after all, as the slogan says, ’ We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!’
As you know there will be a Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday the 19th March presided by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. All Members and Associates, supporters, family and friends of the Society are invited to attend this joyous occasion. A big thank you to the Jubilee Committee who have worked hard in arranging the Mass and the setting up of the exhibition at the Cathedral and for sending out the numerous invitations to guests.
150th Jubilee Celebrations of the foundation of our Society will be combined with the Missio-A.P.F Regional Masses. This will offer all our A.P.F Supporters throughout the country an opportunity to celebrate this very important year for our Society.
A Regional celebration to mark our Society’s 150th. Jubilee will coincide with our A.P.F. Promotors gathering which will take place on Sunday 19th June at Herbert House, Freshfield (Anniversary of the death of Herbert Vaughan in 1903). The day will begin at 11 am with Mass followed by lunch, an exhibition and presentations by various speakers. It is hoped that the Archbishop of Liverpool will be able to preside at the Mass and join us for the day; he has not yet confirmed whether he will be able to attend. Please keep this date free in your diary. I encourage all Members and Associates to join us on the day which will also be open to family members and former Members and Associates.
The newly published history of our Society is now available. I have sent copies to the Membership around the Region; copies will be available to Members and Associates at Herbert House this week.
Regional Assembly: this will be held from the afternoon of the 10th May until after lunch on the 12th May. Please will you kindly contact Eddie Slawinski to inform him that you are attending this gathering as he needs to know the numbers for the catering and room allocations. Please indicate whether you have special dietary requirements and need of a ground floor room.
We welcome Bernard Fox back into the Region. Bernard, as you know, will take over the running of our house in Cardonald. Fred Franklin has returned from France where he had been living for a number of years and now lives in East Bourne.
Ted O’Brien and John Taylor will take up retirement at Herbert House from the beginning of June.
We say farewell and thank you to Wijnand Huijs who finishes his time on the Staff at the Institute of St Anselm’s in May and will be taking up his new appointment as Rector of our Formation House in Jinja this coming summer.
Jubilarians: the Regional Celebration of Members Jubilees will be held on the Solemnity of the Scared Heart, Friday 3rd June. Our Jubilarians are: Golden/50th: Fred Franklin, Owen Grant, Mick O’Neil and John Taylor. Ruby/40th: Jos Boerkamp, Bernard Fox and Max Pereira. Silver/25th: Paul Boagey, Stephen Botto and Thaddeus de Deckere. Congratulations to you all.
Please pray for our sick Members and Associates in the Region: Frs. Jim Dalziel, Frank Thompson, John McClorey and Br.Tom Quinn. Also for Bart de Putter, the young man in Whitechapel Hospital.
Pray for the souls of our recently deceased Members and family members: Fr. Martin Sweeny and the brother of Fr. Austin Monaghan.
I shall be in Lourdes in Easter week with the Handicapped Childrens Pilgrimage Trust (H.C.P.T) Be assured of my prayers for you all at the Blessed Grotto. I wish you all a very Happy Easter and every blessing on your various apostolates.
Liam J. Durrant MHM