Over the past number of months we've had our share of sickness in the community. Angelo, Paschal, Brendan and Gary have been in hospital suffering various kinds of complaints. All four are back with us all the better for the care and medical treatment they received. Angelo in particular had a hard time both with surgery and physiotherapy treatment but he worked bravely to get mobile again and now he is able to get about the house and even venture out on visitation. A new feature of our community life is that we have carers and nurses coming in to visit the sick and we are discovering we have friends we never knew we had. Brendan at the age of 91 is presently the dean of the province.
I was honoured with an invitation to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Botswana. I was out there for a month just before Christmas, two weeks in South Africa and two in Botswana. In both places I got a great welcome and generous hospitality and it gave me much pleasure and delight to see the progress that has been made since I was there last in 1979. New churches, schools, parish centres and presbyteries not to mention young priests, religious sisters and numerous helpers are only some of the good things I saw during my visit. There is a great amount of interest and enthusiasm among the laity and this was evident when we met for religious services and other jubilee events. The many young men and women who want to be priests and religious is proof of a keen interest in the Church's mission. There is, of course, the huge problem of Aids and the gap between rich and poor but these make the work more challenging and necessary. Sincere thanks to all, starting with Bishop Boniface and Ignatius and the CP Sisters, who made my visit such a good experience.
In Ardoyne we continue with our efforts to renew the buildings and engage
in fundraising. Aidan and Gary generously supported by Myles and Ephrem
are busy with a demanding programme. The Hall and Family Centre closed
for some time are in use again and provide a focus for numerous functions
to raise funds. A group of lay people have launched a project to bring
in cash in phases one, two and three, each phase extending the net to
a wider circle. We have also been promised nearly a quarter of a million
pounds from Lottery Funds for the restoration of the church. The monastery
kitchen and adjoining facilities have been transformed and now we have
a state-of-the-art kitchen and the necessary equipment to go with it.
Our cook, Colm Mooney, serves us generous meals, so good indeed that a
snack is all we need as an evening meal.
Aidan has received a number of peace awards for his work on behalf of Holy Cross Girls School. Perhaps this is a time to begin to reap and sing after all the years when we sowed in tears.
Happy Easter to all. (Salvian CP)