Edition 16: October 2004 Holy Spirit Province

Index to International Stories:

Retired teachers wanted for 3 months in Papua New Guinea

Opening of a new novitiate in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Oceania Conference announced for 2006 — "Shaping Our Future"

The Tribute paid to Edmund Rice by his Confessor

Papua New Guinea

Retired teachers wanted for 3 months in Papua New Guinea


VUVU HIGH SCHOOL is located in Rabaul but up in the hills, so it avoids the extremes of temperatures of the coast. Recently the High School has been given permission to go to Senior High School Level.

The parents are delighted but the teachers are all trained to teach only up to Year Ten. We are looking for teachers who are prepared to go to Vuvu and assist these teachers adjust to the senior classes. If you are retired and have a bit of energy and would like to assist our missions in PNG and have the time to spend three months advising the teachers about the senior syllabus then you would be welcome to stay with the Brothers for a few months and do this very rewarding work. Science, Maths and English are the main concerns but if you have expertise in another field, and are interested, please contact Br Rod Ellyard on 9365 2804 or via email at: ellyard.rod@westcourt.wa.edu.au.

South Africa

Opening of a new novitiate in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Br Philip Into has sent this letter to Brothers around the world celebrating the opening of a third novitiate on the African continent...

A SHORT WHILE AGO, the Pan African Leaders met in Accra, Ghana, and sent us a letter asking permission for the setting up of a third novitiate in Africa. This was to cater for the larger numbers currently in the Pre-Novitiate Houses in the various regions of the Continent.

While large numbers are not necessarily a sign of God's favour, we are delighted with the quality of the men asking to walk our way of life. This is also the result of the renewed emphasis on Seeking New Brothers - the call of the recent Congregation Chapter - and the hard work and enthusiasm of the vocation postulators in Africa.

Therefore it is with great joy that I announce the opening of our third novitiate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. I pray that it truly becomes a house of God and a centre of spirituality, where our new members are accompanied in their quest for God.

Br John Holden from the Canadian Province, who has been working in Sierra Leone for the past few years, has been asked to take on the mantle of Director of Novices. I thank John for his willingness to accept this challenging and vital ministry.

I also thank Br Michael de Klerk and the Brothers from South Africa and Zimbabwe who have provided the site for the new novitiate. Their generosity is greatly appreciated.

Brothers, I ask that you circulate this information among all our Brothers and ask them to pray for those who will be living and working here from January, 2005.

With every prayerful good wish,

Your Brother in Jesus and Blessed Edmund,

Philip Pinto cfc
Congregational Leader

Oceania Conference 2006

Oceania Conference announced for 2006 — "Shaping Our Future"

FOLLOWING the Inter-Province Leadership Committee meeting in Adelaide earlier this month, Shaping Our Future 2006 has been put forward as a major event to be attended by all Christian Brothers in Oceania during the first half of 2006.

The Shaping Our Future Committee Oceania (SOFCO) has been meeting formally since May last year.

Brothers Luke Quinn and Laurie Needham travelled to Canada in early July to attend a similar gathering of North American Brothers.

The North American gathering led to the approval of a restructure of the three North American Provinces (Canada, Eastern and Western USA), in July 2005. The three Provinces will join to become one Province. A region in Latin America will be accountable to this new Province.

The September 2004 SOFCO Newsletter reports that planning, prayer and liturgy, and discernment processes from the North American meeting will be applied to the Oceania gathering.

The Newsletter reflects on the name Shaping Our Future, which it says "suggests that there is a future for Christian Brotherhood in Oceania".

It concludes: "While it is not a forum for final decisions, the gathering will certainly be a very significant part of "the shaping" of 'new wineskins for new wine' (cf The Heart of Being Brother document from the 2002 Congregation Chapter.)"

Report courtesy: Edmund Rice Despatches – 23 September 2004

From the Postulator's Desk

The tribute paid to Edmund Rice from his Confessor

Br Donal Blake, Postulator for the Cause of Blessed Edmund Rice, provides a monthly update on the Congregation Leadership Team website in Rome. His latest bulletin includes this interesting commentary on the views of Blessed Edmund's Confessor, Fr Richard Fitzgerald...

Br Donal Blake

Rev. Fr Richard Fitzgerald, Administrator of the Cathedral in Waterford, was confessor to the Mount Sion community during Edmund's period of retirement in Waterford, 1838-1844. As such he was confidant of Edmund's final reaching towards God in his later years. He is the one who had to make the painful decision in 1843 that because of Edmund's comatose condition he was no longer permitted to receive the Eucharist. He it was who administered the Last Rites to the dying Founder on Sunday, 25 August. Edmund died on the following Thursday, 29 August, Feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist. When it was decided to hold a Month's Mind in Waterford Cathedral on 1 October 1844, to publicly honour Edmund's memory, Fr Fitzgerald was the one chosen by the Bishop to preach the panegyric before a crowded congregation on this very public occasion. It would be true to say that Fr Fitzgerald, because of his privileged position as Edmund's confessor, knew his subject's inner journey in a way that mere observers could not. Here are some extracts from his long sermon:

"It were impossible to exaggerate the blessings that have accrued to society through the agency of the educational establishments that have been reared by Edmund Rice's piety, his energy and his zeal. His charity has not been confined to his own loved land; it went beyond the seas and has been felt in the sister country and in the distant colonies. In a special manner he is our benefactor. Need I say that he requires not the aid of the sculptor or the painter. For as long as religion shall be reverenced among us, as long as civilization shall be prized and cherished, as long as exalted patriotism shall be accounted a virtue, the name of Edmund Ignatius Rice will be held in benediction….

He was called upon to fulfil a great and exalted mission and he succeeded, unassisted by royal patronage or state provision. Towards the close of the last century when he formed the resolution of renouncing the world and devoting himself to the gratuitous instruction of the poor, who could have imagined that his unpretentious exertions would secure to his country the most valuable of her institutions? Who could have recognised in the infant establishment in our own city, the germ of a system that was to exercise a wide and blessed sway on the destinies of our countrymen? But it pleased Heaven that the Institute should have its origin in humility, lest we should ascribe to man what was accomplished by the power and favour of God….

It is somewhat extraordinary that the good and great man who founded this noble Institute was not called away to enjoy his reward until he had seen his labours crowned with such marvellous success. In my mind it should be regarded as a foretaste, deigned to him while on earth, of that ineffable happiness with which the all-bountiful God rewards the just. And if the justice of God awards an amount of glory commensurate with our merit, should we not hope that our venerable Founder is in the possession of the glory described in the promise made through the mouth of the prophet Daniel: 'They that instruct many to justice shall shine as stars for all eternity.'"

Fine words of praise indeed from someone who knew Edmund's spiritual life intimately during the twilight years of his long life! Should it not inspire us today to press on with our noble task of seeing Edmund fully honoured in the near future with the title, 'Saint Edmund'! Keep up the good work! May God bless you and Blessed Edmund guide you!

Donal S. Blake CFC
Postulator/Congregational Historian


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