“Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness.” Pope Francis, Easter 2015
Contents Page 5 From Darkness to Light Page 8 60 Years as a Franciscan Missionary of St Joseph Page 11 God of Another Chance Page 14 Cardinal Vaughan: new short Biography Page 15 Church Statistics Page 16 Brother Hubert and the new Ilung Health Centre Page 19 Turmoil in Cameroon Page 22 Fr John McClorey Page 25 Silver Circle Page 26 Getting Africa on its Feet: Congo and South Sudan Page 29 Mill Hill News Page 30 Mill Hill Students in Formation Page 31 Obituaries
Acknowledgments Contributors: Fr Jim O’Connell mhm Sr Cecily fmsj Fr Gerry Hastie mhm Fr Fons Eppink Fr John Buckley Photo Credits: The Museum of St Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, Canada Fr Fons Eppink mhm Cover photos: Front: Vibrant Kinshasa Market place. Back: Mother of Sorrows processional statue, Salamanca. Processional statue of the Risen Christ, Salamanca.
St. Joseph’s Advocate
is the magazine of the Mill Hill Missionaries in Scotland, published from St. Joseph’s House, 30 Lourdes Avenue, Cardonald, Glasgow G52 3QU. Tel: 0141 883 0139. Email: email@example.com Registered Charity Number: SCO39809 Produced by: Burns Print Management Ltd., Caledonia Business Centre, Thornliebank Industrial Estate, Glasgow G46 8JT Tel: 07799 645 420 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Fr. Bill Tollan, mhm, Editor
Christ at the centre Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer and fasting on Friday February 23rd, to intercede for peace in the world, but especially in the greatlytroubled Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and in Africa’s youngest country – South Sudan. Mill Hill Missionaries have a long association with both these countries. In this issue of the Advocate we read of a meeting in Rome presided over by Cardinal Turkson promoting ways in which to get Africa ‘on its feet again’ and especially the DRC and South Sudan. In this issue of the Advocate there are accounts of the agony of the peoples of these two countries, but also of the people of Anglophone Cameroon. On his recent visits to Chile and Peru Pope Francis used the example of St Peter in desolation after the Crucifixion to show how Jesus’ love seeks to prevent him from turning inwards, obsessed with his failure
and betrayal, paralysed by uncertainty. By embracing its wounds and failures, the Church too, is set free from trusting in itself and making itself the centre, rather than Christ. “A Church with wounds can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them her own, suffering with them.” Easter is a time for hope, for rebirth. In the troubled lands of the world there are so many signs of hope. In Cameroon there is the joy of three newlyordained MHM’s,
and the many years of faithful and loving service of Brother Hubert. Sr Cecily’s story is similarly inspiring. As we older European MHM’s fade away, there is the joy of increasing numbers of African and Asian MHM’s. In the month of October we will have our annual Novena to our patron St Joseph. Fr Jim O’Connell writes of the darkness experienced by St Joseph, but also of the light that led him forward to play his part in the Mystery of our Salvation.
From Darkness to Light by Fr. Jim O’Connell mhm
In my youth, darkness and light were very much part of our experience of daily and nightly life. I was around fourteen years of age when electricity reached our part of rural Kerry in the late nineteen fifties. Even now I have very clear memories of it. It was such a change to have light in each room in the house. Gone were the candles and Tilley lamp and lanterns. My clearest memory is around the changes it brought to the farmyard and farm buildings. When we went about our work in the winter evenings, we were often pottering around in the darkness, with the light of a lantern, feeding the cattle and milking the few cows that still had to be milked at that time of year.
‘The people who walked in darkness…’ All of a sudden everything changed with the coming of electricity. We had light everywhere, not only in our home, but also in the buildings that housed the cows, the pigs, the horses, and we had the ‘yard lamps’ that lit up the whole area around the farmyard and home. In our world, we could say we had moved ‘from darkness to light’; we got a taste of the experience that is central to the celebration of Christmas when we are invited to a much deeper and more profound journey from ‘darkness to light’. The journey of Lent also leads us from darkness to the light of the Paschal Fire, and the Paschal candle from which we light our candles to proclaim our Easter faith in the Risen Lord.
The first reading on Christmas Night begins: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” (Isaiah 9:1) Jesus himself said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) And when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, the elderly Simeon recognised the Infant as “a light to enlighten the nations.” (Luke 2:31)
St. Joseph the torchbearer On page 5 we have an image of a beautiful work of art by the Dutch painter Petrus Van Schendel. It features Mary and Joseph in an atmosphere that is deep and expectant. Joseph is no longer the one in the shadows or background – as he is often portrayed. As you can see, he is carrying a torch (a live, lighting flame) in front of him that lights up the darkness. He is walking beside Mary, slightly in front of her. He is staring intently ahead, pushing forward with his left arm stretched out as if clearing the way. He and Mary are young and strong and healthy-looking. Mary is holding a cloth in her hands and looking at it. You can see that she has other things on her mind. Perhaps she is planning ahead, thinking of the birth of her child. It is clear she has complete trust in Joseph, staying close to him and letting him lead her forward to the right place. Joseph is the torchbearer, carrying the flame that
lights up the way in the darkness. Mary is carrying the True Light, the Child Jesus, who will lead people out of darkness into his own wonderful light.
Our Torchbearer Looking at the painting we see Joseph as the torchbearer for Mary and we can also look on Joseph as our torchbearer. He can lead us to Jesus the True Light. When we are trying to find our way in the darkness that weighs heavily upon us at times, we are encouraged to turn to St. Joseph for help and guidance. Pope Benedict XVI put it this way: “If discouragement overwhelms you, think of the faith of Joseph. If anxiety has its grip on you, think of the hope of Joseph. If exasperation or hatred seizes you, think of the love of Joseph, who was the first
man to set eyes on the human face of God in the person of the infant conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Let us praise and thank Christ for having drawn so close to us, and for giving us Joseph as an example and model of love.” St. Joseph, the torchbearer, is with us when we are struggling to cope with suffering and sickness, or when we are heartbroken with grief or weighed down with distress and loneliness. As he was for Mary and her Child, St. Joseph is our torchbearer. In times of darkness and perplexity he points us along the heavenly way to Christ the Light of the world. As we celebrate Easter, we ask St. Joseph to help us experience Christ with us as our light and life, our hope and help.
The Art (Painting) on page 5 is by Petrus Van Schendel, and is in the collection of the Museum of St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Used with permission.
Highlights of 60 Years as an fmsj Sr Cecily McCusker grew up in a well-known Catholic family in rural Renfrewshire, and became a Franciscan Missionary of St Joseph (also known as the Mill Hill Sisters.) At a Celebration Mass in St James’, Renfrew, led by her nephew Fr John Eagers, she recalled the story of her vocation. My vocation grew from a seed planted in my mind when Sr. Francis Joseph came to our school to speak about her work and life in Cameroon. I had to wait until I left school and trained as a teacher (so that I would have
something to do when I left) before entering the Convent. My first appointment after training for two years was to a Children’s Home in Didsbury. After a few months there I got my appointment
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Sibu.
Sr. Cecily with Form 4, 1970.
to Sarawak. In October 1958 Sr. Felicity and myself boarded the P&O Liner Corfu to go to Singapore. After three weeks we arrived there and had to wait for five days before getting a smaller boat to Sarawak. I was appointed to teach in St. Elizabeth’s School in Sibu. The school was a wooden building built on stilts. I was not very happy to see snakes swimming in the swamp around us. The facilities in the school were very basic. There was no Science lab, the library fitted in a cupboard but it was a pleasure to teach girls who were very keen to learn and who worked very hard to get good results. I am still in contact with many of my former students who became Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Lawyers in spite of the basic facilities. I made many good friends in Sibu and enjoy meeting them when they come to England. In the 1960s Sarawak gained independence and is now part of Malaysia. It was a time of unrest. In 1971 I had to leave Sibu because of an incident in our school. I had to leave
without saying goodbye to anyone. Since then I have been invited out to Sibu several times.The school has grown and developed and has all modern facilities but there is still the same spirit of respect and care for each other. On returning to England my first appointment to teach in Westbank, an Approved School for girls. It was quite a shock to the system coming from a school where the students wanted to learn to having 10 girls who were not interested in learning at all. I am still in contact with a few of the girls who did well after leaving school. In 1983 I was appointed Superior of Broughton Hall, a home for our elderly and sick Sisters. It was a Tudor Mansion set in beautiful grounds. I had eight very happy years there and learned a lot frm our older sisters. In 1993 I became a member of our General Council During that time I visited our Sisters In Kenya and Ecuador. At that time the idea of a new way of living the Religious Life was being considered. It was decided
that we would look for a suitable place to live outside the Convent. Four Sisters including myself were appointed to live in a Council house in Ordsall ,a poor estate in Salford. In the beginning it was quite difficult as we had stones thrown through our windows several times. One evening a local man came to our door and gave us his phone number which we could use any time we had trouble. From then on we settled down and became involved in various ways on the Estate and in St. Joseph’s Parish. The Corner Shop next to us closed and was vandalised. I mentioned to our Parish Priest that it might be a good idea to open it as a place where people could come and have a cup of tea and read the paper in peace. The PP took the idea to the ministers on the Estate. and they thought it was a good idea. We formed a committee of local people and after six years we had enough money to refurbish the Corner Shop and open Ordsall Community Cafe. It has become a sort of hub in the area. Many activities take place in the cafe and the local people are very supportive. We have been open for business for 12 years. I am still involved in the Cafe and in the parish and I hope to be for a few more years. I thank God for all the graces and blessings He has given me over these last 60 years. Without Him none of this would have Sr Cecily. been possible.
Sr Anastasia of local Congregation, Sibu.
God of Another Chance by Fr Gerard Hastie mhm
St Elizabeth School, Sibu.
Pupils from the school.
Visiting with some former students.
The back doors of many of the public minibuses (matatus) here in Kenya are inscribed with words of inspiration or warning. One of the matatus that plies its trade along the main road near our formation centre has ‘God of another chance’ in bold letters written across its back door. In June last year I facilitated a group of inmates in Kamiti high security
prison who were following a course in ‘introduction to scripture and theology’ run by the Zaidi Centre for Ignatian Spirituality (two of our students normally lead the group but they were on their long holidays). We had been looking through the prophets and one of the inmates (I’ll call him Gabriel), who had been there for more than twenty years, chose to
study Ezekiel and in particular the passage on the vision of ‘dry bones’ found in 37:1-14. This passage is set in the time when the people of Judah are in exile in Babylon: they have lost their land, they have lost their king and they have lost their temple. As Gabriel narrated, ‘the people knew that in some way they were responsible for their situation, and they were lost, broken, frightened and afraid. And it was in the depth of their misery that this vision of hope emerged: they realised that God was there, God had not abandoned them, they were not condemned forever and new life was possible.’ As Gabriel concluded his reflection, he looked around at the other inmates and at me and said simply, ‘God is here’ and then he sat down. Gabriel, in his short reflection, gave witness to the God he had come to believe in. A God who, as Pope Francis reminds us again and again, is simply ‘mercy’: in God no one is condemned forever, He or She is always the God of another chance. I am coming to the end of ten years
working in formation where I have had the privilege to accompany our students in their discernment journey towards becoming missionaries within the Mill Hill Society. As I look back over the ten years I see that at different times and in different situations I have been challenged again and again to look at my own image of God: the God I claim to follow and the God I give witness to. Two images dominate. One is ‘God’ as the divine accountant: he records in my account book both the debits and the credits and I have to hope that when my time comes I’ll be in credit. This ‘God’ has little room for second chances: debts have to be repaid and there is no room for error. And I’m sure times at times this is the ‘God’ I’ve given witness to. The other God, however, is this God of mercy: the God who is like the father in the story of the ‘Prodigal Son’, who is waiting for his lost and broken child to come back so that he can simply run out and embrace him and offer him another chance. This God of mercy I have encountered again and again in the stories of the students I have accompanied as well as in the faith of the inmates and in many others who, often in challenging situations, have radiated hope and compassion by their way of life. I have especially encountered this God in the times when I have had the chance to visit our students during their two
year mission placement. I have met this God in our students as they lived among the marginalised and landless tribal people in South Pakistan as well as in the faces of the tribal people themselves. I met this merciful God in the colourful dresses and exuberant joy of the minority Christians in North West Pakistan during a parish feast where one of our students was living. I met this God in the care given to a young dying woman on the coast of Kenya and in her smile and welcome. When I look back, all I can do is be grateful for the many opportunities I have had to meet this God.
can only be grateful towards the students and my t e a m members who have often shown mercy to me and given me another Fr. Gerry Hastie. chance – surely ‘God writes straight with crooked lines.’ As I look around the Mill Hill world and see so many of our young missionaries serving generously with joy and happiness the people they have been sent to, and as I hear so many stories of how they are witnessing to God’s mercy and have experienced that mercy from the people they are with, once again I can only be grateful. God is mercy. He/ She, is always the God of another chance.
At the entrance to the Foundation Centre.
Ten years in formation work, as I’ve accompanied students in their struggles and joys, I have had to learn to accept more and more, and work on, my own many struggles and joys. I have had to own the truth of the fact that I am a fairly cracked earthenware vessel, and I
Some of the student houses.
His Life, Work & Mission. by Fr. Robert O’ Neil. CTS
The CTS have recently published this biography of our founder, Cardinal Herbert Vaughan. Fr John Buckley wrote an appreciation in the online newsletter ‘ICN’. “Recently I was thrilled to read that “The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School”, Kensington London, had received two prestigious awards in the field of education. I thought how Herbert Vaughan must have smiled as he looked down from Heaven. To my mind Herbert Vaughan ranks with the great Catholic giants of history. He should be placed alongside Fisher and More and Manning and Newman. Vaughan was a man of great integrity, deep faith and a passionate hope which finalised in a capacity to love as Christ his master beckoned. He was a true patriot and one might say the very best of British. Truth and a sense of Justice were so evident in all his dealings with Church and State. He had about him a serenity and calmness that impressed all who came into contact with him. His oyster was the world and made him the great missionary and all this especially he got from his mother the beautiful Eliza Rolls Vaughan. Till death he kept her picture with him.
This beautifully produced and written CTS p a m p h l e t [costing £2.50] is a worthy tribute to its founder.” Also recently published by the CTS is a re-print of a booklet “Who is St Joseph?” written by Cardinal Vaughan when he was Bishop of Salford (18721892) as one of his “Religious Books for the People”. It is now published as one of 25 ‘CTS Onefifties’ as part of the celebration of the founding of the CTS by Cardinal Vaughan 150 years ago. The booklet costs only £1.50.
The number of Catholics in the world has risen by 12.5 million The number of Catholics in the world has increased to almost one billion and 300 million - 17.7% of the world’s population according to figures from the latest Church’s Book of Statistics. 1 billion,100,000 people live in Africa, 19.42% are Catholics (222 million), with an increase of 0.12%. In (North, Central, South) America, out of 982.2 million inhabitants, 63.6% are Catholics (625 million), with a decrease of 0.08%. In Asia, out of 4.3 billion people, 3.24% of the population (141 million) are Catholics, an unvaried figure. In Europe, the population is increasing (716 million), but for the second year in a row, the number of Catholics is 39.87% (285 million), a decrease of 0.21%. 38.7 million people live in Oceania, 26.36% are Catholics (10.2 million), with an increase of 0.24% compared to the previous year. There are 5,304 Bishops and 415,656 priests. The Catholic Church runs 216,548 schools in the world, attended by over 60 million pupils. In addition, almost five and a half million young people attend Catholic institutes during high school and university studies. Finally there are about 118 thousand Catholic social and charitable institutes (hospitals, Care Homes for people with Leprosy, orphanages, homes for the Elderly) scattered throughout the world.
St Bakanja Maternity/Health Centre Completed To say that he is still firing on all cylinders may be a slight exaggeration, but at age 75 thoughts of retirement are still far removed from Brother Huub Welters’ mind. “I’ll continue for another three years here in Cameroon”, he says confidently. In the span of more than 50 years of loving service he has put his considerable talents at the service of the local Church in Anglophone Cameroon. Architect, builder, fund raiser, accountant, administrator, legal advisor, pastoral worker, teacher – the list of his varied involvements is extensive.
The rural setting of the new Health Centre, Ilung.
Brother Hubert Welters and Henry Kang disuss future plans.
sites. His has good reason to be proud. The number of buildings which carry his signature is impressive. To mention but the most prestigious: The design for St Joseph’s Cathedral, Bamenda, came from his drawing table. Recently he added the much needed Maternity/Health Centre at Ilung, a parish confided to the Mill Hill Missionaries in the archdiocese of Bamenda, to his long list of building achievements and sent a detailed photographic impression of the completed building. Help also came from local authorities and from the central government. The mayor of Fundong provided the funds needed to connect the Centre to the road network. And, Bro Huub writes with evident satisfaction: “The government has constructed a new road from Ilung to Achain to enable the people of Achain to make use of the Maternity/Health Centre in Ilung”.
On a visit to the Mill Hill missionaries in Anglophone Cameroon some time ago I accepted Brother Huub’s invitation to come and see some of his building projects in Ilung and Fons Eppink mhm Njinikom. Together with his Cameroonian assistant and right hand man, Henry Kang, we visited several schools, a hospital, multipurpose halls in outstations. I came away hugely impressed both with the thought that had gone into the design as with the solidity and care of execution. Huub talked a mile a With the government’s help, good road links have been minute when he took established with the much needed Health Centre. me around the various
Turmoil in Cameroon
Blessed Isidore Bakanja was born in the Congo about 1888. He was baptised in 1906, and worked on a rubber plantation. The Belgian manager, Andre van Cauter, was a sadistic antiChristian, who forbade any display of Christianity among his workers; ‘it would only encourage the workers to get above themselves’, he thought. One day, enraged by the young man’s scapular, the manager kicked and flogged Isidore and had him chained-up for three days. Later a
Blessed Isadore Bakanja.
Bishop Andrew Nkea has called for 40 days of prayer for peace in his diocese and throughout the Englishspeaking part of Cameroon. The Diocese of Mamfe has become the focus of brutal response to peaceful protests about injustices in Anglophone Cameroon. In a statement of October 6th 2017 the Bishops condemned “the barbarism and irresponsible use of firearms
against unarmed civilians by the Forces of Law and Order”, and called on President Biya to stop “the bloodbath and genocide that has skilfully been initiated in the North West and South West Regions.” Bishop Nkea has accused the Cameroon military of brutalizing villagers, forcing them from their homes and setting their houses ablaze. Almost 5,000 people have
kindly Belgian Inspector learned of what had happened, took pity on Isidore, and arranged for him to be cared for. The manager was dismissed. Some visiting missionaries, seeing his badlyinfected wounds and the pain he was enduring, realised he had not long to live. After giving him the Last Rites Isidore told them what had happened and said “I’m not angry with the white man. If he beat me, that’s his problem, not mine. If I die, I’ll pray for him in heaven.” He died on August 15th 1909, and was beatified in 1994, ‘a martyr for the scapular.’ A Congolese Christian today.
MHM in front of burned-out house, Kembong.
Bishop Nkea visits after the attack.
had to flee from the village of Kembong; the remaining 30 people have taken refuge in the house of the Parish Priest, MHM Fr Tiberius Vuni (who hails from Uganda.) Discontent has been growing at the perceived marginalization of Anglophones throughout the two English-speaking Regions over the last few years Teachers and lawyers have been on protest strikes; schools and universities have been closed; businesses open for only limited periods; public transport nonexistent. People speak of ‘Ghost Town’ conditions. The situation has been exacerbated by a secessionist movement that has led to a declaration of independence for ‘Ambazonia’ – the Anglophone part of the otherwise mainly Frenchspeaking country. Unfortunately some of the independence supporters have been involved in
clashes that have led to the death of four soldiers. The secessionists have been denounced as ‘terrorists’ by the 83 year-old President, who has been in office since 1982; he is only the second President in the country since independence in 1961. At first the newly-independent country was a Federal Republic, with two States based on the previous colonial rulers, Britain and France. (Prior to the First World War Cameroon had been a German Protectorate since 1884. Today, the Anglophones make up around 20% of the population, the Francophones 80%.) The two official languages (French and English), the education and legal systems (French/British) in the two States were to be guaranteed. A referendum in 1972 dissolved the federation in favour of a ‘United
Republic’; thereby the guarantees began to be eroded in favour of the majority Frenchspeakers. In an earlier attack on Kembong Village, Fr Tiberius Vuni mhm pleaded with the military to stop shooting and allow people to return to their homes. In response Visiting mhms welcomed to Kembong Church before the attacks. the soldiers said they would continue ‘to teach the people a lesson.’ In it come to that.” A few days later the October, Fr Vuni opened the Church priests were told that no Mass should doors as usual for Sunday Mass, but be celebrated henceforth because the soldiers refused to allow people the Governor had said so. to gather for Mass. Nonetheless, Fr In a letter to all Christians, Bishop Vuni – joined with other MHM’s in Nkea calls on them to dedicate at the parish, and some MHM students, least 30 minutes of silent prayer joined to offer Holy before the Blessed Sacrament, every Mass. “After all” said Vuni, “by day for 40 days before morning virtue of their Mass. He wrote of how he had m i s s i o n a r y visited Kembong two hours after the oath they soldiers left, and saw the devastation had already caused by the attackers. He was told s i g n a l l e d of how three or four trucks full of t h e i r soldiers had arrived and started readiness to put their beating up the people and burning lives on their houses. He called for “God’s and miraculous the line supernatural s h o u l d intervention for peace in our land.”
An anxious Fr Tiberius Vuni mhm pleads for the violence to stop.
A life of Love and Missionary Service: Fr John McClorey: 1924 – 2017
Joyful celebration, Sarawak.
“And now, first of all …” Fr John came from Airdrie, and was one of the first students in St Joseph’s College, Lochwinnoch. He was ordained priest in 1949 and then read for a degree at Durham University. After his teacher’s training at Jordanhill he taught in our British minor seminaries before being appointed in 1961 to Malaysia where he worked for the next thirty years, in pastoral and educational roles in the diocese of Miri. Part of the diocese was in the independent and overwhelmingly Muslim – and oilrich state of Brunei. John was principal of St Michael’s School in
Seria, and also in charge of the town’s multi-ethnic parish (one of three parishes in the whole Brunei State.) In 1991 he was forced to leave Brunei (his residence visa was not renewed) – to the great distress and sadness of the parishioners. He was the last MHM to serve in Brunei. [It was while I was visiting him in Brunei for a few days as a member of the then General Council that Fr John received his expulsion notice. Ed.] After short spells in parish work in Perth, Australia, and in Scotland, John volunteered in 1996 (at the age of 72) to assist in our Formation
programme in India. He taught in Hyderabad for five years before retiring to Herbert House in 2001. Before leaving for India he published his 300-page ‘Alternative History of Miri Diocese 1961-1991,’ with the whimsical subtitle “And now, first of all” [All teachers will know how unconsciously repeated phrases are pounced-upon by their students! Ed.] The book is an entertaining and uplifting account of the growth of the Church in this part of the world – but it also gives us glimpses of the missionary spirit that fired Fr John. Below are some extracts that give a flavour of the book and of the man.
A Watershed Lifetransforming Experience “The year 1984 was a watershed in my life. At that time there were only four priests left in the whole state. Although the old Sultan (the Ruler of Brunei) had guaranteed that there could be seven, the present
government had rejected any new applications. The MHM priest in the capital, Brunei Town,. had a big parish and a school to look after, but was in failing health. When he was withdrawn, Fr Peter Chiang, the Chinese parish priest in Seria, was appointed to the parish in the capital. I had then to take charge of the parish as well as St Michael’s School. Fr Peter had introduced the Charismatic Renewal, after being initially sceptical. Now the whole parish was caught-up in the Renewal, as were most of the other parishes in the diocese. The Bishop even came to try and persuade me to join; I promised to think about it. There were now Prayer Meetings for the different language groups – Chinese, Malay, Filipino, etc. I could not pour cold water on them or try to block them. I started going into the meeting and sitting at the back – just to ‘keep an eye’ on things. Despite my Calvinist frown I was welcomed,
but stayed only for part of the meeting….One night, I do not know what happened, I just sat down among them at the front. I was sitting among the charismatics! It became for me the greatest experience since my ordination. It was the beginning of a time of great consolation to me. The dullness of my spiritual life, the routine of prayer fell away and in its place came sweetness and freshness. I began to live again. Fr Peter was delighted when he heard the news. Each year our parishes would meet for a day of prayer. I melt when I think of the volume of prayer that went up from our poor people, many first generation converts to the faith and soon to be scattered all over the world. There was this intensity of praise and worship of the one true God from the midst of an everencroaching Islam intent on our destruction. There swept over the State a revival of the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Each parish now had its prayer room where the Sacred Host was publicly worshiped at all hours of the day. This was God’s gift to sustain us in the dark days that lay ahead for all of us, priests and people alike.”
Fr Solanus Casey ofm cap - Wonderworker “After Mass one Sunday I was hurrying to get back to my own place when the sacristan detained me. He wanted me to read a leaflet about the life of Fr Solanus Casey who had a great reputation as a wonder-worker. I was tired; I was now caring for two
parishes and a school. I stuck the leaflet into my pocket and promised to read it later. When I got back home, I put it unceremoniously into the drawer of my office desk. That afternoon a young couple came to see me in obvious distress. The husband’s young brother had fallen from an upper verandah and landed in the monsoon drain, where his head got stuck between the concrete supports. He was now in hospital to be operated on, but if he survived he would surely lose his sight. I tried to comfort them, prayed with them, and told them to trust in the Lord. As I spoke I remembered the leaflet given to me earlier in the day. In faith, I gave it to them and asked them to pray for the intercession of Fr Solanus. The husband was a recent convert; all his relatives were Buddhist. After evening Mass I went to the hospital, and prayed with the couple for the boy’s recovery during the long operation. The doctors announced it was a complete success. Even his eyesight had been saved. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night. I could hardly believe what I had experienced all in that one day. Since that time Fr Solanus has been a great friend of mine; he has helped me in the most unusual ways. I make a point of telling others about him if the occasion arises. Born in Wisconsin, his parents had come to the USA from County Armagh. He tried his vocation in the diocesan seminary but could not manage the studies. He took up all kinds of jobs including tram car conductor and
prison warder. He tried the Capuchins in Detroit, but again found the studies beyond him. However, the Rector refused to ask him to leave: his influence and example were a powerful help to the others. A compromise was reached. He was eventually ordained on the condition he should never preach or hear confessions. His special apostolate until he died at the age of 86 was counselling. Many miracles of healing were attributed to him, especially from cancer. He was the friend of the poor in the terrible days of the Great Depression. In 1995 he was declared Venerable. There should be no difficulty in finding the miracles necessary for the next stage to canonization.” Fr Solanus (pictured right) was declared ‘Blessed’ in a ceremony in Detroit, November 18th 2017
Silver Circle Winners October 2017
November 2017 09 Jackie Williams £25
65 Isobel Conroy £15
219 M. Morrison
December 2017 286 McMorrow 270 Hattie
73 M. Hughes
300 John Gallagher £15
377 Anne Robertson £10
199 Rita Gallagher £25
129 Mr Stadelius
182 Philip Hendry £10
Congratulations to them all.
Getting Africa on its feet: Building Peace Together On January 18th 2018, at a great gathering of mainly African clergy, seminarians, university students in Rome Cardinal Peter Turkson spoke of the Vatican’s efforts to ‘get Africa on its feet’, and build peace in the troubled continent. He directed his remarks in particular to two impoverished and war-torn countries in particular – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. Mill Hill Missionaries have a long-established, though today much-diminished, connection with these two countries. The Cardinal noted that both these nations have strong Christian majorities, which means that the Church can play a
major role in social change. The Vatican event had been planned long before the alleged remarks of President Trump on January 11th that were disparaging and dismissive about some countries in Africa.
Congo The World Bank estimates that 77% of Congo’s population lives on $1.90 a day; that is considered “extreme poverty”. The country’s GDP of $445 per capita is the third-lowest in the world. The Congo has been the epicentre of what’s been called “the Great War of Africa” in which 2 to 5 million people have been killed. The
country remains gripped by violence, and is home to 2.7 million internally displaced persons. At least 3,000 people have been killed in fighting over the last nine months. Agreements had been signed in December 2016 when President Joseph Kabila’s mandate expired for fresh elections to be held, and for Kabila not to stand as a candidate. Catholic laity have organized demonstrations to protest the failure of the Agreements. On Sunday January 21st 2018 at least two nuns were kidnapped by the police in the clashes that followed a peaceful demonstration. Ten priests were arrested in Kinshasa, the capital. There were similar peaceful demonstrations in several other large cities, and again the police and military responded with violence. In one city
soldiers entered the Cathedral and interrupted the Mass. The United Nations Mission in the country reported that six people have been killed and a hundred people arrested. The Apostolic Nunciature confirmed that the police fired on the demonstrators in Kinshasa and other cities.
South Sudan South Sudan received its independence from Sudan in 2011, but since then has been torn apart by a disastrous civil war. The United Nations reports that at least 80% of the population lives on the equivalent of less than $1.00 a day, and more than one third of the population lacks secure access to food. A cease-fire agreed on December 24th 2017 between forces loyal to
Above: Mill Hill Parish in Juba, South Sudan. Right: Cardinal Peter Turkson.
Children of the Congo.
President Salva Kiir and militias allied with the Vice President Riech Machar has been violated by both sides.
Feeding the Starving Cardinal Turkson told the gathering in Rome about a recent visit to South Sudan when he and the Archbishop of Juba (capital city of South Sudan) personally went to collect firewood, brought it back, built a fire, and put large pots on it to cook a basic meal for starving people displaced by the fighting. “Human beings aren’t meant to live like that” he said. He vowed that in both countries the Church would remain active. Sister Yudith Pereira Rico described working with people suffering from cholera, malaria and hunger, as well as women who had been raped amid the
chaos of the fighting. She said all of them, “without exception” insist that the only hope they have comes from their faith. “I had little hope from the peace process,” she said. “I had to listen to these people - to receive hope.”
Corrupt Leaders In Congo the country’s bishops have publicly insisted that it’s time for President Joseph Kabila to step aside. Cardinal Turkson (who hails from Ghana) is one of the main advisers of Pope Francis. He stressed the essential link between peace and development. Sadly, too many African leaders, through corruption, mismanagement, and the use of violence for personal ends, have chosen to leave the continent in poverty.
Novena in honour of St. Joseph Join us in our
Novena of Prayer to St Joseph Novena prayers will be said at the 9.00 a.m. Mass beginning on Saturday March 10th, ending Sunday 18th March. This year the Feast of St Joseph will be celebrated on Monday 19th March. If you would like to receive a copy of the St Joseph Novena booklet: please send £1.50. This will be the version used in St Joseph’s House for the Novena. Copies of the older (and shorter) version of the booklet are available FREE: phone or write (contact details on page 3).
Formators Meeting in Pune (Recently, fifteen MHM’s involved in forming future Mill Hill Missionaries gathered in the Indian city of Pune, where we have our most recently opened Formation Centre. They were accompanied by two members of the General Council, Fr Andrew Mukulu, who is from Uganda (and worked in South Africa and Cameroon), - and Fr Jimmy Lindero (who worked in Pakistan) who is from the Philippines. A sign of the ‘changing face of mission’, and of our missionary Society is that most of the formators are from Africa and Asia. Fr Gerry Hastie (from Clarkston), who was also at the meeting, will soon complete his term as Rector of our biggest formation centre in Nairobi, Kenya. A Time Apart in a Cameroonian Monastery Earlier this year eight MHM students gathered in the Cistercian monastery at Mbengwi in the Bamenda Highlands, for some time of prayer and reflection on their time of ‘missionary experience’ in Cameroon. Three were from the Congo, two from the Philippines, one from Uganda, one from Kenya, and one from India. They were led by the Fr Shudzeka who is the Vocations Director for Cameroon, and oversees the students over the two years missionary exposure, after which they will resume their studies for the missionary priesthood. The students expressed how they had come to realise that mission was not about remaining in one’s ‘comfort zone’, but about “reaching out to those on the periphery of society, those in greatest need, the excluded, the voiceless.” Ordinations On February 3rd Bishop Michael Bibi ordained to the priesthood Fr Elvis Mbangsi Suuh and Fr John Paul Bangsi mhm in St Jude’s Parish, Elvis MbangsiJohn Paul AlexanderFundong, Cameroon. On Suuh. Bangsi. Toaghang-Kimbi February 9th Bishop Bibi is due to ordain Rev. Alexander Kimbi Toaghang mhm in Mbesa, Cameroon. After some time at home all three will then take up their missionary appointments in other countries.
Institute of St Anselm This institute was founded by Fr Leonard Kofler mhm, and has been based in Cliftonville, Kent, for many years. The Institute was founded to help to form those working in the formation of future priests and religious. Those attending the various courses on offer came from Europe, and latterly mainly from Asia and Africa. Sadly, visa restrictions eventually closed the Institute; anti-immigrant feeling in that part of England is particularly strong, and in spite of the support of
prominent and influential people like the former MP Ann Widdicombe, appeals were turned down. Overseas students were seen as covert asylumseekers. However, 82-year old Fr Kofler was not to be defeated altogether: earlier in the year he managed to reopen the institute in a rented building in Rome, where he is joined on the staff by another intrepid octogenarian, Fr John McCluskey mhm who comes from Kilmarnock.
Student numbers in our Mill Hill Formation Houses Jinja, Uganda:
(student from Congo, Kenya, Uganda):
(students from Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan):
Karunapuram, India: (students from various Indian States):
Bamenda, Cameroon: (students all from Cameroon):
(students from Kenya and Uganda):
(students from various Indian States:
(students from various Indian States):
(students from Cameroon, Congo, Uganda, Malaysia, Kenya, India, Philippines):
(students from Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, India, Philippines):
Total number of students: 203 - 140 in ‘Major Formation’ - 63 in the earlier stages of Formation • Especially in the later stages of the formation of our Mill Hill Missionaries it is important that students have experience of countries and cultures different from their own. • Our students and their Formators depend greatly on the continued prayer and material support of all our Mill Hill Friends and Benefactors.
Obituaries LET US PRAY FOR OUR DEAD
Recently deceased Mill Hill Missionaries Fr Kees Groenewoud: aged 74; worked most of his life in Uganda, especially in youth ministry. Fr Brian Coffey: aged 72; worked in Congo, then for many years in hospitalchaplaincy work in New Yorm. Fr John McClorey: aged 93; worked in Malaysia and Brunei (see article page 22.) Fr Wim Bos: aged 87; worked over 50 years in Sarawak, Malaysia. Fr Kees Breed: aged 92; after obtaining a doctorate in Canon Law in Rome he worked for most of the rest of his life in the Philippines, where he was involved in social action and the media. Fr Patrick Neville: aged90; he worked in education in Uganda, but also for some years in our College at Lochwinnoch; for many years he was involved in mission promotion in USA and England. Fr Richard Oberhauser: aged 84; after earning a degree in Classics at Innsbruck University he worked for 38 years in education, then in various pastoral and administrative roles. Fr David Bingham: He was born in Kenya where his father was working and died aged 86. He served in Sarawak (Malaysia) for 45 years; in 2001 he was awarded the OBE. He then worked on Mission promotion in England until he retired in October 2014. He often jokingly quoted a person who said he must be either mad or bad! He added “I leave it to you (the reader) to decide into which category I fall ”. On his golden jubilee the
General Superior wrote to him, “The Lord gave you great energy and an enquiring mind, and a good sense of humour. Your ability to move among people of all religions and cultures has surely enriched your life and promoted the Reign of God.” Fr Frank Thompson: born in Coventry in 1939, Fr Frank was appointed after ordination to Kenya. During his years there he injured his back, which caused him much suffering for the rest of his life. For many years he worked in England promoting our missionary work, but also engaged in pastoral ministry which included work with the Samaritans as a listener and trainer. He retired in 2016 having developed Parkinson’s Disease. Recently Deceased Friends and Benefactors Fr. Tom Murphy: former parish priest of Corpus Christi, Glasgow – and other parishes. Uncle of MHM Fr Philip O’Halloran Sarah Boyce (Donegal): aunt of Fr Hugh O’Donnell Philomena Stewart (Coatbridge) Charlie Heenan (Knightswood; former Lochwinnoch student) Betty Dawson (Mosspark) Jimmy Cleary (Cardonald) James Hurll (Bishopton) Frank Mellon (East Kilbride) Josephine Parker (Cambuslang Joseph Brown (Chapelhall) Martha McDade (Muirhead) John Lenehan (Merrylee)
St. Josephâ€™s House, 30 Lourdes Avenue, Cardonald, Glasgow G52 3QU. Tel: 0141 883 0139. Email: email@example.com Mill Hill Website: www.millhillmissionaries.com Registered Charity Number: SCO39809