Dear Companions and friends,

I hope that you are well and happy. It has been a very busy start to 2018 and I have been involved with many of the Community’s projects. 2017 saw one of the happiest Christmases I can remember. As always the Gospel story was inspiring as we celebrated Christ’s birth at midnight and throughout Christmas Day. The younger members of the Community worked tirelessly and joyfully to ensure that we were filled with Christmas cheer. A blissful retreat was followed by the first of three General Chapters where the seasonal goodwill was enhanced by a careful, generous and Christian approach which would lead to the installation of Oswin as our new Superior. We are delighted to have him and we also thank George for his tireless marathon of service to God and the Community.

Thank you all for your Christmas greetings. In the wake of Chapter and the election the Community has had to use a lot of time getting used to changes which will involve changes of work for several brethren and I am only now managing to catch up with deskwork. I came back from a short visit to Ireland to find over 100 emails. I felt like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice – every time I answered one two more appeared. Two other pieces of post-Christmas news – Marc has been elected (his profession will be on 12th March) and Gavin has arrived in the noviciate as a postulant.

Two ongoing pieces of work for me are the WW1 research and the auction. The first is like an octopus that keeps growing new tentacles. I find out new things all the time and new paths to explore. I am a little too old for the task and I wish that I had started earlier but I am enjoying it and it makes me love CR more and more. I went with a Naval Chaplain, Fr David Simpson, to the Borthwick Institute in mid-January. We share a Common interest in WW1 chaplains and I was able to give him some information on CR chaplains who had served in the Navy. I spent a whole day reading letters from former Superior Keble Talbot to his brother Neville. Both of them were in the Ypres area. Talbot Houes was called after Gilbert Talbot their young brother who was killed in that terrible war.

And on the other front the auction is doing very well.  We have over two hundred and twenty lots many of them of very fine quality.

Do look at the auction gallery on our website and text it to your friends. As always publicity will play a big part in how successful we shall be.

If you have promised anything for the auction please think about getting it to me soon so that I can catalogue it and photograph it.

Please pray for me and for all who will help.

I know that many of you have been ill this winter and I hope by now that coughs, sore throats and tummy aches have cleared up and that healing has come to those who have been in pain or distress. Last night we had the ceremonies of Ash Wednesday with the solemn reminder that ‘dust thou art and to dust shalt thou return.’ So we face the long journey through Lent to Holy Week and Easter. Fabian and I will be in the parish of Cross Green for Holy Week to work with Fr Darren Percival. As usual I will be reading the Divine Comedy for my Lenten observance.

Have a good Lent and may God take you to the place where he needs you to be.

Love and prayers,

John cr