This edition of our newsletter appears at a challenging time. I write these words a couple of days after we decided to cancel all retreat activity till the end of April and after I received the bishops’ decision to suspend all acts of public worship for the foreseeable future. When you read these words other decisions may have been taken and further restrictions imposed.

We live in uncertain times when everyone has been affected by Covid-19 or Corona virus in one or the other. Lives have been turned upside down. It has caused illness and death. It has created anxiety and fear. There are concerns about what will happen next.

Our staff, volunteers and the community at Minsteracres share in these concerns and we are in solidarity with our wider community of friends, volunteers, retreatants and parishioners. We hold you in our prayers as we try to maintain the rhythm of prayer in the spiritual place as best as we can.

This crisis is unfolding during the season of Lent. This is sometimes described as a ‘grace-filled time’ when we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. It is already clear that the celebration of Easter will be different from other years. But in whatever way we are able to express it this year, I hope we still do so in ways that keep alive the hope of the resurrection and new life which Easter promises.

Every time when I look out of our chapel windows I see the Cross of Hope. The light that shines through the body of the crucified Christ symbolises the hope that we will get through this difficult period and rise to a new beginning.

I pray we will keep alive this hope as we journey through these difficult times; that we may be attentive to the graces and signs of life that appear and we may support each other, keep one another in prayer and maintain the bond of friendship.

With best wishes on behalf of the community and staff at Minsteracres.

By Fr. Jeroen Hoogland CP, Rector