dear brothers and sisters,
books are packed, which is a sure sign that a Dominican is about
to move. There is only one last thing that I must do before I go
to the airport to fly to the General Chapter, and that is to say
a brief word of thanks to the Order and the whole Dominican Family.
Everywhere, during these nine years, I have been welcomed as your
brother, with immense kindness, love and generosity. When I was
elected I asked again for God's mercy and yours and it has always
heart and mind have been stretched in ways that I could never have
anticipated, and for this I give thanks too. There has been the
immense joy of discovering the vibrancy and the diversity of the
Order. This is a time that is full of promise for us in most parts
of the world. In so many places I have had the extraordinary joy
of meeting young friars and sisters, at the beginning of their Dominican
life, who have filled me with hope for the future. Do not be discouraged
ever! Above all I give thanks to God for all the thousands of Dominicans
who give themselves to the mission of the Order in ways that are
sometimes undramatic and unnoticed, faithful to their commitment
to preach the gospel 'until death'. You are truly a sign of God's
fidelity in Christ.
have also been confronted with the sorrow and the violence of this
world. I never knew before what this meant. Nothing has touched
me so much as my trips to Rwanda, Burundi, the Congo, Algeria, Iraq,
Chiappas, the barrios in many cities in Latin America and so many
other places of war and poverty. I give thanks to God for the extraordinary
witness to hope that our brethren and sisters are giving in such
places. I pray that the whole Dominican Family will remember and
support them. My only regret is that often my visits have been so
rapid, because of the immense demands of the programme.
give thanks that I have had the privilege of serving the Order in
this way, and I give thanks that I have now arrived at the end of
my mandate. Now I will take a sabbatical break. I have not had the
time to think about where or how, but I would like to have moments
of rest, contemplation, solitude and study. Many people now ask
what I will do then. It is marvellous that I do not know. That is
our freedom. I will see what my superiors will wish me to do.
my successor receive the same wonderful support as me, and may St
Dominic bless us all with his courage and joy.
brother in St Dominic
Timothy Radcliffe OP