Father Gérard T. Lagleder O.S.B.
P O Box 440
Republic of South Africa
Phone +27 (032) 456 2743
Fax +27 (032) 456 7962
Christmas 2001 / New Year 2002
My dear family, friends and benefactors,
This Christmas letter has mainly two aims: Firstly, of course, to wish you God’s blessings for Christmas and the New Year 2002 and secondly to thank you for all your prayers and sacrifices with which you have supported my missionary work.
I feel very bad, that I cannot keep up with all my personal correspondence and many of you have never received a letter from me. There are just not enough hours in a day, although I would love to express my very deep and personal gratitude to all of you. Allow me to say a cumulative “Thank you” now for all your support in prayers and donations. I say a very special “Thanks” to all who have asked for donations for our work in lieu of gifts for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries or in lieu of flowers at a funeral. “Thanks” to those who have named the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard as a beneficiary in their will. “Thanks” to all our donor members and regular donors and to those who have put the needs of our patients above their own commodities. I know that many of our benefactors do not just give from their abundance, but live a simpler lifestyle to share their modest income with the less fortunate. It is really edifying and admirable to see that so many of you consider your support for my mission work a participation in my vocation. This truly spurs me on and I know that I could do very little without your help.
I am well aware that my workload will not decrease to give me time for more correspondence. Therefore I would like to invite you to visit our homepages on the Internet, which are updated regularly. Our general homepage is at http://bbg.org.za, the hospice homepage is at http://bbg.org.za/hospice/ and the children’s home homepage is at http://bbg.org.za/childhome/.
I have some good news: The local authorities have approved the architect’s plans for the extension of our hospice and the new construction of our Children’s Home. We will put them out on tender in January and hope to start building in February 2002. The architect is convinced that the new wings will be finished by October 2002. Therefore we envisage the official blessing and opening on the 10th anniversary of our Brotherhood at the end of October 2002.
The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard was until now purely a Church organisation established as a “Private Association of Christ’s Faithful” according to Canon Law and a Relief Organisation of the Order of Malta. We have now drawn up a new constitution to enable us also to register with the Government of South Africa and to gain juridical personality in Civil Law. This will bring us tax relief and encourage local donors, who will be able to declare their donations to us to get a tax refund. The new constitution is still in Rome for approval by the Order of Malta before it will be promulgated and submitted to the South African Government.
Many people have asked me, when I would go on “home leave” to Germany again
and, at this moment, only God knows the answer. I have so much to do, that I
cannot afford to run just away. I know that I need a rest, but when the Pope was
once asked, why he would not “go slow” with his workload, he answered with a
“Don’t worry, I will be able to rest when I get to heaven.” I like and adopt his philosophy.
Once again: A deep and heartfelt “Thank you” and a Bavarian “Vergelt’s Gott” (=May God reward you) for all your friendship and help and loyal support.
May the light of Christmas shine deeply into your own heart and give you the warmth and comfort which only God can give.
Father Gérard T. Lagleder O.S.B.
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