Monday, April 27, 2009

A Spirit of Welcome: Immaculate Conception Parish, San Diego (Old Town): April 18 - 23, 2009

April 27, 2009

Peace and Good,

I preached another mission on the writings of St. Paul in Immaculate Conception Parish in Old Town, San Diego. What a welcoming community! The parish is situated right in the middle of a tourist area and there are people coming in an out of the Church and Gift Shop all day long. The parish community and staff go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. This is truly a great opportunity for pre-evangelization and evangelization. Walking through the Church one afternoon to head to the Reconciliation Room, I met a group of Japanese tourists and was able to explain some of the details of the Church to them. It really is one of those cases of what I used to say to my students who were preparing for the priesthood: Ministry is what you do while you are getting ready to do ministry.

The Gift Shop is well run and readily accessible. I have noticed that many people would wander off the street and see what it offered. In our own gift shop in Ellicott City, we have seen where about a third of the rosaries sold were sold to non-Catholics (they often asked for booklets on how to pray it). We Catholics love sacramentals, and they can be an effective way to evangelize.

I finished a major project: a 10 CD set on the Book of Genesis. It is a grad level course that I taught a number of years ago. I had to redo a few sections of it to improve the audio quality, but I think it all turned out well. If anyone is interested in purchasing it, you can contact us at It costs $50 with postage. I am working on another set on the prophets. I think it will end up being 12 CD's and it should be ready in about a month's time. Are there any requests for topics that I have not yet done?

Joe Hamilton, who works with me on a number of our internet projects, reminded me that if anyone wants to subscribe to this blog, you can note it in the box to the right of the posting. That way, the new blogs will automatically be sent to you.

I have finished a book on the Mississippi flood of 1927. It is called Rising Tide by John M. Barry. It is quite good, and covers a number of related topics that give a good background to his main thesis. Being an author, I love when I find out the meaning of various sayings. He expained the meaning of the saying, "being sold down the river." It has to do with slavery. When the slaves held in the upper south were "sold down the river," they were being sold into the deep south where slavery tended to be much more brutal.

The book also talks about the phenomenon of the Klan. One paragraph really made an impression.

"American populism has always been a complex phenomenon containing an ugly element, an element of exlusivity and divisiveness. It has always had an 'us' againt a 'them.' The 'them' has often included not only an enemy above but also an enemy below. The enemy above was whoever was viewed as the boss... ; in the 1920's the enemy below was Catholics, immigrants, blacks, and political radicals." p. 154

This struck home because I have been very disturbed by the tenor of the political (and cultural) discussion in the past couple of years. There are things that must be opposed if we are to be consistent in our beliefs, but can it be done in a way that does not betray the Christian values that we try to uphold. Hate belongs to the devil, not to us. Even our friar St. Maximillian Kolbe, when asked whether they should hate the Nazi's, responded that only love conquers. How that love is to be expressed is always the difficult question, but if we end up hating and degrading others, then we are not doing the Spirit's work. This holds for all the sides of the questions, because one side or another of a dialog can want itself to appear more mature when it is really just self-righteous and subtly arrogant. I really have to keep praying about his and turning it over to the Lord.

God bless and


fr. Jude


  1. Dear Father Jude,

    When you were visiting us for your mission at Saint Thomas More in Cherry Hill (Psalms), I bought two sets of CDs, one on the Resurrection narratives and one on Isaiah. I listened to them over and over while I was was driving, and was so happy to have some questions answered (why so many different versions of number of women at the tomb, for example). The cds meant so much to me I shared them with my parents, who were happy to receive them, and I will let you know if they give me any feedback. Meanwhile, I have asked my family to give me some more of your cds for Mother's Day--instead of flowers or chocolate, both of which I love, but I need the cds more. Thank you for putting the cds together, and sharing your knowledge with us. Very truly yours, a parishioner of STM, Cherry Hill

  2. Peace and Good,
    Thank you so much for your kind comments on the CD's. They have been going very well. I think that so many people commute and they like to listen to something about their faith as they drive to work. I am now finishing up the very last of the audio tape series that I am making into CD's. The process is a bit tedious, but we are coming to an end. After that, I will be looking for new themes to develop. Let me know if you think of anything in scripture that you would like to see covered in the CD format.
    fr. Jude