Friday, April 17, 2009

St. Joseph Cupertino Friary, Ellicott City, MD: April 13 - 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

Peace and Good,

Finally, a few days at home. This has been a very busy mission season with a lot of travel. It was great to be back home with the friars, even if it was only for a few days.

We have been remodeling our friary for the past several months. When I arrived home, I was able to move into my new room. Originally, the rooms were quite small and we had common bathrooms. We now have a elevator (48 steps from basement to the second floor where we live). We have a bedroom, a study and a bathroom. They did a great job. The rooms are also very quiet (I'm always thinking of places to tape by daily reflections, etc.). I think I am going to enjoy it a lot.

There have also been changes in the main chapel. We have had a major relic of St. Anthony of Padua for a number of years now, a gift of the friars in Padua. It has been the focal point of our devotion to St. Anthony as the patron of the lost. Now there is a beautiful shrine in the chapel for the reliquary. It is shaped like a tree and the reliquary is in the middle of that tree. The reason for this shape is the fact that in the last months of St. Anthony's life, the friars brought him to a place named Camposanpiero north of Padua to recover for his illnesses. The ground in that region is very damp during the spring, and his health was not improving. They therefore built a cell for him in a walnut tree to let him rest off the ground.

The other change to the chapel is the beautiful painting that Fr. Joe Dorniak has done in the front of the chapel. He has painted the scene of St. Francis' reception of the stigmata that is found in the Basilica in Assisi. He is so, so talented, and I am sure that this painting will inspire many of those who visit us at the Shrine. (For those who have not visited our friary, we are using it as a spirituality center.)

I have finished a couple of books in this past week. One is an audio tape series on Mark Twain by Ron Powers. Whenever I travel in my van, I am always listening to one tape series and one CD series. I enjoyed the Mark Twain biography because I have heard so much about him and yet knew so little.

The other book I finished is called 69 A.D.: the Year of four Emperors by Gwyn Morgan. I love history, and this particular topic was important for my scripture studies. We believe that St. Mark wrote his gospel in Rome in 70 A.D. The civil war that followed the death of Nero devastated large sections of the Roman empire, including parts of the city of Rome. Were some of the descriptions included in Mark's Gospel influenced by the events of that tumultuous year? Was this part of the reason why he felt he had to write his Gospel - because things were so chaotic that he was afraid that the witness might be lost? I have to reflect on this for the next few weeks. This book is not an easy read. It gets very involved in which legion was where and when they fought, etc. Yet, it was well worth reading.

I'll be in San Diego this week in Old Town, Immaculate Conception Parish giving a parish mission.

If any of you reading my blog have prayer requests, feel free to write me at God bless and


fr. Jude


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