Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back Home Again

August 25, 2009

Peace and Good,

I made it back home again safe and sound. Last blog I took you up to the end of the retreat with the friars in formation. I returned to Nairobi via our various friaries in Kenya. When I got back, I gave a seminar day at the house of studies on a Franciscan approach to Scripture. The first hour was an overview of how St. Francis, St. Clare and St. Anthony used scripture. The thing that was so profound about St. Francis' approach was that he believed that God was speaking directly to him through scripture. He loved the Bible so much that he instructed his friars that if they found a piece of parchment with words written upon it, they should pick it up and they should treat it with respect for the Word of God might be written upon it. The other two hours of the seminar were how a modern Franciscan could approach the Gospels and the Book of Revelation today.

The next day I gave a two hour workshop to the postulants of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi. These are the sisters who cooked for us in the noviititiate and the seminary. I have always felt a great debt of gratitude toward them. I have given them conferences and retreats in the States, Italy, Romania and now in Kenya.

I visited our press in the city in Limuru. They print a magazine and have used my articles over the years in that work. It is so odd to meet people in Kenya and have them ask you if you are "The Father Jude." We are talking about me writing a book on the Book of Revelation for them.

On the last Sunday in Kenya I celebrated two of the Masses at the Nairobi parish of the friars and then I gave a talk in the afternoon with an hour of questions and answers on the faith. At the second Mass I welcomed two people into the faith and I had the privilege of confering the Sacrament of Confirmation upon them. This was the first time that I have done this in my priesthood.

I flew to Accra, Ghana on Monday of last week. That evening I gave a two hour talk to our postulants there on the Book of Revelation. Then, the next day, I flew back to the States.

The odd thing about this journey is that every step of the journey there were glitches. For example, in Kenya, there was a three day strike the days before I flew out. When I arrived at the airport on Monday, there was a three hour wait until I got to the window. When I got there, they told me I was on standby. I have learned a lesson in these circumstances. Just stand where the agent can see you and not forget you in the rush. Eventually, the supervisor found me a seat (which, of course, was double booked).

God made up for all the glitches on Tuesday morning. For some reason, when they gave people their boarding passes, they hadn't given them seat assignments. They kept calling people up to give them their assignments. Then they called me forward, but I already had my assignment. Given everything that had happened up to this point, I was filled with anxiety. When I got up there, they had changed my seat assignment from 20 C to 1 C. I couldn't believe that they had bumped me up to first class for a 10 hour flight. I had a grin on my face all the way back.

Saturday I gave a day of recollection to a group of catechists from St. Mary of the Mills Parish here at our friary in Ellicott City. It was an enjoyable group. Then, yesterday I gave a day of recollection to the parish and school staff at All Saints parish in Manassas, Virginia. Again, what a wonderful group. The theme was about finding our holiness in the heart of Jesus.

This week I will be home, doing some editing on various projects.

I finished a book yesterday: The Skull and the Jesuit by Amir Aczel. It is the story of Teilhard de Chardin and his scientific work in discovering a fossil of prehistoric man called Peking Man. The book is well written. There is a bit of pro-Teilhard prejudice when it deals with his difficulties with Jesuit Superiors and Church authorities, but overall it is well done. It is interesting to see how Teilhard tries to reconcile his faith with his scientific discoveries on evolution. Remember, Pope John Paul II taught that we can believe in evolution, as long as God is behind it all (what we call intelligent design).

Keep well and


fr. Jude


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