Monday, March 15, 2010

Back to the Snow

March 15, 2010

Peace and Good,

After getting back from San Diego, I drove up to Erie, PA. All of the Baltimore snow had melted in the week while I was out in San Diego, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground when I arrived in Erie.

This was my second time at Our Lady of Mercy Parish which is on the east side of Erie in Harborcreek, PA. This time the theme was the Holy Spirit. Sunday I spoke of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, Monday the Holy Spirit in the Gospels, Tuesday the Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, and Wednesday the Holy Spirit building up the Church (for this was the tenth anniversary of the new parish church building).

The community is very warm and there is a family atmosphere that impressed me. The music is very well done and really adds to the liturgy. The snow even melted as it was time to leave and drive back to Baltimore.

One of the evenings one of the parishioners challenged me a little. I had given a couple of examples about teenagers, using my usual sense of humor. He asked whether it might be a bit of age-ism. At first I thought that it wasn't because I make jibes at every age, trying to get us to laugh at ourselves. But then I prayed more upon it and, as always, there might have been a little truth in what that person said. It is so easy to speak about others by objectifying them, making them an object of humor instead of respect. I apologize to whomever I might have done that in the past.

One of the things on TV really upset me this week. Glen Beck spoke about checking out whether one's church preaches social justice and, if it did, leaving that church. Social justice has been our Catholic teaching for the past 130 years. It is what Jesus spoke about when he told the stories of the poor Lazarus, the sheep and the goats, etc. This is one instance where we have to challenge ourselves in our political position and ask whether politics or our faith is more important. (Obviously, this is just as true for the opposite end of the political spectrum which rejects the values of life and proposes moral teachings that are unacceptable.) Somehow, we have to ratchet back a bit the polemics in our political dialog and find common ground, otherwise we will tear each other apart.

I finished listening to two CD sets and reading one book this week. The first CD set was a course of 12 lessons from the Teaching Company on the Late Middle Ages by Philip Daileador. I love history, so it was a great presentation for me. This was a period of great changes in the world and the Church. Listening to presentations like this always give me more raw material to make part of the picture.

The second series of CD's was Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. Kiedis is the lead singer for the Red Hot Chilly Peppers, a rock group. Their music is very original, and I like them as a group. This was Kiedis' autobiography. Talk about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He was on drugs from his earliest days, led there by the example of the dissolute life style of his father (a wantabe actor). The way he treats women and the way he talks about sex is really sad. He is a user of people. But when he speaks about drugs and how he all but destroyed his life is a true life lesson. HE spoke of how one cannot force another to give up the drugs. The best way to draw others to sobriety is by living one's own conversion. As I listened to his presentation, I realized that this is true of religion also. One cannot force conversion, one can only invite others, and the best invitation is a life of authentic holiness.

The book I finished was the first volume of the Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. It is similar to the memoirs of Grant that I read a few months ago, but it does have its own spin. The only problem with the presentation is that Sherman fills it out with letters and reports and telegrams that he had in his archives, thus sometimes treating the same incident several times. I believe there are three volumes to this memoir. The first one went from his birth to just before he enters Georgia in the Spring of 1864 (remember, this is when he made his famous march to the Sea, burning everything from Atlanta to Savanna).

Hope Lent is going well.


fr. Jude

Here is my coming schedule:

03/19/10 - 03/25/10 - St. Lucie, Port St. Lucie, FL 34983 p.o.c. Fr. Mark Szanyi (Parish Mission)

03/29/10 - Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. p.o.c. Kathleen Noel (Talk)

03/30/10 - St. Louis Catholic Church, Clarksville, MD p.o.c. Mike Leumas (Knights of Columbus Talk)

04/01/10 - 04/04/10 - Bon Secours Retreat Center, Marriottsville, MD p.o.c. Lynn Lieberman (Triduum Retreat)

04/05/10 - 04/10/10 - Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, Hamburg, NY 14075 p.o.c. Sr. Joyce Kubiniec (Retreat)

04/11/10 - 04/16/10 - Hyatt Regency Hotel, Hamburg, NY (Provincial Retreat)

04/17/10 - 06/12/10 - International House of Franciscan Studies, Canterbury, England, U.K.

06/13/10 - 06/18/10 - Hyatt Regency Hotel, Hamburg, NY (Provincial Retreat)

06/19/10 - 07/01/10 - St. Victor's Major Seminary, Tamale, Ghana, West Africa p.o.c. Fr. David Azambawu(Seminarian Retreat)

07/04/10 - 07/10/10 - St. Francis Convent, Mishawaka, IN 46546 p.o.c. Sr. M. Dorothy

07/11/10 - 07/18/10 - Quellen Spiritual Center, Mendham, NJ 07945 p.o.c. Sr. Teresa Marie (Sisters' Retreat)

07/19/10 - 07/23/10 - St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Mishawaka, IN 46546 p.o.c. Br. Paschal (Novice Retreat)

07/24/10 - 07/31/10 - Catholic Community of Chataqua, Chataqua, NY 14722 p.o.c. Ellie Lesser (Priest-in-Residence)

08/05/10 - 08/15/10 - Our Lady of Consolation Shrine, Kerry, OH p.o.c. Br. Jeffrey Hines (Novena)


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