Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Merry Old England

May 5, 2010

Peace and Good,

I finally made it to Canterbury. Our Franciscan Institute is situated about a 20 minute walk outside of the old city walls. Canterbury is a beautiful tourist town. I went down there last Friday and it was packed with students from France and Germany on their Spring break. It almost has the spirit of Assisi in terms of taking one back to earlier times.

I was originally to teach two courses this term. (They divide the school year into three ten week terms, this term being called Trinity Term because Trinity Sunday falls in it.) The courses were an introduction to the New Testament and the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and Acts. Just before arriving, I got some bad news. One of the OFM friars, Shamus, had a mile heart attack and I was asked if I could cover another two courses: Introduction to the Old Testament (Mostly for adult ed learners) and a seminar on the Resurrection Narratives (the stories of what happened when Jesus rose from the dead in the Gospels and First Corinthians). I teach Monday to Thursday, which gives me a good weekend to work on writing projects and to visit the sites.

Please keep Fr. Shamus in your prayers. His heart attack has turned out to be quite a bit more serious than they first thought.

The weather is just what I remembered it to be when I was here two years ago: cool and cloudy, almost gloomy. It should clear up in a couple of weeks.

The big excitement here is a general election in Great Britain tomorrow. There are three major parties, and it is possible that none of them will win an outright majority, which would mean a coalition government.

I finished one book: the second volume of the Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. This volume went from his conquest of Atlanta (during the Civil War), he burning of a fifty to hundred mile swath to the Sea, and then the end of the war and the aftermath. Most of it is good reading, but he gets very defensive about two issues. The first is his march to the sea. He destroyed everything in his sight. His theory was that war is hell, and it would end sooner if people felt the consequences of their choices. Yet, he struggles to build a defense for actions that today we would consider war crimes. The other section in which he becomes defensive is his treatment by the Secretary of War at the end of the war. The Secretary of War released some information to the press that put Sherman in highly unfavorable light. He is very, very touchy about that, and he probably had a right to be.

My future schedule is:

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)

Keep well and Shalom,

fr. Jude


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