Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Back

July 5, 2010

Peace and Good,

I hope that you enjoyed our holiday weekend. All is well with me.I arrived home in the States on Thursday. The trip to Ghana was great. Last Sunday I celebrated Mass in one of the local parishes. This was the first time I have celebrated a three hour Mass. They had asked that the homily be a bit longer, so I preached a 20 minuted homily. It was then translated into the local language. Every verse in every song was sung. Then, at the offertory procession, everyone dances up to place their offerings in the collection box, and since there were two collections that Sunday, this happened twice. There was a prayerful spirit all throughout the Mass.

The retreat with the seminarians went very well. It is always great to share ideas with men from all over a region, knowing that some of what one said will continue on after one has left the scene.

I found out that I was known even in northern Ghana. I was introduced to one pastor as Fr. Jude. He said, "The Father Jude Winkler?" It turns out that the friars in Ghana have been printing my articles in their magazine for years, and many of the people have read them.

I got to stand over an 8 foot crocodile. There are two ponds in Northern Ghana with the crocodiles in a place called Paga. The guides feed them live chickens for the tourists. The odd thing about the animals is that small children are swimming in the same pond where there are more than two hundred of them, and the crocodiles never harm the children.

I found a site where locals teach people the crafts of pottery and painting in the African style. They even have a few cottages where one can stay if anyone is interested. So often when one travels to a country in Africa, one gets to see the big city and maybe a game pack. This is right in the middle of where people live normal lives farming.

I finished a few books in these weeks. The first is a History of China by Wolfram Everhard. This overview of some 4,000 years of Chinese history was good. It is an incredibly volatile history, and reading about helps one understand why the present government reacts to things the way that they do. An example is the Falun Gong movement. They cracked down on them, even though they only claim to be a spiritual movement connected with types of exercises. Yet, this is exactly what various movements have done in the past which tried to overthrow the government.

The second book was the Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad. Conrad is Polish, but he is buried in Canterbury. It is incredible that he wrote in English, not his mother tongue. This is the story of a young man who is infatuated with a mysterious woman (rich, from a humble background, who is supporting a group of rebels in Spain). It waw very good. This is the first of Corad that I have read.

Finally, there was Julian, Woman of our Day by Robert Llewelyn. She is a mystic from the 15th century A.D. Her famous saying is that all will be well. She emphasized the incredible Mercy of God, and how God can cause good to come from everything, even from our sins. I had avoided Julian in the past because she was the latest thing. I always shy away from something that has gotten too much positive press. Now I want to read more about her.

My schedule for the coming weeks is:

July 4 - 10, 2010: St. Francis Convent, Mishawaka, IN - Retreat for Sisters

July 11 - 18, 2010: Quellen Spiritual Center, Mendham, NJ - Retreat for Sisters

July 19 - 23, 2010: St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Mishawaka, IN - Novice Retreat

July 24 - 31, 2010: Chatauqua Community, Chatauqua, NY - Priest in Residence

August 5 - 15, 2010: Our Lady of Consolation Shrine, Carey, OH - Parish Novena

August 16 - 20, 2010: Maronite Seminary, Washington, D.C. - Seminarian Retreat

August 21 - 27, 2010: Ocean City, MD - vacation

August 28 - September 3, 2010: St. Francis of Assisi Friary, Mishawaka, IN - Novitiate Conferences

God bless and

fr. Jude


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