Monday, November 22, 2010

Ellicott City - Chicago

November 22, 2010

Peace and Good,

This week began with my meeting in Ellicott City with Fr. James McCurry. He is the provincial of St. Anthony Province, my home province. We spoke about the concerns of the province as we prepare for our union with Immaculate Conception Province. Both of these provinces are located on the east coast of the United States. St. Anthony was founded to serve the Polish Americans who had settled between Buffalo, Boston and Baltimore. We are now serving in two high schools (St. Francis in Athol Springs, NY and Archbishop Curley in Baltimore) and numerous parish both in that triangle described above and in Georgia and Florida. There are around 125 friars in the province.

At this past provincial chapter, St. Anthony also assumed responsibility for our friars in England and Ireland. This is a much smaller jurisdiction, and we are helping them until they can once more be a province.

Tuesday evening I travelled to our formation house in Forestville, MD to celebrate Mass and talk with those who are in initial formation. There are eleven of them from three different provinces.

Wednesday I drove is Mishawaka, IN to our novitiate. There I spoke with our novices (7 of them) and then Thursday drove to Chicago to visit the provincial of St. Bonaventure province. St. Bonaventure is a daughter of our province. There are around 50 friars in it. They have three large houses (Marytown, Chicago and Milwaukee) and several smaller parishes. Marytown was founded on the inspiration of St. Maximillian Kolbe. They have a beautiful chapel in which they have 24 hour a day Eucharistic adoration. It is also a retreat house, well used. Milwaukee is a beautiful, beautiful basilica as well as a formation house for four older vocations studying for the priesthood. Chicago is a formation house for a number of younger men who are postulants (checking out the community) or simply professed (having recently taken their vows).

I have finished a number of books. There is a Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova. This is about growing up in the Soviet Union in the 50's and 60's. The title comes from a game that her grandmother played with her children during the famine caused by Stalin. She only had a slice of bread for each, so she would break it up into crumbs so that it would look like more. The book is well written and it gives you a sense both of what it was like and why people wanted to go elsewhere.

A second book is the Third Reich in Power by Richard Evans. This is the second of a trilogy on the Third Reich. It is incredibly thorough. This volume covers the years that run from the time that the Nazi's took power until the beginning of World War II. As I read it, I am constantly amazed as to how evil some people can become. It answers well the question as to why the Germans allowed it all to happen.

A third book is the Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg. This an extensive collection of legends (mostly written by the rabbis) about the early books of the Bible and the characters of those stories. Many of the stories seem strange and foreign to our ears, for they are a mixture of moralistic tales and science fiction. Yet, for me, as a Bible scholar, it was well worth reading.

Hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

fr. Jude


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