Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rome: Week Two

January 16, 2011

Peace and Good,

This has been a pleasant change, to spend a week home in Rome. I'll be here for another two weeks now. Last week and this week are taken up in a workshop that is presented to new provincials and the secretaries of the provinces to help them in their new job. We had quite a large group of them last week (I think over 30), and this week we have a much smaller group. We English speakers call it "finishing school." I don't think the non-English speakers understand the running joke.

This reminds one of how extensive the order is. 30 years ago, we were in 35 different nations. Now we are in 67. We are about the same number of friars as we were at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council (which is extraordinary because most orders have shrunk enormously). What has changed is that we have gone from a European/North American order to one that is truly international.

This week I also learned quite a bit of an initiative called Franciscans International. It is a lobbying body of all of the Franciscans throughout the world (First, Second and Third Orders) before the United Nations. We have representatives in every country upon the earth, and we often see things from the ground up while officials see them from above down. We call to the attention of the UN situations where there is blatant injustice ocurring. One of our Friars, fr. Michael Laskey, is the representative of the Franciscans International in New York City.

My own provincial, fr. James, and our province secretary, fr. Richard Jacob were here for the week. There are three of us from my province stationed here, and another at one of the other houses in Rome. It was good to be all together and share the news.

This was also a good week for writing. I wrote a series of articles for the Messenger of St. Anthony (not to be confused with the St. Anthony Messenger). I am now way ahead of the game. I have a backlog of 27 articles, which is two and a half years worth. I turned my attention to the daily reflections, and finished the rought draft of the rest of February. I just have to edit them on my computer. It usually takes about 3 to 4 minutes editing for each minute of play.

I finished a couple of works. One was a set of tapes called April 1865: The Month that saved America by Jay Winik. It deals with the closing events of the Civil War. Winik argues some of his own theories which are not always common belief, but it is always great to see it from a different perspective.

The second work was a set of CD's call the Ruins by Scott Smith. Actually, this was made into a movie this past year. It starts out as a college spring vacation story, and ends up as a horror story. It unfolds slowly, and one is never quite sure how it will work out. It is messy (in terms of deaths) and surprising, without descending into some of the cliches used in science fiction.

I hope you ahve a good week.

God bless and

fr. Jude


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