Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aberdeen - Manchester - Dublin - Rome

February 27, 2011

Peace and Good,

I started the week visiting Bishop John Jukes, one of our bishops, up at his home in Huntley. He is retired and lately in ill health. Please keep him in your prayers. His insights, though, were invaluable. I enjoyed my time with him.

I then flew to Manchester for our second friars' day. The friars came from Liverpool, Manchester and Barton. The presentations went very well. Fr. Steve King, who is in charge of formation for the young vocations, did such a great job at this and the London presentation that he was asked to join us in Dublin so that the friars there could hear about the positive developments as well.

In the house where I was staying is an apostolate dedicated to the printed word. They produce a magazine called the Crusader. It is distributed free of charge throughout the British Isles, 60,000 copies. The readers are very generous and pay for the magazine and help enormously in the costs of formation for the younger friars. Giving the magazine away free is a real sign of trust in the providence of God.

I flew to Dublin for the third of our friars' days. In Dublin were the friars from our parish in Dublin and from our Shrine Church in Wexford (on the southeast coast of Ireland). I got to see our oldest friar in this jurisdiction, fr. Pat Griffin, who is 92. He is still filled with humor and there is a twinkle in his eye.

Thursday was a free day so I set off for downtown Dublin to see a couple of sites. One of the friars suggested that I visit the memorial to the victims of the Potato famine. It is right in front of the old Customs House. There are a number of emaciated figures depicted in statue form trudging toward their waiting ship to carry them off to America. Their faces are so gaunt, and they have a look I have seen in the pictures of people starving from all over the world. I sat for a long time just meditating on the representation. I was deeply moved by it.

Friday I flew back to Rome and am here this week for one of our definitories. That will go from Monday through Saturday.

I finished a couple of works. One is a very old play called Sejanus: His Fall by Ben Jonson. He is a contemporary of Shakespeare. Sejanus was a Roman who was a type of chief of staff under Tiberias. He was known for his cruelty and corruption. When Tiberias retired to the island of Capri, Sejanus all but took over the government of Rome. Yet, his fall came in an instant, and for ancient peoples, it was a parable of how quickly the mighty can fall.

The second work is a series of CD's called the Classics of British Literature by John Sutherland. This is a very long (48) lectures course on British literature all the way from the time of the Anglo Saxons to the modern day. The professor is excellent, and he gives one a panorama of what the major themes were throughout the centuries.

I hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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