Monday, February 14, 2011

A meeting of the conference

February 14, 2011

Peace and Good,

I am back in Ellicott City after a week down in Texas and New Mexico. I flew down there last Sunday. It was an interesting trip. I got to the airport and my flight to Houston had been cancelled. I was supposed to fly through there to get to El Paso. I had to fly through Milwaukee, then Phoenix, to finally get to El Paso. The friary is about an hour from there, in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. This is a retreat house run by the mid-western province, Our Lady of Consolation.

This was a meeting of all of the provincials and custos of the CFC, the conference of North America, England, and Ireland. The Minister General, fr. Marco, was also present (he had flown in from Columbia and was flying out to Chile after the meeting.

On Monday we discussed the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition in the order. We have a heritage of great scholars, but now that many of our institutions of higher education have been closed, there is a tendency not to train men and women to take over that responsibility. We discussed various ways to address the problem.

Tuesday we spoke of Mission animation. Our provinces have missions or connections with missions on six of the continents. Our latest commitment was by the California Province which has a mission in Vietnam. We were especially speaking about how to let the friars know what is going on and to interest them in making a commitment to go to the missions. (In our order, the minister provincial cannot send someone to the mission, the friar must volunteer.)

We also had a number of discussions concerning other projects and we set the calendar for meetings and chapters (gatherings of all of the friars in the provinces) for the next couple of years.

On Thursday fr. Marco and I flew to San Antonio to visit one of our houses of formation. It is a beautiful site, a former Carmelite Monastery. Our friars study at Oblate School of Theology. fr. Marco and I spoke to the friars in initial formation on Friday and then on Saturday I filled the other friars in on what is going on in the world.

I flew back to Baltimore for a few days rest here (and working on my daily reflections). Wednesday I will fly off to London for a series of meetings there (London, Aberdeen, Manchester, and Dublin.

I finished a couple of books this week. The first is the third book in a series on the Third Reich by Richard Evans. Each of the volumes is a masterpiece of research. These books are not for the light reader, but they are a wealth of information. The third volume, the Third Reich at War, deals with Nazi Germany from 1939 until 1945.

The second book was Cardinal John Henry Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua. This was a book where he defended his decision to become a Catholic and also the path which took him in that direction. I was not impressed at all with the writing style. It is a polemic aimed at the attacks of an author who wrote criticizing Newman. I had always heard of Newman's excellence as an author, but that is not what I experienced in this book.

Have a good week.
fr. Jude


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