Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rockford - Minnesota - Mishawaka - Angola - Carey

March 30, 2011

Peace and Good,

Sorry I'm a few days late, but being on the road, it is hard to keep up with things. I am still visiting friaries across the Mid West.

I was in Rockford, arriving on Sunday the 20th to visit of friary of our Polish friars. There are five friars from our Cracow province who are living there and serving in three parishes. One is a Polish parish, one Hispanic, and the third is non-ethnic. The friars are doing great work, and have really tried to learn English. The friar working at the Hispanic parish must know three languages (his native Polish, English, and the Spanish that he learned as a missionary in Peru).

From there, I drove to Minnesota on Tuesday. Of course, there was snow along the way. I passed any number of accidents and cars off the road because they were trying to pass in the passing lane that had not yet been plowed.

I first visited a parish in Bloomington, St. Bonaventure. There are three friars there, one retired, one pastor of St. Bonaventure, and the third the pastor of the parish down the street. This is happening more and more, where parishes can only have one priest and the friar-priests live in a central location and serve in more than one place.

I could tell I was in Minnesota. When I opened up the fridge in the rec room, there was a whole assortment of pickled herring.

In the parish boundaries is the Mall of America, the second largest mall in the world (at least it was a few years ago). There are over 400 stores. I went there to do my daily walk because walking in the snow while you are wearing sandals is not a great idea (even I know that). It is a remarkable place. They have more submarines in the pools along the way than the Canadian navy. There is a roller coaster in the central atrium, etc.

The next day I visited the retreat house at Prior Lake. This is one of four retreat houses in the province. It is very busy on the weekends, not so much during the week. There are five friars there (one of whom is in a nursing home). The friar in the nursing home is named Jude, so the two Judes finally got a chance to meet after hearing about each other for many years. Jude R. is a real talker. When I mentioned that I had to be going, it was like a challenge for him to talk more so that I couldn't get out of the room.

I then drove to our novitiate in Mishawaka, Indiana. This was a long ride, about nine hours. Thank God that I love driving and that I had a CD player going the whole way.

On Sunday I drove out to our friary in Angola, Indiana. This is right near the border with Ohio. I celebrated Mass in one of our parishes along the way. The parish in Angola had a tragedy. There was an accident in Alabama in which four local students from the high school were killed on their way back from spring break in Florida. One of those killed was a server at St. Anthony Parish, our parish. Everyone was quite shaken. Please keep their families in your prayers. They will be buried Friday and Saturday of this week.

I will leave off the travelogue here and pick up with Sunday in the next blog.

I finished another book by EM Forster (the author of A Passage to India). This one was titled Where Angels Fear to Tread. It is about a young widow who travels to Italy, falls in love with a local and marries him, and all the difficulties she endures and how her in laws react. Like A Passage to India, it has a lot to do with the difficulties of the British to understand and appreciate other cultures. The Brits come off as judgmental prigs. (This is something we Americans can certainly take into account at times when we judge how other people live throughout the world.)

A second book was the History of Charles the Second by Jacob Abbott. This is part of Abbott's series of biographies of historical figures. Charles the Second is not exactly an exemplary figure, and his reign helped lead to the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty in England. These were the years of the great plague and also of the great fire of London.

Hope you have a good week.
fr. Jude


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