Sunday, April 24, 2011

Haooy Easter

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I have been in Padua all this past week, up in the Basilica of St. Anthony. I went there to help out with confessions. There are tons of people who go up there from the entire region. I am able to listen to confessions in both Italian and English. Actually, the majority of the confessions were in a version of the local dialect. I had to place close attention, but I was able to follow what they were saying.

It was good to be able to sit in the confessional again. This is one of the favorite parts of my priesthood. Sometimes, you get to offer a good piece of advice. Sometimes, you just listen and commiserate. All the time, you can say at the end that their sins are forgiven.

I also met with the editors of the Messenger of St. Anthony, the magazine for which I write, to speak about some projects. I have been writing for them since 1982, and their magazine sends out 60,000 copies all around the world.

It is strange to be in a part of Italy where pasta is not part of every meal. They eat a lot more rice and other dishes for the first plate than in other parts of Italy.

I finished a couple of books. The first was Herodias by Gustave Flaubert, a French author from the 19th century. Herodias is the mother of Salome, the one who asked for John the Baptist's head on a platter. Authors of the 19th century were fascinated by Biblical themes (at least Freanch and Russian authors) and they would not only tell the story as it is told in the Bible, they would complete it with more detail that they had made up. Often, if you read between the lines, you can tell what was going on in that author's society.

A second book was the Grand Canyon by John Muir. He was a naturalist who visited the natural wonders in the Western States and Alaska during the 19th century. His writing is excellent, and you can see how much he saw the face of God in whatever he encountered. He was largely responsible for the development of the national park system.

I am off to Malta tomorrow to begin a province visitation (like the one I did in the mid-western province in the States). This time, though, the distances are much smaller. Malta is a relatively small island with a population of 400,000 in all. Interestingly, they are descendants of the Phoenician people who came from Lebanon, so their native language is Semitic, like Hebrew and Arabic. Nowadays, almost all of them speak either English or Italian, so I should not have too much difficulty getting around.

Have a good week.

fr. Jude


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