Monday, May 30, 2011

Ellicott City - El Paso - Carlsbad - Mesilla Park - Montreal

May 30, 2011

Peace and Good,

I hope you are well and are enjoying the Memorial Day weekend.

I finished off my visitation of Our Lady of Consolation Province (the friars in one of the mid-western provinces). I visited the friars in Western Texas and New Mexico.

Our parish in El Paso. This community has three different ethnic groups. There are the Hispanic (Mexican) members of the parish and they are the most numerous. Then there are the members of the Tigua tribe, native Americans. Finally, there are the Anglos. When one enters the Mission Church, one of the things one sees is images of corn all over the place. Corn is considered to be a sacred gift, and in fact, when members of the tribe bless objects (statues, caskets, etc.), they pour corn flour on it.

I then went to Carlsbad, New Mexico, about a three hour ride from El Paso. The countryside is beautiful but desolate. There are three friars in Carlsbad taking care of two parishes. The area is quite stable because of discoveries of energy sources, especially oil and gas, in the area.

Finally, I went to the retreat house in Mesilla Park, which is next door to Las Cruces. Las Cruces got its name from the many crosses that dotted the hill sides from the friars and native Catholics who were martyred for their faith. There was a retreat group from El Paso there and they are past of a program to help people grow in their faith. They prayed and attended conferences from early in the morning til late in the evening.

On Saturday I began my trip from El Paso to Montreal, and arrived on Sunday afternoon. This air connection is difficult to make, having to fly from El Paso to Houston where I overnighted, then to Atlanta and finally to Montreal. I am here with fr. Marco, the Minister General, for the chapter of the custody of Polish friars who are working in the Montreal area. The custos took us around to see a bit of the city yesterday evening, including the Basilica of St. Joseph which is a beautiful shrine built be St. Andre, a brother of the Holy Cross who had a dream to build a shrine to honor St. Joseph.

I finished a few books.

The first is the next volumes by Suetonius on the Roman emperors, specifically Vespasian (the emperor who followed the civil war between three different generals after the death of Nero), his son Titus (who conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and the city), and his brother Domitian (who might have assassinated his brother Titus and who persecuted Christians - the Book of Revelation was written during his reign).

A second book was the Longest Journey by EM Forster. It was a strange book that spoke about how the English upper class, university educated people treat others. In this case, there was a young, privileged man and how he treated his half brother who was his mother's son by an illicit union. The whole question of treating people with respect, loss of honor, etc. is the major topic.

A third work was La Grenadiere by Honore de Balzac, a French author from the 19th century. It is about a woman who is dying and how she cares for her two young sons and tries to prepare them for her passing. This short novel is quite good, showing the shifting of emotion and the confusion of this sort of situation.

Hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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