Monday, May 23, 2011

Valetta - Rome - Vatican City - Baltimore

May 23, 2011
Peace and Good,

Well, I finally got out of Malta on Sunday evening. It is only an hour or so from Rome by flight.

In Rome we had a week long definitory. Monday we received a surprise announcement. One of the Assistant Generals, fr. Vincent Long Nguyen, from Australia, has been named the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne. It is a very large diocese, and he will be responsible for the Western sector of the city. He has been the assistant general for the past three years, himself having taken the place of a friar from Japan who resigned because of illness. He will be greatly missed.

The rest of the week was non-eventful. I have been reflecting on my final report for the visitation to Malta, but I don't want to write it until I finish visiting a couple of friars who are serving outside of the country. I had already spoken with a Maltese friar who is serving in London, and Saturday I went to the Vatican to meet with a friar who is a confessor at St. Peter's. (Actually, we have a large friary just for those friars who are involved in that ministry - I think that there are 16 of them in all).

Sunday I flew out to Ellicott City, and stayed overnight, with a trip to El Paso scheduled for this afternoon to continue my visitation of the mid-western province.

I finished a few books.

The first was the Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It was a suspense novel about the theft of an ancient artifact from a Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Nepal and how a CIA agent and his protegee recover it.

The second work was Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad. The more I read of Conrad, the more I like his writing. He was a Polish author who settled in England and wrote in French and English. This is about a young man who leaves the mountains of Poland to emigrate to the States, but who is shipwrecked on the shore of Kent in England. Because he speaks no English, he is first treated as someone who is insane and dangerous. Even when he marries a local woman who took mercy on him, he is ultimately rejected by her which leads to his death. It is a wonderful reflection on the difficulty of understanding people of other cultures, one of Conrad's major themes.

Finally, I listened to a book called Assegai by Wilber Smith. It is a British swashbuckler set just before the outbreak of World War I in East Africa. It is simplistic and demeaning at times to locals, but overall it is a good read. Nothing serious, just an enjoyable book.

Hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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