Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nairobi - Rome - Ellicott City

July 28, 2011

Peace and Good,

Well, I finished off the second week of meetings in Nairobi. If you remember, the first week waa a congress with about 60 friars from all over the world speaking about interculturality and solidarity. The second week was a series of meetings at different levels.

The first meeting which went from Monday to Wednesday was with the presidents of the various conferences. The order is divided up into seven geographic divisions. Each area or conference has a president who serves as a representative to the central government and a coordinator in his own area in collaboration with the assistant general of that area. We met to discuss plans for the next few years, especially getting ready for our next general chapter which will take place in January of 2013.

The second meeting was with all of the major superiors of the conference that is situated in Africa. We are present in seven countries right now: Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burkino Faso and Malawi. A big challenge right now it to provide for the education of the students. The vocations are coming in so fast now that we can barely keep up with additions to the houses of study. It is exciting to see the Church growing and vibrant.

The third meeting was with the general definitory. We had to take care of urgent business because the next time we will be meeting is September.

The friars of Kenya took us out to dinner to a restaurant called the Carnevoir. Need I say what they served. There were the usuals: pork, chicken, beef and turkey. We also had camel, ostrich and crocadile. I liked everything but the crocadile which tasted very, very fishy.

Our flight back from Nairobi was interesting. About ten minutes after take off we must have hit an air pocket because the plane jolted and there was a booming noise. Everybody in the plane sat up very straight and alert for the next ten minutes or so.

I just stayed in Rome for a day, and then I flew back to the States. Saturday I will fly up to Halifax to give a retreat to a new religious community of Franciscans. I have been getting many, many requests to give retreats lately. Next year I will be flying all over the world to do this, and it fits in very well with my job description of helping in the initial and continuing formation of the friars. I think that will be my gift to the order. I am not all that great at writing documents, but I have a gift for preaching.

I finished a number of books.

A first was the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This is one of those books that one always hears about, but until now, I had never read it. There was a controversy about a new edition in which, instead of using the "n" work for African-Americans, they softened the text. It really is jarring to listen to it and hear a very, very frequent use of that word. I am not sure I really liked it, but it was good to have listened to it.

A second work was Louisa of Prussia and her times by Louisa Muhlbach. This is a typical historical romance from the 19th century. It is a little overblown in terms of rhetoric, although the author goes out of her way to quote from the letters of the characters involved. Louisa was a key figure in the Prussian resistance to Napoleon. I was a bit disappointed because I thought it would be a biography of her. She is said to have been an incredibly heroic woman. It was more an overview of the era, but worth reading nevertheless.

A third work was a long series of lectures from the Teaching Company on Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World by Glenn Holland. There were 72 lectures, and he goes through the religions of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Rome and Christianity. There were some very good insights, although the style of the professor was not all that engaging.

Hope you have a good week. By the way, this past week I had my 30th anniversary of the priesthood.

God bless and
fr. Jude


Post a Comment