Saturday, December 10, 2011

London - Baltimore - Louisville - Rome

December 10, 2011

Peace and Good,

I think it finally happened. I ran into myself at the airport, because these past couple of weeks have been incredible for travelling.

I had travelled to London and arrived on December 3rd for the funeral of one of our bishops, Bishop John Jukes. He was the auxiliary bishop of Southwark with responsibility for Kent, the county in which Canterbury is located. He was in his late 80's and suffered from Parkinsons for the past few years. After a very active life, the confinement of the disease was tough on him. We was well cared for by a live in nurse, Mrs. Patricia Murphy. We met his body in the Southwark cathedral Sunday evening and concelebrated Mass. (Southwark is the southern part of London. When it was permitted to re-establish the Catholic Church in the 19th century, one of the provisions was that the dioceses not take the name of Anglican dioceses.) On Monday we had Franciscan Vespers. The Poor Clare Sisters from Arundel came to sing the psalms. This is the first time in their history that they have had an outing outside of their convent together. They did a wonderful job. I was asked to preach. You never know how your style will be accepted in another country, but it went well. Then, on Tuesday, we had his funeral. It was high church, but not pompous. Very dignified! I was quite impressed. I think the days served the friars well for the diocesan clergy were very impressed, and a number of candidates for the order were present and moved by the ceremony.

Wednesday, I flew back to Ellicott City with Fr. James McCurry, the provincial of St. Anthony Province. We then flew out to Louisville on Thursday to be there for a funeral in Columbus, Indiana on Friday of the father of one of our provincials, fr. James Kent. Again, the turn out of the friars was wonderful. There is something about when friars gather together for one of our funerals or one of those of our loved ones that is moving. Friday evening we flew back to Baltimore.

Tonight, I fly back to Rome. I will be there for about ten days while we have a series of meetings.

I finished a few books. The first is Disintegration by Scott Nicholson. This was a very disturbing book in the sense of Alfred Hitchcock. For most of the book one is wondering whether the main character really has a twin or whether he is dissociative. The truth turns out to be much worse. This book is like passing a car wreck, one does not want to, but one feels oneself drawn to look at it.

On a whole different note is The Story of a Soul by St. Therese, her autobiography. I love to read about her spirituality of serving God in the little things, of being patient with those who most bother us, etc. It calls me back to what I know I should be more and more.

The third book was L'Assemoir by Emile Zola. Again, this is a disturbing story but in a whole different way from Disintegration. It is the story of a country woman who comes to Paris with her lover. He abuses and leaves her. She miraculously pulls her life together and marries a roofer. He falls off the roof, is badly hurt, and slowly disintegrates to a life of inaction and drinking. She, too, slowly turns to the wrong path and dies a pathetic death in the novel in which she finds herself. Zola was especially bothered by the plight of the working poor of France and how they often destroyed themselves with their life styles (including drink).

I hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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