Saturday, December 17, 2011


December 18, 2011

Peace and Good,

It is so infrequently that I get to put a title on this blog with only one city. I have been back in Rome for our definitory. This meeting is a bit longer because we are meeting with the secretaries of our various offices.

Let me explain what this means. We have the definitory which is the council that makes the decisions for the order under the guidance of the Minister General, fr. Marco. Then we have a series of offices which deal with certain concerns and initiatives. They include the Assistant General of the Secular Franciscans (a group of lay people who vow themselves to live the ideals of St. Francis), the secretary of the Militia Immaculata (a group founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe for those who wish to consecrate themselves to Mary Immaculate), the secretary of the office of Justice and Peace, the order's archivist, the secretary for formation of friars in the order, the secretary for mission animation, the secretary for the promotion of the causes of beatification and canonization, etc. Each December they report to us concerning what is going on in their field and they consult with us concerning what we would like them to do over the next year.

This has been a rough week for jet lag. I went back and forth over the Atlantic (Chicago to London, London to Louisville, Louisville to Rome) a little too often within a one week period. I am more or less back to normal. I'll still be here until this coming Friday when I begin the next trip (Rome to Baltimore, Baltimore to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Seoul).

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of our friars, fr. Donald Kos. He is originally from Holyoke, MA, but he has lived in Rome ever since the 50's when he came over here to study. He has two full time jobs. He is our representative with the Vatican, and also he works in the Office of the Penitenzeria. There are some sins that are so serious that only the Pope can absolve them (e.g. desecration of the Eucharist). fr. Donald works in the office that takes care of these matters.

I finished a few books this week.

The first is a book called the Book Thierf by Markus Zusak. It is the story of a young girl in Nazi Germany who is cared for by foster parents. The title of the book is based on the idea that the family is very poor, and so she has to steal books because she learns to love to read. The story is heart breaking, challenging, etc. It is narrated by the Angel of Death. The beginning of the book is a bit difficult to follow, but it is honestly one of the best books I have ever read.

The second book is Mystery at Geneva: An Improbable story of Singular Happenings by Dame Rose Macaulay. The story is about a plot to destroy the proceedings of the League of Nations in Geneva. It is almost a fairy tale detective sort of story. Dame Macaulay pokes fun at the endless discussions that often resulted in no change at the League of Nations. It is not too serious of a book, but it was a fun read.

The third book was Dark Passage by Alan Furst. Furst has become one of my favorite authors. He write about the period of history at the beginning of the Second World War. This story involved a Dutch ship captain and his crew and how they are drafted into the Dutch free navy after their country had been overrun by the Nazis. They are used by the British Secret Service for various missions throughout the Mediteranean and the Baltic. It is well written, and gives just the right mix of action and introspection. Again, a good, good read.

I hope you have a good week in this last week before Christmas. Try not to get too busy.

fr. Jude


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