Sunday, February 26, 2012

London - Rome - Assisi - Rome

February 27, 2012

Peace and Good,

I returned home from London on Monday of this past week. The visit to the various friaries was very good, and I ended up seeing almost all of the friars in the delegation of Great Britain and Ireland.

On Wednesday, the General and I met with a group of pilgrims from the provinces of St. Anthony and Immaculate Conception. A number of them were friars, and the others were our co-workers. These are people who work in our apostolates: parishes, high schools, etc. Every couple of years we offer a pilgrimage to them to Rome and Assisi. It is kind of like showing someone who is visiting where one grew up. Assisi is the very heart of our spirituality. It is great to share this treasure with them. It shows them who we are, or at least who we hope to be.

On Thursday I went up to Assisi to visit with a Korean friar to continue the visitation of his province. He has been working there for seven years, and is a very prayerful person. It was a joy to share some time with him. I also visited some old Romanian friends, and the American friars who are working in the Basilica.

On Friday I returned to Rome and on Saturday and Sunday I met with the last of the Korean friars for the visitation. I am now writing the report that will be presented to our General Definitory here in Rome and to the friars of the province of Korea. As I said at the beginning of the visitation, these visits are done every six years to give the friars encouragement and guide them along the way.

This week we have a week full of meetings, and then this coming Sunday I head out to Africa for a few weeks. I do not know how the internet connection will be there, so don't be surprised if these blogs are a little late.

These are the books I have been reading:

Conspiracy in Kiev by Noel Hynd

This is the story of an woman working for the government who is recruited to undertake a CIA project to check out a Ukranian/Russian mafia figure during the time of a presidential visit to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The first part ends is a bloody massacre when assassins try to kill the president. Part two is when this same woman goes to a remote village in Venezuela to investigate threats made against Christian missionaries there. Once again, it ends badly. She had to kill many of the men who are threatening her and the government. This is a Christian novel. Unfortunately, the Christian part does not feel natural, almost as if it was tacked on to make sure that a Christian publisher would sell it. I especially don’t like the fact that the woman whose heritage was Catholic but whose father converted to a Protestant faith is portrayed as having found the truth (subtly implying that Catholicism was not quite there).

White Fang by Jack London

This is the second book I have read by Jack London where he writes from the perspective of a dog in the great north during the Yukon gold rush. This one involves a dog who is actually ¾ wolf. He is treated well or badly by his various owners. He responds to kindness with loyalty, and meanness with greater cruelty. There are some descriptions of nature and how the young wolf/dog responded to it that are incredibly good. Even his image of the wolf/dog thinking of people as a type of god because of their absolute power over him is classic. There is a certain amount of violence all throughout the book which probably makes it unusable for younger children, but other readers would probably enjoy it.

Monsoon: the Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power by Robert D Kaplan

This book is almost a travelogue of someone who is investigating the various cultures that reside all around the Indian Ocean. That is a part of the world that most American don’t know all that well, but the authors premise is that we should. Right now India and China are struggling to become regional powers in the area, and we American have our own interests there as well (given the fact that so much oil is exported through the area from the Persian gulf and Indonesia). The authors descriptions of what is going on in countries such as Oman, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, etc. are priceless. By coincidence, I was reading this book as I was flying to the Philippines, and I was passing over many of the areas being described by the author. Definitely a must read for those interested in world events.

Hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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