Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chicago - Assisi - Rome - Ellicott City

October 7, 2012 Peace and Good, It has been another busy week since I last posted the blog. We finished out meetings in Chicago on Wednesday the 27th of September, and then on the 28th we took a field trip to Milwaukee. The friars have a beautiful basicila there: St. Josaphat. We received it at the beginning of the 20th century. The previous pastor had run up a huge debt and the church was going to go bankrupt. The friars were able to pool all the funds at their disposition and pay off the debt in a couple of years. The church is a magnificent example of a certain type of architecture and decoration. It is often used for symphanies because it is so beautiful. The next day most of us flew out. A good number headed back to Rome, while others travelled in the States. One of the assistants headed down to Mexico on his way to Chile. I flew to Rome and took the train right up to Assisi. I was there until the afternoon of the 4th attending a series of long and difficult meetings. One day the board I am on met with the Ministers General of all of the branches of the Franciscan Order. They are a very nice group of men and women. I was quite impressed at their spirit. On the 4th, I concelebrated at the solemn Mass in the upper basilica of St. Francis for the feast of St. Francis. Each year a different section of Italy brings the olive oil that will be used to light the lamp at the tomb of St. Francis, and this time it was a province from the northeast of Italy, Venezia Julia and Fruili. That afternoon I headed back to Rome to catch a flight back to the States on Friday. I am at Ellicott City until tomorrow morning when I head out to a retreat house in upper New York State to preach a retreat to the friars. Here is the reading I finished this week: Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie This is the story of a doctor in the Roman Empire who has been assigned to service in Britain at the end of the beginning of the reign of Hadrian. He is suffering from economic difficulties (paying the debts of his father). He ends up with a young woman who he buys as a slave to rescue her from her brutal owner. Without wanting to, he also ends up being an amateur investigator of the murder of two women who work in one of the local brothels. There are a number of twists and turns. One gets a good sense of how the Roman occupying army would act in a conquered country. One also gets a sense of how slaves were treated. The book deals with serious topics, but is also very funny. The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara The Shaara’s, father and son, have made a bit of a cottage industry of writing fictional historical works on warfare. The father wrote a famous book on the Civil War, The Killer Angels. This book is part of a series written by the son on the Second World War. Most of the series is about the war in Europe. This book is an exception for it speaks about the end of the Second World War, especially the invasion of Okinowa. The normal pattern is to write chapters from different points of view, going from the ground soldier to the general to the leaders of the countries. This particular volume is a little bit weak in this format because it is mostly the story of one soldier told in all of its blood and gore. When Okinawa is finally captured, the book shifts to the story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is almost as if it is two separate books. This book is not for everyone, and probably not the best product of the Shaara’a. The Demon of Walker’s Woods by Dan Dillard This is an odd little story about a group of kids who are frightened by a strange old woman who lives in their neighborhood. It is not at all clear until the end whether their imagination is running wild or whether they have intuited something that is real. It is quite good, if a bit strange. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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