Saturday, April 20, 2013

Melbourne - Sydney

April 20, 2013 Peace and Good, Hope you are all well. I am completing my visit to Australia. Tomorrow I head off to Manila for about ten days. The visit here went very well. There are four friaries. Two of them are in the Melbourne area (which is south of here) and two of them are in the Sydney area. I have spoken with all of the friars who were available. A couple are overseas right now so I e-mailed them. I am just trying to get a read on the situation here and offer some suggestions on how to make it a little better. The friars took me to the Sydney harbor on Thursday. I got to see the Sydney Opera House (which looks like a series of shells sticking up) and the Sydney Harbor Bridge (which you see every year on New Year's Day because it is one of the first places on dry land to celebrate the New Year). I received so many expressions of condolance from the Australians for what happened in Boston and Texas this past week. They readily identify with us. It has been easy to keep in touch with the e mail in these days. I don't know how the connection will be once I fly into the Philippines. Don't be surprised if next Sunday's blog is a little late. The friars here in Sydney (Kellyville) are building a small chapel which will be a shrine dedicated to the Holy Innocents (in memory of the unborn). It is just about finished, and I think it will look beautiful. It offers a lot of possibilities for expanding the friars' outreach, and I brainstormed with the friars involved in the project. I will be coming back here in October for my official visitation. I finished a few books: Hello Darkness by Sandra Brown This is the first book that I have read that was written by Sandra Brown. The plot begins with a late night romantic music program director receiving a call from a man who calls himself Valentino who claims to have kidnapped a woman whom he will kill in three days. The rest of the story is the attempt first to find and release the woman, and then to find Valentino. Brown presents a few different characters who could well be Valentino, and she does not solve the mystery until the end of the book. There is also a subplot of the love affair between the radio announcer and a psychologist who is a collaborator with the police department. The title comes from the Simon and Garfunkel song, “Hello Darkness, my old friend.” A symbol used throughout the book is the fact that the radio announcer wears dark sun glasses, even inside. While it supposedly is because of sensitivity in her eyes, it really is to hide away from the shame of what she and her psychologist did many years ago which resulted in the death of her then fiancĂ©e. The book is well written. I would read more of her novels in the future. The Secret Life of Houdini: the Making of America’s First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman This is a bit of a biography of Harry Houdini. It gives a decent account of how he became America’s greatest escape artist. Much of the book deals with his campaign against fraudulent spiritualists. This was a big fad in the 20’s, and Houdini was able to investigate the false claims and actions of many of the most famous mediums (including the wife of the author of the Sherlock Holmes books, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). He did a strange death, having been hit in the side twice by two different men. This was a challenge he often accepted, but these men attacked him savagely, and some suspected that they were sent to try to kill him to stop his anti-spiritualist crusade. Ironically, he died on Haloween. The book is good and worth a read. The Blessed and the Damned by Michael Wallace This is the story of a war between two fundamentalist Mormon groups that are preparing for the end of the world. It is a whole different world of thought. Two figures both claim to be “the prophet” whom God has appointed to lead his people to salvation. This leads to a violent conflict with weapons of mass destruction. Even though this is not a pleasant book, it is well worth reading to see how people who consider themselves to be “prophets” and who are being opposed might act. It helps one to understand both religious and non-religious mania and paranoia. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment