Monday, May 20, 2013

Rome - London - Canterbury - London - Dublin - Wexford

May 20, 2013 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I have been getting ready for and participating in a series of assemblies for the friars of Great Britain and Ireland these past days. We had our first meeting in Canterbury. We have a study institute uphill from the main part of the town. The meeting went all day long, and we had some very good discussions about the future of the jurisdiction here. In years past, this had been a province but then vocations fell off and they were in a bit of trouble. They were downgraded to being a delegation which means that all the important decisions are made by the province under whose protection they are placed. They are now ready to be upgraded to the next step which is to be a custody. What is going right? For one, they have been getting a steady slow stream of new vocations. They now have nine men in formation, which is quite good considering that they had not had anyone for some twenty years. There is a real sense of hope in the jurisdiction. They still have a long way to go, but they are on their way. The delegation now has three segments. There are the older native friars, some of whom have gotten very old. There is a middle group of foreign friars who came here to help out (from the US, Canada, Malta, India, Poland and Romania). Then, there is the younger group of friars. So far, all of these groups get along quite well. We have to keep working at that so that they can work in harmony. I got to visit my favorite book shop in London: Foyles. It is the only bookshop which I can enter and find five books on every topic I ever thought of. Then, I went to Chinatown to get a bowl of my favorite soup: Tripe noodle. I flew to Ireland for the next meeting on Saturday. I then took a train down to Wexford (on the southeast coast of Ireland) for our meeting tomorrow. On the way, I have been able to fill friars in on what is happening in the order throughout the world and listen to what is going on in their lives. I have finished a few books: Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence by A.J. Langguth. This is a history of the War of 1812 with a good amount of information on the periods that preceded and followed the war. It is a well written history book, not dry in any way. It gives enough information to get to know the characters involved in the various decisions. My favorite presentations were on Dolly Madison and Rachel Jackson (the wife of Andrew Jackson). On China by Hery Kissinger This book oulines the history of China throughout the centuries and especially deals wth the history of China since its opening to the est during the Mao and Nixon era (in which the author played a major role). I was worried that it might just be an apologia by Kissiner for whatever he did toward China, but it was not that. It is very valuable to understand why the Chinese and Americans see reality so differently. Kissinger speaks of American policy during some of the crisis moments since the early days of rapprochement (such as after the Tian a Min massacre). If nothing lse, Kissinger is highly pragmatic, and possibly at times amoral. I found this book to be a good read and very, very informative, well worth reading for anyone who wans to know about this new world power that will have so much to do with us over the next century. Hide by Lisa Gardner The beginning of the book pivots around two axis: a father wh continuallymoves his family and has them change identities at every change, and the horrific discovery of sx mummified bodies of young girls upon the grounds of a closed mental health facility. The police investigate these murders, and the two stries become one as the young woman (once the girl who was moved from place to place by her father) comes into a police station to report that she is not one of the girls whose body was found (but that it is her best girlfriend). The rest of the book is a search to see who killed the girls, why the family moved so often and so stealthily, and how the young woman can be protected from a man who still wans to kill her many, many years later. It is a good "who done it," worth reading. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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