Monday, July 8, 2013

London - Baltimore - Los Angeles

July 8, 2013 Peace and Good, I have been in California this week for a meeting of the friars of St. Joseph Cupertino Province. They have their provincial chapter in about a year, and this was a preliminary meeting to start surfacing topics that should be examined throughout this year and at the coming chapter. My arrival was a bit difficult. Last Saturday in Canterbury I noticed that it seemed as if my travel agent had made a reservation for my trip from Baltimore to Los Angeles, but he had never bought a ticket. There was no way to communicate with him over the weekend, so I e mailed him in Rome hoping that he would see the e mail first thing Monday morning and get back to me immediately. With the difference in time which is six hours, I was sure I would hear from him by 4 in the morning on Monday. Sure enough, he had forgotten. So I immediately checked out Southwest and was able to get a ticket which actually was a shorter flight (since it was a direct). It was important for me to be at the meetings this week. The provincial of the province has been ill for a while, and my presence signified our concern for the province. Also, whenever I am at one of these meetings, I am able to answer questions about what is going on in the order all throughout the world. It helps the friars not become too provincial minded. I celebrated one of the weekend masses and mass this morning in the parish where I am staying. It is great to be able to be with the people on occasions like this because so much of what I do is with the friars exclusively. Tomorrow I head out for Chicago for a couple of short meetings and a couple of celebrations at which I must be present. I booked in a couple of extra days here in Los Angeles and in Chicago to unwind a bit. I got to visit my brother and sister in law and niece on Saturday in Fullerton, about an hour from where I am staying. I finished some books: White Eagle, Red Star by Norman Davies This is one of a series of books that Norman Davies has written about Poland. This volume deals with the period right after World War I when Poland regained its independence. Shortly after that, a war broke out between Poland and the Soviet Union. It began over ownership of some of the borderlands between the two countries. Those areas had a very mixed population, and at one time in history they had belonged to Poland (before the partitions under Catherine the Great). Poland attacked first, and when the Soviets counterattacked, they pushed the Polish forces back all the way to the outskirts of Warsaw. There was a battle there called the “miracle on the Vistula” in which the Poles were completely triumphant, both for themselves and Western Europe (for the Soviets might very well have pushed on into Germany and beyond if they had defeated Poland). The book is good, but not an especially easy read. It is more technical history than a novel. Odd Hours: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz Odd Thomas is an interesting character invented by Dean Koontz. He can see ghosts and help them to go to the other side. He has a type of psychic magnetism in which, if he thinks of someone, is eventually drawn to that person. He is an innocent in a difficult and sometimes evil world. In fact, his adventures are part of the battle between good and evil. In this story, Odd comes to a seaside California town where there is a plot of import nuclear weapons which will be used for terrorist events in several US cities. He foils the plot with the help of Annamaria, a young pregnant woman who has psychic powers as well. There is a goodness to this character. His goal in life is to do what is expected of him so that he might spend eternity in heaven with his beloved Stormy who died in a shooting in a mall. I never read one of these volumes with feeling moved by the whole set up. I strongly recommend this series to anyone who is interested. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory Gregory has written a series of books that are placed in the Tudor era of England. This one is about a young Jewish girl who fled Spain with her father when her mother was burned at the stake during the Inquisition. They are printers, and they pretend to be Christians. The girl, Hanna, has the gift of seeing the future, although not often. She is placed as a holy fool in the court of the King (Edward VI) and the queen (Queen Mary) while she is also a confidant of Princess Elizabeth. The portrayal of the royal characters is quite good. She is honest both about their strengths and flaws. The portrait of Hanna is interesting as she learns about love and forgiveness. I enjoyed the book. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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