Thursday, August 15, 2013


August 15, 2013 The Solemnity of the Assumption Peace and Good, I am sorry that I am late getting this blog posted this week. I totally forgot about it. I have been in Rome all of this week. I am working on a couple of projects, such as translating a document for our Order. Most of what I am doing, however, is simply watching the shop. The Secretary General is on vacation, and we have to have someone around to check the mail to see if anything important should come in and to sit by the phone just in case we receive a phone call concerning something that needs immediate attention. Given the fact that this is mid-August, both of these things are highly improbable. Everything just about shuts down in Rome during these weeks. If you are ever thinking of coming to Rome, these are the weeks to avoid. It is very, very hot. Many of the Romans just close up shop and head either to the mountains or the seashore. They even close some of the restaurants. I am finishing up my weeks in Rome on Saturday. I will be flying out to San Francisco to attend a meeting of all of the provincials of the US, Canada, Great Britain/Ireland and Australia. We hold these meetings twice a year to make joint plans and speak about any topic that is proposed either from above (from the General level) or from below (from the grassroots, the individual friars or friaries). I will be out of Rome for almost a month. Then I will be back for two weeks, but almost immediately the definitory will be heading down to Puglia (southern Italy) for our annual retreat and a meeting. Then I will be off on the road for another couple of months. I finished a number of books: Speaking in Tongues by Jeffrey Deaver This is a mystery novel concerning Meagan, a young troubled girl who is going for counseling to a counselor. The replacement psychologist whom she visits kidnaps her with the intention of murdering her in front of her father. The father is a lawyer who sent the psychologist’s son to prison where he was murdered. The psychologist is also a mass murderer. He had been committed to a mental health facility where he was able to talk people into committing suicide. The title of the comes from the idea that both the lawyer and the psychologist are incredibly gifted in their ability to speak and convince others to do whatever they wanted them to do. There are abundant twists and turns in the story. Deaver knows how to write an interesting story. Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans by Winston Groom This is one of those history books with which the author knows how to give all of the details that are important without overwhelming the reader with interesting but ultimately confusing sidelights. This is the story of a battle that was utterly unnecessary for it took place after the agents of the US and British governments had concluded a peace treaty in Ghent. Yet, the battle was the most important event for the United States throughout the entire war. It showed definitively that a citizen army such as the gathering of the militias that constituted Andrew Jackson’s force at New Orleans could defeat a highly professional force like that of the British. There is also the interesting story of Jean Laffite, a pirate who donated his services and supplies for the cause of the US (even as he was offered a very, very large bribe by the British to join their side. The war began because the British were interfering in our free trade. They would stop our ships and impress our sailors (force them to serve on their side) because after years of war, they were so short of sailors for their own fleet. They claimed that these were British sailors (even if we considered them to be naturalized citizens), and they often took off men who had actually been born in America. The war did not settle any of the big problems such as this. However, the fact that we survived against the strongest power in the world was already a victory. The war of 1812 is often called the second war of independence. The book of well written and I could recommend it to anyone who is interested in history and this period of time. D.C. Dead (Stone Barrington #22) by Stuart Woods This is part of the Stone Barrington series. The heroes of these stories are Stone Barrington who is a New York lawyer and Dino Bucetti who is a New York Detective. They are called down to Washington to investigate a murder-suicide that took place a year ago involved two White House staff members. The president and the first lady, who is also director of the CIA, do not believe that it was really a murder suicide. The dialog of the novel is not all that good. The morals of the main characters makes rabbits in heat look chaste. The story does have some good twists and turns, but it is just not all that believable. Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falconses This is one of those medieval epic stories like those written by Ken Follett. It takes place in Barcelona during the 14th century. The central theme is the building of a church by the Bastasche, those men who carried cargoes from the ships in the harbor to the warehouses. One of their members becames rich, has various adventures, and suffers the jealousy of others. The nobility make out very bad in this story, as do the Dominicans in charge of the inquisition. We hear of the persecution of the Jews and of those considered to be sinners or heretics. These stories tend to have heroes and villains who are clearly one or the other without a lot of texturing of their personalities. The story is not bad, but a little bit drawn out. I hope you have a good week. Hard to believe that Labor Day is right around the corner. Shalom Fr. Jude

1 comment:

  1. Dear Fr. Jude,

    I am a longtime user of your "Lector's Work Book", and would like to give you feed-back as how a non-lector utilizes it. I try to read (study) it Saturday night, as I attend the eleven o'clock mass on Sunday. Some times I don't read it until right before mass as we arrive an hour before ( my wife has choir warm-up).
    I read you comments first, then the reading. At first I would outline your comments on a small pad size sheet, inserting some quotes from the actual reading. This usually took about forty-five minutes. Then I took these notes to mass and referred to them before/during the readings, then filed them with our church worship sheet and notes I have taken on the Homily.
    Familiarizing myself with the reading before mass is a great, minimal, easily done, good habit. To outline and study them is more commendable, doable, time consuming and easy to skip doing.
    Then I thought of something my wife has said occasionally about different homilies we hear. She tries to take away at least one good idea from each homily and prefers to not have them wide ranging or complicated.
    Now I read your comments, then the reading, and try to write one good thought on the small note paper I take to mass. Sometimes it is more like a theme that takes a compound (grammatically poor) sentence - but that's OK.
    The readings are in our Church's hymnals, and using them, my notes, and "warming-up" with you workbook comprises my personal weekly CCD studies.
    This is in no way a criticism of your Lectors Workbook, it is complimentary feedback.

    Joseph Wetz (Blessed Sacrament Parish, Alexandria, VA)