Sunday, February 9, 2014

Castro Valley, CA - Chicago, IL

February 9, 2014 Peace and Good, I finished my visitation of the California Province and have begun to write their report. It is not all that long, usually about 7 to 9 pages, but things must be said carefully. I have already gone over the major topics with the Definitory so there will be no surprises. It will basically be a good report with some suggestions on how to do things better. On Wednesday, the province elected a new provincial, fr. John Heinz. He is a former student of mine, and I was also his formation director when he was studying for the priesthood. I am really getting to feel old. Friday I flew out from San Francisco to Chicago. What a change in climate. In San Francisco it was in the 50's, with some days reaching the 70's. Here it is in the single digits, with snow all over the place. The temperature has been near zero for weeks now. Driving and even more parking has become more and more challenging. Yet the Chicagoans are a hearty folk. This week I will be here with the Exactor General. We divide our finances into the economy general (who spends the money) and the exactor general (who receives the money). The Exactor General is from Gdansk, Poland and is named fr. Wojciech Kulig. He speaks English very well, having worked in Clifton, NJ before he became a friar. He and I will be conducting an audit of the finances of the Midwestern Province. We do this every once in a while to make sure that procedures are being followed as they should be. It is not that we suspect any problems, but it is good to keep tract of things. I will be here in Chicago until Friday, when I will fly out to Detroit for a quick trip. I have finished these books: Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James by David Downie This is the journal of a couple of pilgrims (husband and wife) who walk the French part of the pilgrim path to San Diego di Compostela in Spain, an ancient pilgrimage route. The husband is a skeptic while the wife is a fallen away Catholic. Their reasons for making the pilgrimage and not entirely clear, not even to themselves. Yet, there is a spiritual quest underlying what they are doing. The observations are good and often funny, if sometimes irreverent. I enjoyed the book. Opening the Scriptures: Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life: Insight and Inspiration by George Martin This is a good commentary on the Gospel of Luke. This is the Gospel that we have been using in our liturgy this year, and I thought that it would be a good idea to read through a new commentary each year as we go through that particular Gospel. It is not that I received incredible new insights from this volume, but there were small points that cleared up questions that I have had for years. It would be a good book for someone who wanted to study the Gospel seriously for a first time. The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power by Robert Rotberg This is the story of Cicil Rhodes. Born in England, he moved to South Africa where he became fabulously wealthy on diamond and gold mining. He entered into power politics, and helped to extend the borders of the British Empire northward into what became northern and southern Rhodesia (named after him – today called Zambia and Zimbawe). He was not always ethical in his machinations, especially in the way that he cheated the indigenous out of their land. He also set the foundation stone of the system that came to be known as apartheid. Toward the end of his life, though, he did begin to shine through with better motivations. He also willed the fund that finances Rhodes scholars at Oxford. The book is very thorough, so long that I could not wait to finish it. The Bride Price: Book One of the Thwarted Queen by Cynthia Sally Haggard This is the introduction to a series of four books on Cicily, the Duchess of York during the reign of Henry VI, one of the most unfortunate kings of England (the middle of the 15th century). This volume deals with her marriage contract signed when she was only nine years old. Yet, unusually for this period, she was allowed to remain at home, unmarried, until her early twenties. She was her own person, strong willed at a time when women were expected to be bare foot and pregnant (at least the way this author portrays her). The book is quite good. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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